Author Archives: Stephen Shapiro

Do people seek risk only to minimize losses?


Back in the 1980’s, executives used to joke that you would never get fired for buying “Big Blue” (IBM) computers. It’s not that IBM was the best, but you knew they would not screw up. When I worked for Accenture (then Andersen Consulting), the Economist once called us “The McDonalds of the consulting industry. You know what you will get ...

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Simple Innovation


Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of “The Little Prince”, once said: “Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add but when there is no longer anything to take away.” This is a brilliant quote because it describes the challenge many innovators face. Too often, new products are overly complex and end up ‘over-serving’ their customers. My ...

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How a Blizzard Saved the ATM


“Build it and they will come.” We hear that mantra a lot. But with innovation, it is often more like, “Solve a pain and they will come.” The ultimate success of the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is a great example of this. The other night I was having dinner with someone who in the mid-1970’s worked with Citibank, the second ...

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Content is No Longer King (Part 2)


In an earlier blog entry on content, readers provided a number of interesting comments. If you haven’t already read that article (and the comments), you may want to do so in order to understand this new article. Many did not agree with my point of view. And that is great. I only wanted to stimulate some conversation. Let me first ...

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Are your innovation efforts working?


Sometimes the question you ask is more important than the actions you take. During President Obama’s inauguration speech, he said: “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.” ...

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Do Patents Hinder or Help Innovation?


Some time ago I received a newsletter that had 10 wacky patents. Here’s my favorite: Apparatus for Facilitating the Birth of a Child by Centrifugal Force: With this invention, the mother-to-be is strapped down to a table that is then is spun to allow centrifugal force to take its course and aid in childbirth. This invention by a husband and ...

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Content is No Longer King

We often hear that content is king. But I wonder if this is still true. Let’s take some very simple examples. I am sure most of you know that the iPod was not a revolutionary invention. It was merely a new spin on the already existing MP3 player. The real innovation was the integration of the iPod with iTunes. This ...

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Do you know what this says?


A friend of mine has a very cool T-shirt business. To promote their products, they developed a set of interesting bumper stickers, including the one below. I like the design because it involves emblems from playing cards, reminding me of my Personality Poker product. So, what does this say? To answer the question, you have to stand on your head ...

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