Category Archives for "Uncategorized"

Leveraging Failure To Produce Innovation

success failureBased on my experiences with over a thousand innovators during the past 20 years, I understand that innovation includes both success and failure.  Many good ideas are difficult to implement or are “too early” for public acceptance.  In some cases, the development of an idea into a working product is a lengthy process.  This process typically includes multiple tests and a significant number of failures.  However, successful innovators learn from these failures to modify their approach and prepare another test.

I recently read an article that reminded me of Thomas Edison’s many attempts to create a working light bulb.  Edison did not view his thousands of experiments as failures.  Instead, Edison Continue reading

5 Tips for Developing Valuable Ideas for your Business

photoMy family and I recently vacationed along the northern coast of California. This picture was taken during that visit.

Spending time along the ocean is one of my best innovation environments. Although I was not working during this trip, just spending time in that environment created dozens of new ideas for my business.

The spot where I took that picture is 900 miles away today, but I can recreate that innovative environment right now by visualizing the experience of walking along the Pacific Ocean. I can recreate the images, sounds and the smell of the ocean breeze whenever I want to stimulate my creative energy.

Here are five tips I use regularly to identify and develop new ideas for my business.Continue reading

Growing Your Business From The Outside

observed businessMany businesses rely on internal personnel to generate ideas and procedures to grow the company.  While internal people are critical to the success of any business, an innovative business will seek ideas and input from individuals outside the company to strengthen the business.

Unfortunately, many business leaders fall into the trap of believing that the company founders and other business personnel are best suited to identify all ideas related to growth of the business.  In many situations, these business leaders fail to seek (or simply ignore) input from people outside the company.  However, people outside the company’s day-to-day operations typically have a different perspective.  They are not Continue reading

The Key to Innovation Success

Innovate ButtonI have seen too many business leaders say that innovation is important, but fail to take action in support of their statements. This situation confuses employees and destroys a company’s ability to create a culture of innovation. By missing out on potentially valuable ideas, these companies have difficulty distinguishing themselves in the marketplace.

Education is an important step in developing an innovation strategy for any company.  This innovation education is important at all levels in the organization. To successfully create a team of people who are actively developing innovative ideas, the company’s leaders must support creative activities and understand how to encourage innovative thinking. Continue reading

6 Common Innovation Myths

Fact Myth Switch Shows Facts Or MythologyMany entrepreneurs and business leaders do not leverage the power of innovative ideas in their business. Here’s a list of common myths about innovation I have encountered from many leaders, and the facts about applying innovative ideas today.

1. Only for Technology Companies. Many people believe that innovations are only for technology-based companies. Although technology businesses develop plenty of innovations, any business – regardless of size, location or industry – can develop innovations. These innovative ideas may relate to the company’s products and services as well as internal business procedures.
2. Just for Scientists and the R&D Department. Business leaders often leave the company’s innovation activities to the Engineering or Research & Development departments. However, this approach can fail to identify many valuable innovations. I have seen numerous examples Continue reading

Overcoming Barriers to Innovation

Innovation BarrierIn a recent article, I identified several road blocks to innovation. Unfortunately, I have seen these road blocks stop the development of innovative ideas at many companies. Some of the brightest and most talented business leaders have crashed head-first into these road blocks.

I don’t want to see you make the same mistake. To help you avoid these barriers, I discuss several ways to overcome these road blocks and successfully apply innovation in your business.

1. Stuck in a Rut – Human beings love habit.  We love staying on an existing path and sticking to what’s familiar.  But, innovation in business is all about breaking habits and changing perspectives.  You may have had a success before that you’d like to duplicate.  There’s always an impulse to do the same things repeatedly.  But when you do this, you can get stuck in a rut.  Instead, you want the innovation process to be one of discovery.  Constantly try new things and approach the process like a child doing something for the first time.Continue reading

Road Blocks To Innovation

Council road blocksEvery business must manage different types of obstacles to continue growing. An important activity that drives business growth is developing innovative ideas. However, innovation “road blocks” can stop even the most promising business venture. During the past 20 years, I have seen many companies fail to identify and apply innovations capable of significantly improving the bottom line. It’s disappointing to see the collapse of an organization with huge potential, especially when a failure to innovate likely contributed to the breakdown.

Increase the success of your own business by learning to identify and overcome innovation “road blocks.” I have identified many such road blocks encountered by numerous companies. Here are several of the most common issues that hold back business innovation.Continue reading

It All Started When I Was 6 Years Old

Steve_in_first_gradeI don’t remember much about First Grade, but fortunately my mom saved this newspaper clipping of me “experimenting” with electricity.  Yes, that’s me on left side of the photo very focused on my project! This was the start of my innovation “career.”

At this same age, I liked to take things apart to discover how they worked. Then, I would take all of the pieces and try to reassemble the device to better understand how it operated. Typically I would get broken appliances or similar items to take apart. But, one day I ran out of broken items, so I started taking apart my mom’s working vacuum cleaner – I got in trouble for that experiment! Fortunately, my dad was an engineer, so he was able to put the vacuum cleaner back together, and it still worked.

Today, more than 40 years later, I still love to learn how things work and spend time helping creative people develop innovative ideas for their business. Those childhood activities helped Continue reading

7 Reasons Why Every Business Must Innovate

innovationMy first job after graduating from college was working as an Electrical Engineer for a small start-up company in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At that time, the company had a single scientist (Don) who was responsible for the company’s innovations. He was very bright and an expert in his field of imaging technology. Since Don was the only person expected to create innovative ideas, the rest of us never really thought about innovation. And, the company only discussed innovation with respect to Don’s work in creating new high-tech inventions. In hindsight, I see that this was a serious problem for the company.

Yes, innovation is critical for companies that are developing new, cutting-edge technologies. However, innovative ideas cover much more than just the latest technology. Since my first job, I have worked with hundreds of companies and entrepreneurs who have a broad view of innovation that can benefit any type of business (not just high-tech companies).

Here are seven of my favorite benefits to help you expand your business by leveraging innovative ideas:Continue reading

Discovering Your Innovation Environment

Innovative ThinkingTo develop innovative ideas for your business, you must find your own “innovation environment” that stimulates your creative energy. Although people can generate creative ideas at any time, intentionally placing yourself into the proper environment can produce excellent innovations that grow your business.

My perfect innovation environment is something like the picture to the left – in a peaceful outdoor setting.  That’s not me sitting on the dock, but I would love to be there!  One of my favorite environments is sitting along the ocean and letting my brain come to life.  Since I live in Spokane, Washington, it’s a long drive to the ocean, but fortunately we have many mountains, rivers, and lakes nearby.  I escape to these places to relax and identify new ideas for my own business.

I first learned about finding an innovation environment from a cartoon character when I was five or six years old. That cartoon character is Winnie the Pooh. My kids love our collection of Winnie the Pooh books, toys, and videos.  Winnie the Pooh was one of my favorite characters when I was a kid too.  But, he’s not just entertainment for kids, he brings an important lesson about innovation to adults!Continue reading