Author Archives: Paul Sloane

13 Smart Questions for your Management Meetings

Most management meetings are dull affairs stacked full of short-term problems that need fixing. Discussions focus on routine operational issues and of course these things have to be addressed. However, from time to time you and your team should lift your heads and think about a bigger, brighter future. You should brainstorm strategic and innovative options. The kind of question you ask makes a big difference.

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Grow a Miracle in a Miracle Garden

I recently visited Dubai to give a class on Innovation.  I asked the hotel concierge for a recommendation of where to visit on a free morning.  He listed all the main sights but I had already seen them. He then suggested something new, the Miracle Garden.  It is a remarkable place in the Western outskirts of the city.  Dubai is ...

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Why are Children more Creative than Adults?

I came across an interesting article entitled 10 Great Inventions Dreamt up by Children.    They range from earmuffs to crayon holders to an underwater talking device.  The stories of their young creators are inspiring for anyone interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.     The article begs some questions.  Why are children so much more creative than adults?  How does that ...

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Three Insights for Innovators from Elon Musk

Elon Musk was born in South Africa in 1971. He got his first computer at the age of 8 and learned to program. At 17 he went to University in Canada and subsequently settled in the USA where he founded a company, Zip2, which provided online travel guides. Zip2 was an early internet success and in 1999 he sold it ...

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Planned or Emergent Innovation?

Most innovation initiatives are planned. We focus on a challenge, generate some great ideas and then put together teams to implement the best ones. For new products the projects might go through a stage-gate process where they have to clear certain hurdles in order to have extra resources released. There is a program and the projects adhere to it. Most ...

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Should the Manager be in the Ideation Meeting?

You want to hold a meeting with your team in order to generate some really creative ideas. You would like the group to challenge assumptions, think differently and come up with plenty of radical proposals.  Here is the dilemma. You naturally want to lead the meeting but should you be in the room at all? Unfortunately for managers, your presence ...

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Lessons from Four Great American Innovators

In 1912 a young scientist from New York, Clarence Birdseye departed on a fur-trading expedition to Labrador in Canada. While he was there he noticed that the local Eskimos kept their fish fresh in winter by freezing it in the ice.  He was intrigued to find that the fish retained its flavour and did not deteriorate. He wondered whether the same ...

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Six Reasons why Cross-Functional Innovation Teams Fail

Six Reasons why Cross-Functional Innovation Teams Fail

Once you have identified a great idea for a new product or service innovation what do you do?  Many firms put together a cross-functional team (XFT) and tell them to bring the product to market.  It seems like a good approach. They have budget, people, and empowerment.  What could possibly go wrong?  Lots of things. Here are six common reasons ...

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