Innovation Lessons from the Fidget Spinner

The fidget spinner is a child’s toy which easily spins around a central bearing.  Because it is a type of gyroscope it can be used to perform various tricks involving balancing, throwing and catching.  It was originally developed as a device to help children suffering from ADHD or autism but it became a global phenomenon as a toy for all children.  It became so pervasive that many schools banned... Read More--


10 Ways to Simplify your Business

Gordon Tredgold We tend to over-complicate things.  We try to do to many things instead of focusing on a handful of essential priorities.  So says Gordon Tredgold in his book, FAST – Principles every business needs to achieve success and drive results.  He expounds four key precepts: Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Transparency. The book has many stories, examples and useful tips. ... Read More--


Marketing Question – What is your Blackpool Tower?

Blackpool Imagine that I showed photos of the seafronts at Brighton, Bognor Regis and Bournemouth and asked you which was which.  It would not be easy for most people to tell them apart.  Now suppose I added a photo of Blackpool.  Nearly everyone would recognise it.  Why? Because it has an enormous iron tower which is well-known around the world.  The tower is not modern, not used by most visitors... Read More--


The Founder of IKEA is the Master of Frugal Innovation

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad was born in 1926 on a small farm in the Swedish province of Småland. He had an austere upbringing and the lessons he learnt in thrift stayed with him throughout his life. At the age of six the boy started a business selling matches to neighbours. He bought the matches in bulk and sold them in small inexpensive packs. He went on to sell seeds, pens, pencils and even fish in this... Read More--


Innovate with the Experience – Make it Memorable

We tend to focus our innovation efforts on new products, services or processes.  The questions we ask are: *  How can we make our product better, cheaper or different? *  How can we make our service better, easier or different? These are always good questions to ask but sometimes we should try this question: *  How can we make the experience of using our product or service memorable? Our customers... Read More--


Promote your Creative Idea with Deliberate Provocation

We live in a society where people are quick to take offense so our natural reaction is to be polite and inoffensive.  But sometimes the best way to gain attention for your creative idea is to be outrageously provocative. The Reverend Jonathan Swift was an eminent Irish author and satirist. He is best known for writing Gulliver’s Travels. In 1729 he published a short book entitled A Modest Proposal... Read More--


Bland Products Upset No-one but Delight No-one.

A Negative Reaction is Better than No Reaction South Park is a highly successful cartoon sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central TV network. The show was launched in 1997 and quickly became notorious for its rude language, minimalist characters and black, surreal satire. It was aimed at an adult audience and poked fun at a wide range of topical or taboo subjects. South Park... Read More--


Are you Playing too Safe? Review your Innovation Portfolio.

Many companies plough money into innovation projects without a clear strategy for their overall portfolio. Here is a method which gives a framework for sorting and reviewing our innovation initiatives. We can categorise our new product development initiatives into one of four quadrants using the two by two window shown below. On the vertical axis there are markets – the ones we currently occupy and... Read More--


Nine Ways to Innovate with Your Pricing

We tend to think of innovation in terms of new products and services. But the need for innovation applies to a far broader range of business activities. You can innovate with your methods, processes, route to market, supply chain, marketing, partnerships and indeed with your fundamental business model. One neglected area for innovation is pricing. How can you be innovative with the monetisation of... Read More--


Many Great Business Innovations Started as New Ways of Reaching Customers

Instead of finding a new product or a new market try looking for a new route to an existing market. In the late 19th century people living in rural America had to go into town to their local store to buy the goods they needed. The selection was poor and the items were expensive. A young railway company agent, Richard Sears, decided to try a new approach. Together with a watchmaker, Alvah Roebuck,... Read More--