Never Miss an Idea – The LiveScribe Pulse Smart Pen

by Drew Boyd

Innovating is mental, visual, and vocal. Here is a new product to help capture…and coordinate…all three. It is called the PulseTM by Livescribe. The PulseTM is a smart pen that records and links audio to what your write, so you never miss a word…or an idea.

The PulseTM will become a great tool for conducting innovation workshops. One of the more challenging issues in workshops is capturing ideas. No matter how diligent the team is in collecting ideas, many subtle insights and concepts are missed. Even if an innovation workshop is recorded on audio or video tape, it is nearly impossible to connect the spoken word to the drawings and notes taken by the participants. The PulseTM SmartPen solves that.

Here is how I will use the PulseTM in my workshops:
Innovation Workshop

  • Recording component lists
  • Recording Virtual Products
  • Recording “Function Follows Form” ideas
  • Drawing new product embodiments
  • Recording potential benefits of new ideas
  • Recording potential challenges and drawbacks of ideas
  • Scoring ideas
  • Creating Attribute Dependency matrices
  • Recording initial business cases to support new ideas
  • Recording names of participants and facilitators

I envision using the pen with teams of two or three people as they use a structured innovation method. One team member will use the pen to keep track of ideas and draw physical representations while recording the actual discussion as it happens. Each team member will sign the page while verbalizing their name. Idea sessions upload automatically to a computer when the pen is attached to its charging cradle. This approach captures the moment of innovation in audio and written form…forever. It creates a permanent record of who innovated, how they innovated, and what they innovated. We’ll never miss an idea again.

Potential benefits of this approach include:
Innovation Workshop 2

  • Better records and annotations for filing patents and protecting intellectual property
  • Better archiving for future workshops to refine and improve ideas
  • Better metrics of ideation programs
  • Easier sharing of ideas with R&D teams, consultants, and agencies
  • Better marketing strategy development

Congratulations to the team at Livescribe for the development and launch of this useful product. For innovation practitioners, this is a must-have.


Drew Boyd is Director of Marketing Mastery for Johnson & Johnson (Ethicon Endo-Surgery division). He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and Executive Director of the MS-Marketing program. Follow him at www.innovationinpractice.com and at http://twitter.com/drewboyd

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