Innovation Lessons from Santa Claus

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The Holiday Season for innovation practitioners is a time for reflection on the previous year, its highlights and lowlights and all those days in between.  Most of us will take a well-deserved break from work this month as we prepare for the inevitable challenges of the coming new year.  In the spirit of the season, I decided to spend some ...

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State Backing for R&D is Declining

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Growth is a permanent feature of western economic discourse, with politicians of all stripes promising to deliver it as the path to prosperity.  Of course, economists have long since known that growth is only possible through innovation, so it is perhaps no surprise that governments around the world are investing heavily in innovation. You have reports like the annual INSEAD/WIPO ...

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The Only Three Swim Lanes that Matter to a Business

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  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

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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

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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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