Author Archives: Michael Graber

Alas, Poor Henry and the Problem

According to legend, Henry Ford scoffed at market research and what we now call Consumer Insights, proclaiming, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” While there is a certain degree of wisdom in this statement, it has been misquoted to justify bad, hubris-inspired product failures by too many corporate egos. Yes, to Ford’s ...

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Start with Feeling

People ask me often about Innovation. No one has a clear definition. Innovation is one of those words that mean something different to anyone who hears it. Similar to other words that are filled with misunderstanding, such as creativity or strategy, innovation, requires a refining conversation to demystify and better understand. The first task is to name what is not ...

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Innovation Metrics: Rock, Lava, Smoke

When organizations begin their innovation journey, they have no idea how to account for the many forms of value that get created. They may also have dormant fears about changing modes of work to effectively innovate. Yes, there is tangible value (read: real and significant ROI) generated from innovation, but there are also many other forms of value that range ...

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Witnessing Real Change

We host several Innovation Bootcamps each month. After doing this work for years, you expect a predictable pattern at each session. Surprisingly, it’s not in the transformational new thinking about the enterprise and the potential value that is created. The pattern I am exploring here is subtle, having far-reaching implications. It happens within the professionals attending the session. Over the ...

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Is Business Killing Our Creative Spirits?

This week there was an article on INC. magazine that was wildly popular on social media. Elon Musk named his favorite books and there was only one business book out of 10. The rest were Science Fiction, Classics, Great Books. Many were surprised to learn that Musk finds inspiration in the arts and other fields and finds the canon of ...

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Healthy Visionaries

If you want to create a high-growth company or transform a slow- or flat-growth organization into a category-dominating leader, you cannot manage this type of growth with an MBA-styled leader who wants to function like a strategic CFO by mainly cutting costs and managing profit and loss. Companies looking to lead—to either invent or reset a category—need to study the ...

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Brand Essence: The Rock’n’Roll of Business (Part Two)

One real power of a brand is that it serves as a tuning fork for an organization, helping them quicken strategic decisions, vetting new opportunities, and making hard choices when projections are slipping away from the target. Nothing kills brand value more than short-term revenue focus. When the deafening sirens of Wall Street start signing, listening to the essence of brand can keep a company from wrecking on its own overexcited ambition. Brand is the moral DNA of an organization, and therefore it’s crucial to...

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