Author Archives: Michael Graber

Poo as Good Business

Talk about nothing wasted. Behold the founding story, which reads more like a creation myth, of Poo~Pourri. A 40-year old woman from Jonesboro, Arkansas declares her second bankruptcy. Conventional “rules” of success did not work for her life. To heal she renounces the world of commerce and takes two-year spiritual quest, experimenting with alternative healing methods that included the lost ...

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Innovating Human Resources

If you boil down the function of Human Relations to logical extremes, you end up with polar opposites. On one hand, you have the traditional view of HR: a place to fill out all of your essential employee paperwork, ask questions about benefits, send out messages about birthdays, and a place to be heard if you have an issue with ...

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Extreme Collaboration

Collaboration, as a concept, can be used by those seeking control of a culture for their own purposes. If collaboration becomes a form of groupthink or censorship, watch out. I’ve seen many different professional cultures version of collaboration—and have left some feeling as if I were in a governmental public input meeting where very little actual input is allowed by ...

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The Bigger the Back End, The Stronger the Backlash

Be careful. When innovation gets real, people react in unpredictable ways. People whom you thought were forward thinking recoil in reactionary conservatism. Others are willing to move a step forward but vigilantly cautious. The more concrete you get in detail, the stronger the reaction you receive internally. The Back End of Innovation is where you host learning in-market pilots, where ...

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Belly Button Meeting Tips

We get hired to moderate and facilitate a lot of meetings. Sometimes they are annual strategic workshops. Sometimes they are customer co-creations. They range from strategy to innovation and every combination between the two poles. Some of the most telling is the meetings that explore a potential growth area for a business. Many organizations cannot summon the objectivity to lead ...

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Extending the Transformation

Innovation can be the spark that galvanizes an organization and resets the whole of it for higher and faster growth. After using innovation methods successfully to create meaningful products, services, and perhaps overhaul the business model itself, these methods and mindsets can be used to refine and advance many other operational segments of the business. We call this growth tendency ...

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Gray Hair, White Space

Geritol. AARP. RVs. These symbols of retirement are losing their relevance, empty shells of another’s generation concept of how to spend the remainder of your life once you have worked your last day. In the past week I talked to several people across the country who all turned 50. The same story surfaced organically. Thanks for the miracle of direct ...

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Leveraging Suppliers for Innovation

One of the greatest thrills of a career is when you see a nice client thrive and prosper. Recently, I was flown to the West Coast with a client to co-present the findings of a few innovation projects. We had an esteemed audience SVPs of marketing, procurement, sales, and a few VPs, too. At the end of the meeting, one ...

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Embody the Problems to Discover Innovation

Much of the work of innovation takes place trying to deeply understand the unmet needs of a particular market. As one Innovation school of thought calls it, what are the “jobs to be done?” Discerning these needs, these undone jobs, takes more empathy than data, more heart than head, and it takes a real investment of time and attention. To ...

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