April 21, 2007
BrainWaves is a quarterly e-periodical for people who are interested in how organizations cultivate individual and group creativity. We see that groundbreaking change can be fueled by stimulating fresh, even counterintuitive, unexpected or previously rejected ideas. New ideas can create new companies and new industries, change the behavior of consumers and producers, make new market leaders and kill off also-rans. Each issue of BrainWaves features information and perspectives about individual and group ideation; how businesses and not-for-profits actuate the best ideas; and reports on remarkable innovations that promise novel solutions to intractable problems. Brainwaves is produced and edited by BrainReactions, producer of “outside insight” — ideas for organizations conceived by outside professional brainstormers and from online brainstorms using BrainReactions.net.
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In This Issue
- The Value of Outside Insight
- Innovation Culture Needs Outside Ideas
- P&G Builds an Idea Factory
- Ideation Irony
- Save Innovation from a Buzzword’s Fate
- Innovative Entrepreneurs Drive US Competitiveness
- Reviews of Book and Games
Good ideas are oxygen to the blood flow of organizations. Generating actionable ideas is essential for the growth, even the survival, of an organization. . . . Can an organization get enough actionable ideas from its insiders?
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Innovation Culture Needs Outside Ideas
Is there an attitude that your “in house experts” know it all? Are your technology managers blind to outside innovation since they trust that the company experts have a lock on the industry’s technology? While incremental improvements are going to make you money, it is the discontinuous solution that may come from an outside inventor that puts you out of business.
Einstein on Ideation
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
P&G Builds an “Idea Factory”
“We estimated when we started about three years ago, we had about 20% of our ideas, products, and technologies that came from totally outside P&G. Today, we’ve got about 35%, and our target is to get to 50%. It’s also a tremendous productivity enhancer. This has actually occurred with a 20% reduction in the R&D investment we make.”
345 Steps to Squeeze Juice from an Orange?
Can a Rube Goldberg approach foster creativity? “It’s the complete opposite of what we’re taught in school . . . . Not that it’s just fun and games. Employers also love the Rube Goldberg experience, believing that the process fosters original thinking, thriftiness and team building.”
The Most Unwanted Inventions?
We have a love-hate relationship with many innovative products, many really good ideas with unforeseen implementations and unintended pernicious side effects. One mass media writer lists these:
High Heels; Jet Skis; Leaf-Blowers; Automated Telephone Assistance; Television; Video Games; Bass Amplifiers; Neckties; Car Alarms; Cell Phones.
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What are your favorite innovations?
What innovations do you think have fallen to the “dark side?”
Save Innovation from a Buzzword’s Fate
The moment you think you have the right innovation process in place, that’s the very product of the process; it’s about the process itself. If we are to keep innovation from becoming the next hackneyed buzzword, we have to move beyond corporate, cookie-cutter approaches. It’s about opening up to new influences. It’s about never allowing ourselves to get too comfortable. It’s about changing the rules, which will increase our chances of making that truly remarkable, unexpected connection.
Innovative Entrepreneurs Drive US Competitiveness
Entrepreneurial companies are increasingly important drivers of innovation, an area traditionally dominated by large companies and their substantial R&D budgets. Small firms are an essential mechanism for commercializing breakthrough discoveries and new technologies. . . . Small firms have been the source of a range of world-changing innovations — from the integrated circuit to biosynthetic insulin. Larger firms often depend on small firms for new ideas and technologies. They. . . recognize that as the pace of innovation increases, tapping into the creativity of entrepreneurs is the only way to keep up.
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Hear Through Your Teeth
Beethoven [who was deaf] held a wooden baton between his teeth and pressed it to his piano to listen to the notes. . . Audiodent has developed an innovative new hearing aid that clips easily inside the mouth, using the teeth and jawbone to transmit sound to the brain.
Outside Innovation: How Your Customers Will Co-Design Your Company’s Future by Patricia B. Seybold
In Outside Innovation, Patricia Seybold argues that the only way organizations can break out of the pack is to open up their entire business to passionate customers and welcome them into every aspect of product, service and customer experience design. In fact, those companies that bring customers into the innovation process—that innovate from the outside in—will create solutions that better meet the needs of prospective customers, will revolutionize business models and practices, and will attract fanatically loyal customers. Read the Defining Principles of Outside Innovation.
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“Do something. If it doesn’t work, do something else. No idea is too crazy.”
Jim Hightower, The New York Times, March 19, 1986
Innovate Like Edison by Michael Gelb and Sarah Miller Caldicott
Innovate Like Edison presents Edison’s world-changing innovation methods as a cohesive, practical, and immediately applicable system. Based on three years of research, Innovate Like Edison offers readers an in-depth view of Edison’s comprehensive innovation approach – an analysis which has never previously been documented. Readers will learn to apply Edison’s Five Competencies of Innovation™ either to their work lives or their personal lives, following the timeless principles Edison used to generate his record-breaking 1,093 U.S. patents. Read the Preview of Innovate Like Edison.
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BrainReactions Training Workshop, “Innovation through Ideation”
BrainReactions helps clients innovate new products, services and marketing concepts by conducting brainstorming sessions with the most creative idea generators. Innovation through Ideation is a day-long training workshop that will equip attendees with the skills to increase idea generation, improve innovation, and take steps towards forming a culture of innovation in their organizations. Learn about holding a workshop for your organization.
Business Innovation Game, iF: Get Bold or Get Old
Innovation is a team sport. To win, everyone has to play. The iF innovation game from the learning design firm, Originaliti, motivates players to use collaboration skills and practice bold innovation behaviors to win. The iF game gets everyone participating in innovation feats – thinking and acting that builds business – in less than two hours. Players practice bold behaviors that create innovation feats and overcome innovation threats.
Read more, buy the game.
What do you think?
Give us your brain’s reactions, feedback, criticism, advice.
What would you like us to cover? Please share your feedback.
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Win a copy of Outside Innovation
Share your favorite innovation. We’ll publish the most interesting ones in the next issue. Winners will receive a copy of Patricia Seybold’s great new book.