How Great Leaders Empower their people

A young PhD in electronics, Ted Hoff, joined a start-up company in California in 1968. He was the 12th employee in a new venture called Intel. One of Intel’s customers was a Japanese calculator manufacturer, Busicomp, who gave Intel the job of designing the electronic circuits for a new calculator. The job was given to Ted Hoff who had never worked on calculator designs before. Busicomp had specified... Read More--

Why did the Segway fail? Some innovation lessons.

The Segway PT is a two-wheeled, self-balancing battery electric vehicle invented by Dean Kamen.  It was launched in 2001 in a blizzard of publicity.  Yet it has failed to gain significant market acceptance and is now something of a curiosity.  The product is very clever.  It works well.  The company, Segway Inc., had tremendous funding and resources.  The level of press and TV exposure was astounding. ... Read More--

Check your Assumptions

Every time that we approach a problem, in any walk of life, we bring to bear assumptions that limit our ability to conceive fresh solutions. Our experiences condition us to see any new situation in terms of situations we have seen before. We make assumptions unconsciously and put things into a framework with constraints that limit our thinking. Innovative thinkers are always aware of assumptions and... Read More--

Innovation Lessons from Fashion Leader, Zara

Zara is the well-known face of one the world’s most innovative retail groups. It is part of Inditex which is one of the world’s largest fashion and clothing companies. Inditex has over 5500 stores in 82 countries. Its leading brand is Zara and its other store formats include Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho and Uterqüe.  Inditex has grown quickly.  Its founder,... Read More--

How to get your customers to help you innovate.

An increasingly popular route to innovation is co-creating with customers. Threadless is a fashion company that’s had great success asking people to upload T-shirt designs that site visitors then rate each week. Winning submissions get printed in limited editions, and the creators are rewarded with cash and site credits. The prizes aren’t going to make anyone rich, except maybe Threadless,... Read More--

You can be too close to your own products. Bring in an outsider for a fresh view.

How can you break out of the group-think that affects most large organizations? How can you escape from the corporate frameworks that shape discussions and ideas? Philips is moving from a high-volume electronics manufacturere to a design-led, lifestyle technology company. It needs help to get there so it set up a ‘simplicity board’. Philips reckoned it needed a fresh perspective from creative... Read More--

Innovation means Creating the Best Practices of Tomorrow

Leaders constantly strive to increase efficiency, improve quality, implement best practice and deliver increased performance. Their goal is make the current business model work better. They seek to improve profitability through efficiencies of scale and cost reductions. But there are limits to cost saving. In a global economy your competitors in lower-cost countries can beat you at that game. The best... Read More--

21 Great Ways to Innovate

How hard is it to innovate?  Not once but over and over?  How can you repeatedly implement great new products, processes or services?  Continuous innovation is not easy and if you keep using the same method you will experience diminishing results.  Try innovating how you innovate by employing some of these ideas.   Copy someone else’s idea.  One of the best ways to innovate is to pinch... Read More--

How receptive are you to New Ideas?

We carried out a survey to assess attitudes towards receptiveness to new ideas within organizations. There were 203 respondents of whom 82% were from private sector companies and 18% from the public sector. The results indicate that most people consider themselves to be much more receptive to new ideas than their bosses are. So whereas 95% of people think that they would welcome or consider ideas from... Read More--

What mix of skills is needed for innovation to succeed?

Innovation is a team activity, a contact sport. One person may have a great idea but normally the implementation of the idea requires a team. That team needs a mix of skills and attributes in order overcome all the obstacles that get in the way. In a corporate environment the people who are best at conceiving bright ideas are often not the best at making them happen. So what skills do you need in your... Read More--