Archives For Innovation

How About McDonalds?

joe —  Sat 23-Jun-18

I don t careIf you are like me, one of the more inane and frustrating conversations you might encounter involves the simple question, “Where do you want to eat?” This seemingly innocuous question feels like a game of tic-tac-toe that is easily won or at least tied, but in reality it often requires the skills of a Chess Grand Master to resolve.

I am going to give you two lifehacks that will help you not only solve this question but also solve a whole series of related frustrating conversations. In the end, this same technique demonstrates why I am such a fan of early prototypes.
Continue Reading…

For the Love of Constraints

joe —  Sat 2-Jun-18

Giraffe airplane hero“Oh, and by the way,” is one of those love/hate phrases for me. It often comes just after I have accepted an assignment from someone, and right before he high-tails it out of the room in fear of my response.

Boss: “Joe, I’d like you build me a device that will allow a giraffe to fly.”

Joe: “Um, ok.”
Boss: “Oh, and by they way, you can’t use any known methods of flying.”

While it feels like a Dilbert strip in the making, I’ll show you how these seemingly unreasonable qualifiers have led to some great breakthroughs in thinking. I’ll also give you a tool you can use to help your thinking as well.

Continue Reading…

Fail Fast Should Fail Faster

joe —  Thu 24-May-18

Stop just stopDid you ever find yourself repeatedly using a phrase, only to later discover it is meaningless, misleading, or simply wrong? I find these phrases often have meaning when they first come out, but take the wrong road once the prevailing zeitgeist takes ownership.

Today, I want to ask all of you that are using the phrase “Fail fast, fail often” to stop. Having worked a significant time in the corporate innovation space, I hear this phrase several times a week. The idea behind fail fast, fail often is that failure creates learning opportunities. When these learning opportunities are done early enough in the product creation cycle they can help you avoid making bigger mistakes later, when the stakes are higher.

Great idea; mom and apple pie. But that’s the problem, it’s so mom and apple pie that it becomes easy to say without understanding the complexities of what it requires to implement.

Continue Reading…

Head Full of Doubt

joe —  Sat 23-Sep-17

Calvin  gun powderAh, wisdom – that wonderful state we each believe we have today but somehow lacked when we were younger. In most cultures wisdom is highly respected. For a creative person, which I consider every one of you, wisdom can be your worst enemy.

Many of you know that I am a Calvin and Hobbes fanatic. Something about a naïve boy and his imaginary tiger unabashedly taking on the wisdom of the world captivates me. Calvin is the heart of many a creative soul.

Bill Watterson, author of Calvin and Hobbes, is a fascinating man. His inspiring life-story of right versus might, retiring early, and holding to his principles is one that I highly recommend reading. One surprising revelation is that Watterson never considered himself an artist, at least in the traditional sense. Continue Reading…

Breathe In, Breathe Out

joe —  Sun 3-Sep-17

Bad launch
It’s not very often you hear an expert telling you “you’ve been doing it wrong your whole life,” especially when it comes to something as simple as breathing. Those are the words I heard two years ago as I started to have some problems with my voice. I learned that I am not alone in this Venn diagram. Roughly 90% of us are breathing wrong and with some simple changes we can improve a number of important things in our life.

It’s been two years since I was taught how to breathe properly and I’ve discovered that breathing shares a lot in common with thinking – most specifically problem solving. Breathing turns out to be an excellent model for problem solving and likely shares a similar failure rate. I use the term cognitive breathing to represent the tight relationship between breathing and thinking. That’s what we will be talking about today. More on that in a minute. Continue Reading…

For the Love of Kindle

joe —  Sun 24-Jul-11

One of my favorite scenes from Anchorman is when Brick declares his undying love for a lamp. I have that same sort of love for my Kindle.

If you are an avid reader how could you not love something that allowed your entire book collection be contained in 9 ounces of electronic wizardry? No more bright sun washout at the beach. No more lost bookmarks or folded pages. I can lookup words I don’t know and get the latest book from the comfort of my couch. Now I can read on my elliptical without having to forge some unnatural physical device to keep the pages open.

I love Kindle. It is utilitarian paradise.

Then why do I download all of my books to my iPad? Continue Reading…

Pet PeevesEveryone has their pet peeves and I am no exception; mine are often words or phrases. You can tell when you have hit one by the very visible shiver that comes over me. Several of my friends know these phrases and purposefully use them in public situations to see if I can restrain myself. I have great friends.

As a teacher/student of creativity and innovation there are two phrases that do it for me. These have to be two of the most overused and most misunderstood topics used in management today. Continue Reading…