Author Archives: Dennis Stauffer

Perseverance Not Key to Innovation


Inspiration appears in odd places sometimes. As the spring nesting season gets underway, I’ve been wondering if I will see the return of one very determined little companion. Last year at this time, I had a daddy bluebird perched outside my office. Bluebirds can be extremely territorial and this one was determined to guard his brood from any intruders—especially other ...

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Innovation is Not Problem Solving


The most effective innovators don’t wait for problems to arise. They fix what isn’t broken and seek to improve on things that have no apparent deficit. When I speak about the behaviors and choices that drive innovation, I mention things like preferring imagination to knowledge, choosing to explore rather than apply. I often get pushback from those who argue that ...

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Innovation Essentials – Unlearning

It goes without saying that to successfully innovate, we need to be willing to learn new things. What doesn’t get said as often is that we also need to be willing to unlearn old things—and that’s often the more important task. One of the central challenges innovators manage to overcome is the tendency to cling to past assumptions and beliefs ...

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Innovation Essentials – Mindset


Mindset may the most overlooked strategic issue in business today. Getting yourself and your people into the right frame of mind is becoming a crucial determinant of competitiveness, thanks to two huge business trends. The first trend: For decades organizations have been growing flatter, with fewer layers of management and increasingly dispersed decision making. It’s a strategy that has reduced ...

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Innovators are Effectual Thinkers


Innovation is less about causal thinking than it is about effectual thinking. I confess I didn’t know “effectual” was a word until I was recently directed to the ground breaking research of Dr. Saras Sarasvathy, a professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. She interviewed 45 successful entrepreneurs. (Or, more accurately, asked them to think out loud ...

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