Arthur Miller created the archetype of the insecure, self-deluded traveling salesman in his Pulitzer-Prize winning play, Death of a Salesman. I have my own Willy Loman story.
When I was in high school, I earned extra money by lugging around a sample case of candles and selling door to door. There were, of course, the easy marks; my parents and the next-door neighbors. Beyond the comfortable confines of my immediate neighborhood, it ...Continue Reading ?
The high cost of discount thinking.
When I was in high school, I heard a story on the radio, which has stayed with me for over twenty years. The short version is that a young man from the country went to Cornell to get his degree in agriculture. When he returned home, he saw a neighbor hard at work on his farm. The young man said to the older farmer, “You know I can show you smarter ways to improve your yield and rotate crops for ...Continue Reading ?
Stuck? Download free Inotivity card deck.
Ideo does it. Apple does it. Innovative companies from around the world do it.
They get unstuck by finding and using the right tools. At IDEO, it may be simply asking “Why?” Then, again “Why?” And then three more “Whys” until you get the core of a problem.
The great Dick Orkin used to begin radio creativity sessions by letting everyone tell a story related to the client’s problem or product. The stories became fodder for radio commercials.
The DNA ...Continue Reading ?
What online dating can teach us about innovation.
This summer, I read a fascinating article by Nick Paumgarten in the New Yorker. It was titled “Looking for Someone: Sex, love and loneliness on the Internet.”
What resonated with me was less about dating and more about the curious assortment of algorithms that companies use to determine the dot.com chemistry.
“What you do is more important than what you say,” says Greg Blatt, who is the former C.E.O. of Match.com.
“You may specify that you’d like your date to be blond or ...Continue Reading ?
The Change Equation
I first discovered the change equation from Pip Colburn in his book The Change Function: Why Some Technologies Take Off and Others Crash and Burn.
It was simplicity itself. Change = F (level of current crisis, perceived pain of adoption). He said, “people change their habits when their current situation exceeds their perceived pain of adopting a possible solution.
I heard it again a few years ago at a BIF Summit from Alan Webber, ...Continue Reading ?
The Rules Audit. One step to a more innovative company.
Pogo had the business wisdom decades ago.
“We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Tom Rieger, a Senior Practice Expert for Gallup, once wrote that “The greatest threat to an organization’s success is not always the competition. Often, it is what a company does to itself. “
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Rieger, who has ...Continue Reading ?
What M&Ms and Van Halen can teach us about innovation
My apologies to David Lee Roth.
It will take a few paragraphs to tell you why. Last year, Dan and Chip Heath wrote an article for Fast Company about the curious connection between eight grade, Google and brown M&Ms.
They opened with a provocative line. “Walk into an urban high school and look around at the kids. Roughly half of them will drop out of school. How do you spot a ...Continue Reading ?
An Exercise in Changing Your Company
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A few weeks ago, SeriouslyCreative and Inotivity helped a major company disrupt themselves.
It was a disruption day.
A day for them to ask questions that they typically don’t ask themselves. A day to look at how conventional thinking has helped them achieve ...Continue Reading ?
The Meeting: Re-imagined.
Last week, I participated in a great webinar led by Al Pittampalli and Seth Godin called How to Embrace Change with Modern Meetings.
Pittampalli is the author of Read This Before Our Next Meeting last week’s most popular Kindle eBook in the world. And another compelling volley from The Domino Project.
In his book, Pittampalli uses a wonderfully provocative quotation by Peter Drucker. “Meetings are by definition a concession to deficient organization. ...Continue Reading ?
Hold Your Own Disruption Day
Jean-Marie Dru, CEO TBWA, one of the premier advertising agencies in the world, wrote a terrific book in the mid-90’s called Disruption: Overturning Convention and Shaking up the Marketplace.
For years, the agency has held “Disruption Days” — brainstorming sessions with clients and agency people to upend conventional thinking through a variety of activities and open collaboration.
Dru writes in Disruption:
“It is a matter of questioning the way things are, of breaking with what has been done or seen before. of rejecting the ...Continue Reading ?