Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

How are you Celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Week?

Did you forget about this important event?

Maybe you’ve never even heard of World Creativity and Innovation Week? If so, you’re not alone 🙂

It’s a real event and celebrates creative thinking and innovation throughout the world.

So, now that you know about World Creativity and Innovation Week (April 15-21), here are some ideas for creative activities:

1. Exercise your creativity in a new environment. Get out of your home or office and go to a new place – a new store, coffee shop, park or hiking trail. Spend time in this new environment doing some creative thinking. Consider solutions to a problem you are facing at home or at work, think about new ideas for your business or think about how to improve the lives of others.

2. Start a conversation with a friend or co-worker to discuss creative ideas. This can be a planned activity or an impromptu discussion. Think of this as a mini brainstorming session. Discuss a common interest you share with the other person and think about ways to spend more time enjoying that common interest.

3. Identify a common trend and think about the changes that will be caused by the trend over the next few years. What kind of changes can you (or your business) start making now to benefit from that trend and make your life or your business more successful and more enjoyable.
Personally, I’m doing all three of the above activities this week:

– I have visited a new park and enjoyed a relaxing walk through the woods. Once I got out of my office and was surrounded by nothing but trees and fresh air, my mind started exploding with new ideas.

– I enjoyed discussions with several friends about my upcoming business activities and brainstormed how to improve those activities.

– I am making use of the growing trend of online learning and online courses. I am developing a new online course that will teach entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and others how to protect their intellectual property. I still have plenty of work to complete this course, but I made significant progress this week. Keep watch for my official announcement of the course within the next two weeks.

What one action can you take to celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Week and make a positive impact on your life or your business?

21 Day Innovation Challenge

Welcome to the 21 Day Innovation Challenge.  Each day I will provide one small tip or action step you can take to help you start incorporating innovation into your business.  As we go on this 21 day journey, you will learn a system for developing innovative ideas, protecting those ideas, and using the innovations to grow your business.  If you follow the daily activities, you will be surprised at the ideas you discover over the next 21 days and maybe even realize that you are more creative than you thought!

These activities are perfect for solo entrepreneurs, contractors, and employees.  Everyone can benefit from a boost in creativity!

This blog post will be updated each day during the 21 Day Innovation Challenge.  If you miss a day, you can always catch up the next day.

You can access this article at the same link every day:

There’s no cost to participate in the challenge.  I encourage you to invite your friends and co-workers.

Please leave comments below to share your insights and experiences.  Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments – I will personally answer all questions.

OK, let’s get started….

Day 1

For Day 1, I have two simple activities for you.  These activities are important to set the foundation for the following 20 days.  Here are your Day 1 activities:

  1. Clear out any negative thoughts about whether you are creative. I’ve worked with thousands of people with all types of backgrounds, education, and experience.  The one consistent thing among all these people:  Every person has the ability to develop unique and creative ideas!  Go into this challenge with an open mind about innovation and your own creativity.  I will show you a system for activating your creative energy and developing innovative ideas.  Trust me!
  2. Get ready to record all of your brilliant ideas. Many of your creative ideas will pop into your head when you least expect it.  Be ready to record those ideas immediately.  Here are my favorite tools for quickly capturing your “flashes of brilliance”:
    • Smartphone – Use the notes app, email the idea to yourself, leave yourself a voicemail message, or text the idea to yourself.
    • Paper and Pen – Yes, this is old fashioned, but it works! Keep a pad of paper and pen in your car, on your nightstand (for those middle-of-the-night ideas), or wherever you have your best ideas.  It only takes 15 seconds to jot down your idea.
    • Shower – If you’re like most people, you get lots of great ideas in the shower. But, your smartphone and paper/pen don’t work there.  One solution is a product called AquaNotes® – they’re like Post-it® brand notes, but you can write on them when they are wet.  They mount to the wall of your shower with suction cups.  It’s a great invention and “prevents your ideas from going down the drain!”

That’s all for Day 1.  Work on these two activities so you’re ready to keep making progress tomorrow.

Day 2

Welcome to Day 2!  Today I want to provide a couple definitions of innovation.  Two common definitions are: Continue reading

Reduce Business Expenses by Analyzing Business Procedures

An Innovation Strategy provides many opportunities to reduce your company’s expenses. Properly managed innovation can streamline internal procedures, enhance the product development process, and simplify manufacturing operations, all of which can reduce business costs.

Innovating internal procedures includes managing the flow of information and documents throughout the company, and managing the handling and prioritizing of internal tasks. In some situations, innovating an internal procedure eliminates several steps or bottlenecks in the existing procedures. The streamlining of manufacturing and development procedures can accelerate the manufacturing or development process, which results in a cost savings to the business.

When evaluating a business procedure, look for steps in the procedure that are not necessary, and eliminate those steps.  I have worked with several clients that were preforming internal procedures that were unnecessary.  When asked why they were performing the procedures, a common answer was “That’s the way we’ve always done things.”  Use your own creativity and the innovative ideas of company employees to evaluate all business procedures, looking for ways to simplify or eliminate the procedure.

When analyzing a business procedure, look for alternate ways to perform particular steps and ways to automate portions of the procedure. Additionally, look for approaches to consolidating multiple procedures into a single activity or performing multiple steps simultaneously to save time and resources.

By simplifying or eliminating certain internal business procedures, you can reduce business costs by requiring fewer resources to perform the procedure and reducing the time required to complete the procedure. Analyze your internal business procedures on a regular basis to continually find new ways to streamline those procedures.

Innovative Thinking – Do Light Bulbs Make A Difference?

