Author Archives: Stephen Shapiro

Innovators Ask Questions

Glass-Half-Full

Imagine that I am holding a glass of water. Here’s a question for you (you know this one)… What is the difference between a pessimist, and optimistic, an efficiency expert, and an innovator?

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The Power of Purposeful Tangents

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According to a recent Huffington Post/YouGov poll 28% of Americans did not read a book last year. As an author, I find this both disappointing and yet not surprising. Fortunately most people read. But is what you are reading enhancing your creativity, or just furthering your intellect?

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Driving Your Differentiator Down

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Imagine you are a company that produces products for consumers. It could be toothpaste or soft drinks. You decide that your differentiator is your marketing. Given this, you might assume that the marketing department is the most important part of the business.

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The Value of "Line" Thinking

3m

While spending time recently at 3M, I learned that 80% of their innovations are "line solutions." That is, multiple domains of expertise are involved. Although this may be unusual within other organizations, at 3M, this is the norm. They are masterful at connecting dots.

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All Ideas Can't Be Good Ideas

It’s very important for innovators to understand confirmation bias, because every person is convinced they have a billion dollar idea. They’ve got the next big idea that’s going to change the world and make them rich. But what happens is their confirmation bias only allows them to see the evidence that supports their belief that they have a great idea. Their brain doesn’t allow them to see all the evidence that proves it’s actually a bad idea.

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The Power of Positive Constraints

In the world of innovation, there seems to be this belief that we're supposed to let everybody be free thinkers and let them do whatever they want. But this actually destroys innovation. We need structure. We need constraints. I'll give you a really simple example...

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