Posts filed as “Innovation”

Go. Conceive and Deliver Art

In 1943, Richard James was a naval engineer trying to develop a meter designed to monitor horsepower on naval battleships. Richard was working with different types of tension springs when one of the springs fell to the ground. And after it fell to the ground, it kept moving as if stepping away. Astonished and delighted…

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Where’s Your Woodshed?

Woodshedding is an old jazz expression – it means to go deep in isolation to build your chops, get your groove on, master your instrument. As the legend goes, in 1937, when he was only 17 years old, young Charlie Parker – before he became the great “Bird” Parker – would go down to the…

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Day-glo 80’s ski tricks, Border Smashers, and Dinner Rolls

Before Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile, a group of runners had been working on it for a decade and many, including scientists, considered the four minute barrier physically impossible. But once the world saw Roger do it in May of 1954, within weeks his record 3:59 was beaten by John Landy of Australia….

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Turkeys, Flash Freezing and Cafeteria Trays

In late 1953 the Swanson brothers had a glut of turkey.  Swanson were turkey wholesalers and had overestimated the market.  They thought they would make a killing that year on Christmas turkeys sales. Not so much. So now they had 235 metric tons of turkey riding around the U.S. in refrigerated rail cars and the…

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Turn the small screws

Think big! Blue sky! Anything is possible! Let’s build the next iPhone. Or better, let’s disrupt our own business model with a seismic market change, like iTunes. No…wait, like Spotify! This kind of collaborative bluster is akin to throwing a Hail Mary in the waning seconds. Possible, yes. Probable, no. I was reminded of a…

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The risk is in your head

Our twelve year old son walked into the lunchroom at Sugarloaf ski resort a couple weeks ago and said quietly, “I learned how to do a 360.” I said, “Awesome! That’s pretty cool. How did you learn that?” He said he just decided to do it. Within 24 hours our ten year old and his…

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Changing behavior is the new killer app

Innovation is implementing something new, which is realized by another as having value. This isn’t creativity. People can be wonderfully creative over and over until they finally produce an innovation recognized by another person, or a whole community of people, as indeed valuable. Lytro has introduced a real game-changer in the camera market by creating…

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No one can innovate alone

Think of some of the most iconic ancient innovations: the wheel, the arrowhead, pottery. In each case some one knew how to make such a thing, because they were mentored by some one before them knowledgeable in the craft. Each learned a skill which enabled them to replicate a thing of value, hone their skills,…

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Insourcing Innovation

GE is in the process of overhauling design of their signature appliances. And starting to manufacture them in Kentucky instead of Mexico and China. “So a funny thing happened to the GeoSpring (water heater) on the way from the cheap Chinese factory to the expensive Kentucky factory: The material cost went down. The labor required…

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Adequate Performance Gets a Generous Severance Package

“There is no policy requiring clothing, but no one comes to work naked. Lesson: You don’t need policies for everything” Be the market surprise instead of being surprised by the market. Increase the density of talent in your organization faster than the complexity increases around you. In the same way you can’t control the forces…

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