Many factors can affect your ability to innovate and think creatively.  Location, noise/activity level, and time of day all have an influence on your innovative thinking.  An article in Fast Company suggests that the image of a conventional light bulb (an incandescent bulb) improves a viewer’s insight and creative thinking.  Click here to read the full article in Fast Company.

The light bulb is used regularly as an indicator of creative ideas and innovations.  However, this article (and the related study) suggests that surrounding yourself with innovative objects or symbols – such as the conventional light bulb – improves creativity.  This study compared the performance of participants who viewed a conventional light bulb as compared to those who viewed an overhead fluorescent light.

The results of the study are based on the presence of the light bulb, not the actual light emitted by the bulb.  The bulb itself can be disconnected from an electrical socket and still have a positive influence on a person’s thinking ability.  The “power” of the conventional light bulb appears to be its symbolic value as an indicator of innovation and creative thinking.

What other symbols come to mind when you think of Innovation?

Steve Sponseller is an Intellectual Property Attorney and Innovation Strategist. He has 25 years of experience helping more than 1000 inventors and business leaders identify, develop, and protect innovative ideas. Get a complimentary copy of his Innovation Strategy Checklist to start creating a steady stream of innovative ideas that give your company a competitive advantage.


3 Ways To Boost Your Creativity Today

Everyone knows that you need to apply creativity to your business to make it succeed. This creative effort has a clear end in mind – to develop innovative products or streamline your business processes to increase profits. But, what can you do when you are just not feeling creative? Here are three great ways to give your creativity an instant boost.

1. Take Pictures

A fantastic way to get your creativity flowing is to grab a camera or your smartphone and take some pictures. It’s an easy way to create something no matter where you are located. You can take pictures at home, at work, or anywhere.

To make it more fun and creatively stimulating, pick something as a theme. A good theme is to choose a color and look for things to snap that are that color. Another idea is to pick Continue reading

Discovering Innovative Ideas

Do you ever struggle with a business problem that requires creativity? If you’re like many people, you sit at your desk and get to work on the problem. You may twirl pencils, crumple up pieces of paper, gaze out the window, and take occasional breaks to pace or get another cup of coffee. But, do you find that the ideas are not materializing?

Some creative people can generate ideas anytime anywhere. But most of us have certain activities that get our creative juices flowing. If you want to perform at your creative peak, you need to identify these activities and use them to your advantage.

Sleeping and Waking

For some reason, sleep seems to bring out the creative ideas in many people. Maybe it has something to do with Continue reading

Boost Your Creativity with an Idea File

If you want to harness the power of your inner creativity to do great things in your business, start an idea file. An idea file is a list of ideas that you can draw on anytime you need one. Think of it as your “backburner.” One of my clients refers to it as an “Innovation Parking Lot” – a place where they collect innovative ideas for future inspiration.

Why You Should Keep an Idea File

The main reason it’s important to have an idea file is that it provides ideas when you need them, but there are other benefits as well. An idea file helps you organize your creative thoughts. With several ideas written down and ready to go, you can choose the idea you feel most inspired to run with at the moment.

An idea file also allows you to capture ideas whenever inspiration hits. You can jot down the idea no matter where you are Continue reading

Where Does Creativity Come From?

For centuries, artists and poets have talked about “the muse.” The muse is the source of inspiration. It has often been seen as some kind of dark supernatural force, but actually it can be anyone around you or something as simple as a photograph or a walk in the park. If you can identify your muse and turn to it when you need inspiration, this will help you unlock your creative energy.

Who is Your Muse?

Take a minute to think about the people you know. Who makes you feel inspired? Is there someone you chat with over coffee and then you find yourself rushing home full of creative ideas? If there is, this person is your muse.

You don’t have to limit yourself to just one muse. Artist Pablo Picasso considered every woman he had a relationship with his muses. It may be that simply going out and socializing is a good way to get inspired. Your muse may be a stranger you have a conversation with at a bus stop or waiting in line at the grocery store.

Favorite Things

Your muse may not be a person at all. It could be Continue reading

Creativity and Innovation are All About Taking Risks

One of the key traits of creative people is that they are risk takers. They are not afraid to put something new out into the world that might be laughed at. Creative people don’t mind being dismissed as crazy or unusual. These types of people often generate the most innovative ideas. If you want to be a more creative person, this is a personality trait that you need to foster in yourself, and it’s easy to do.

First, take a moment to consider that without risks there are no rewards. You may have a few failures but if you can keep your failures from discouraging you, the next attempt might be a huge success. If you have what you believe are good ideas, but you’re afraid to take the plunge and put them out into the world, here are some ideas for changing your mindset.

The Worst That Can Happen

What’s the worst that could happen when you present a new idea? You might face criticism or doubts, but that’s all. In fact, you might face Continue reading

Innovation Tips to Grow Your Business

Successfully leveraging innovation can affect all areas of your business.  Learning and applying innovation skills can help you develop new products or services, solve problems, and improve the efficiency of your business operations.  Here are a few tips for using innovation to your advantage.

1. Distinguish your Business from Competitors.  Businesses (regardless of size) can distinguish themselves from others in the marketplace by identifying and developing creative ideas.  Rather than simply following “industry standards” and creating more of the same products, apply an Innovation Strategy to develop products that set your company apart from everyone else.  Look for ways to make your products faster, more efficient or more fun to use.  Set a goal to identify problems faced by your market and create solutions to those problems.  When you implement a solution to a problem faced by everyone in your market, you will stand out as a market leader.

2. Get Free Advertising.  When you distinguish yourself as an innovator (or innovative company), you attract media attention.  Think about all the free advertising today’s most innovative companies receive.  When you develop innovative products that solve industry problems or simply improve the lives of individuals, you will receive Continue reading