Archives For innovation

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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.

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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.

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I Landed Where???

joe —  Fri 17-Oct-14 — 1 Comment
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Columbus holidayThe U.S. should have a national holiday in my honor. On several occasions I have led a large group of cyclists over long distances, become lost, and then tried to convince the others that I was right where I expected to be. I am the Christopher Columbus of bicycling.

The United States celebrated a national holiday this past week that honored Christopher Columbus. By honored, I mean we pretty much ignored the holiday.

Many of us older folks were taught that Columbus discovered North America in 1492. The fact that millions of people were already living in North America didn’t diminish his legacy. Neither did the fact that Columbus landed in Bermuda thinking it was India, saw Cuba and thought it was China, and made a trip to Hispaniola convinced it was Japan. He had no clue that there was a giant landmass and another ocean between Spain and Asia.
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For the Love of Kindle

joe —  Sun 24-Jul-11 — 10 Comments
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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…

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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…

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The Audacity of a Magnolia

joe —  Sun 11-Jul-10 — 5 Comments
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Our house sits on a very heavily wooded lot surrounded by large oak, maple, and cherry trees. Sitting on our back porch, staring at this beautiful forest is where I write nearly all of the Stranded Starfish columns. It is here where I see the hand of our Creator at work.

Then when I peer around the corner of the house I come in full view of what can only be described as God wanting to express himself. Here stands a tree that was given to me by my wife and mother-in-law, a constant reminder of how much they understand me. I cannot pass by this tree without stopping to notice it and go “Wow!”

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Your Inner Schizophrenic

joe —  Tue 1-Jun-10 — 8 Comments
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Creativity is a fascinating beast. Some people seem to have it in droves – others, “Bless their hearts” as southerners would say, weren’t so equipped. But what makes a person creative – is it nature or nurture?

The answer is a resounding “Yes?” We all have different physiological profiles that makes us more or less capable, but the people around you have just as much influence on whether you are creative or not. To get to the nurture we first need to step through the nature and a tiny bit of science. I promise it won’t hurt.

You may have heard the expression “scientists have never found a gene responsible for creativity” and it is technically Continue Reading…

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