Innovation

The Only Three Swim Lanes that Matter to a Business

  In the course of my training with business leaders, we inevitably come to the existential business question… “What is the purpose of a business?” This is a great question, and one with a very simple answer. The purpose of a business is to create value. That’s it.  To create value.  Plain and simple.  That is what a business does. ...

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Ten Innovation Strategies for the Holidays

Ideas are a key part of any innovation. We often talk about the Eureka moment, and an idea simply popping into our minds out of thin air. There is considerable evidence that we are more likely to have a Eureka moment when our thinking is not focused on the problem at hand, as narrow focus can actually inhibit our ability ...

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10 Great Ideas That Were Originally Rejected

History has shown us that a lot of wise people haven’t been able to recognize the potential of a great idea. “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” Western Union internal memo dated 1876. “I do not believe the introduction of motor-cars will ever ...

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The 2016 Digital Tonto Reading List

Books have been very much on my mind this year, even more than usual. Full-length books provide a depth and a breadth that you just can’t get from an article or a blog post. A good, thoughtful book is a profoundly important thing and I’ve always been an active reader and enjoy letting new ideas wash over me. This year, though, ...

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Postal Innovation

Postal Innovation

It’s the time of the year when we are deluged with packages, many of which are delivered by the US Postal Service (USPS).  The surge in e-commerce has resulted in challenges for the main delivery services, and the USPS has responded with creative solutions such as Sunday delivery.  I was in Atlanta on a Sunday recently and noticed a USPS ...

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Design Thinking as Worldview

Design Thinking as Worldview

Design thinking is considered a human-centered framework for problem solving, used in formal innovation work in many fields: health care, consumer products, software, medical devices, durable goods, services and city planning. Design thinking has been perhaps the most lauded innovation method. In brief, the phases include empathy, define, ideation, prototyping, testing and storytelling. Here’s the weird factor. The more I practice design ...

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When More Innovation Isn’t Your Best Option

Stressed Innovator

The more innovation, the better. That seems to be the going mantra. After all, who wouldn’t want to come up with something new? You can gain additional share of existing markets, or even create new ones. But there comes a tipping point. One where more innovation doesn’t help a business. It hurts it. When improperly paced (i.e., pacing too many ...

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Six Sets of Eyes for Innovation

Six Sets of Eyes for Innovation

To successfully foster an innovation, you have to look through at least six different sets of eyes. First, you have to unlearn everything you know. Admit it. You are biased, pre-programmed, and your bonus is tied into business results. Apply sincere empathy with people who do not know as much as you. To enter a beginner’s mind and renew how you ...

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