The Report of Brainstorming’s Death has been Greatly Exaggerated

At least once a year some self-proclaimed pundit decries that brainstorming is ineffective. Is it? Or is it more likely that brainstorming just didn’t work for what it was asked to do in that instance. Brainstorming is not appropriate for every situation, and is only effective when used appropriately and properly. Brainstorming is a free-form divergent thinking tool used most…

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Innovation is a Team Sport

Great innovations are not achieved by solitary work, created in a vacuum or emerge fully mature when first conceived. Innovations are not the product of a sudden brainstorm from a single individual—a light bulb moment, if you will. Those are sources of ideas. And contrary to popular myth, great minds do not think alike; although great minds are open to…

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To Avoid Obsolescence Forget Everything You Know

Organizational Learning, the process of creating, retaining, and transferring knowledge within an organization, is a perennial management topic, but Organizational Unlearning is far more important. Intentionally forgetting old knowledge and old routines to make way for new learning, new ideas and new methods. As Frank Lloyd Wright has been reported to say, “An architect’s most useful tools are an eraser…

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Innovation: What You Think Matters Little

No matter what business you think you’re in, you’re in the tool business. Your customers are not buying the set of features you offer. They’re buying tools that (they hope) will solve their problems and produce their desired results. Often a gap exists between the results you believe your tools are capable of producing and the results your customer produces…

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Disrupt Yourself before Anyone Else has a Chance

When trying to solve new problems or capitalize on new opportunities, individuals and organizations often look inward and apply familiar mental models, tools and techniques that have worked in the past. When these old strategies don’t work, these same individuals often keep trying to make them work — maybe if they just use an old strategy with more gusto, things…

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Questions are the Answer

Why is it that everything is always in the last place you look? The obvious answer is that once you find it you stop looking. While that may work for your cell phone or your car keys, it doesn’t work for innovation. The first answers you find tend to produce mundane, everyone-has-thought-of-them-before ideas. It is only when you keep pushing…

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