Fast-track New Product Success

13564845_sHow can you come up with innovative ideas that customers will love, even when what they say they want isn’t what they want at all?

Here are three tips: [Read more...]

People Think in Pictures – So Should Your Business

600px-Yes_checkHumans are wired for stories – we tell them, love to hear and read them, and look for them in the chaos of the world to feel a sense of order. We communicate these stories by drawing pictures with language and most directly, with images themselves – from cave paintings to family photos, scribbles, scrapbooks, videos, to Pinterest boards – communicating through pictograms is a cultural habit that is near universal.

Images are symbolic of our lives and our culture. Anytime we as marketers can use them we convey so much more than we could have had we depended solely on words. Pictures also help businesses engage customers because an image is an oasis, a moment of relief from the bombardment of all the “noise” in the marketplace. Using icons in your product packaging and sales materials is a secret weapon. [Read more...]

Someone Else Made It: You Monetize It

Wheel_invention-299x300No new invention is completely original and everything stands on the shoulders of what has come before. Why try to come up with an original idea when someone else has already done the hard work for you? Is there a product or process from another industry that you can make disruptive in your market?

Francois Hennebique needed a stronger building material than concrete. While attending the Paris Exhibition of 1867, he found an exhibit for concrete flowerpots that contained a metal mesh. The need for reinforced concrete in the building industry, which made skyscrapers possible, had already been invented in the gardening context by Joseph Monier. [Read more...]

Let’s Just Not Do That Anymore

105.04.RedThreadThinking_normalIf companies want to innovate the way successful bold newcomers have, they have to unplug
from the constraints of “That’s the way we’ve always done it” and recharge, starting with the
mantra, “Let’s just not do that anymore.” They need to be willing to take market risks that more
traditional companies are often unwilling or unable to take.

It’s surprising that we repeat things in business even when we don’t get the results we want,
but we’re creatures of habit and old habits are hard to break. Changing a routine takes time and
thought out of our busy work lives and there is a risk in trying something new. Even something
that is simple and accessible and that has an obvious benefit doesn’t always go over right away.
It took almost 200 years for the British Navy to give all its sailors citrus to prevent scurvy even
though it had been demonstrated several times during those years that it was an effective cure. [Read more...]

A Better Brand Playbook for Social Media

On the average a consumer spends 5,840 hours per year using a mobile phone while time spent watching television is only 1,865 hours per year. With people engrossed in this miniature small screen world, it’s surprising so little attention is paid to the human meanings of the tech devices themselves and the profound meanings of their daily use. Constant flows of information automate and streamline lives via our mobile universe. [Read more...]

Be on a Creative Roll with Zig Zag, Keith Sawyer’s New Book

As Strunk and White’s Elements of Style classic manual conveys the principles of English style with wit and charm so that we all become better writers, so too Keith Sawyer’s new book, Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity, gives practical techniques to help everyone be more creative. With simplicity and warmth, Sawyer guides the reader through every possible way to expand thinking, completely reducing the apprehension someone might feel because he doesn’t even recognize what the problem is. To be referenced regularly, Zig Zag will have you brimming with a vast array of creative solutions to approach many different life situations. [Read more...]

Anarcho-innovation – Staying Ahead of the Curve

The controlled chaos of Red Thread Thinking may be the best way for companies to innovate effectively – and efficiently.

IBM talked to more than 1500 CEOs from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, and learned that by an overwhelming margin they believed that innovative thinking more than anything else was the key to successfully navigating an increasingly complex world — and keeping their businesses ahead of the curve. [Read more...]

Big Business Eyes Small Makers as Path to Economic Growth: Walmart Is the Conduit

I am a board member of Count Me In, a non-profit that helps women-owned businesses succeed, and was fortunate to be part of an exclusive one-day session this month to help small business entrepreneurs learn what it takes to really scale up. The goal: to get five or six of these companies selling their wares to Walmart. [Read more...]

Passion and Persistence Drive Successful Entrepreneurship

Look at the most successful entrepreneurs you know and you’ll likely discover the overriding traits of passion and persistence. Winners have a deep passion for what they are doing and keep at it until they achieve their goals. This inner drive, rather than the desire to make money, is a critical component of their success. Think of Edison, Jobs, Dell, Hewlett and Packard, who all started out simply doing something they felt compelled to do. They persisted in looking everywhere for solutions to their challenges.
[Read more...]

That Great Mind Is Yours

What does it take to be a rapid-fire idea generator and solve problems in unique ways? A lot less then you think. It’s really about being open and having a positive attitude.

Thought is about making new combinations from existing elements.  So being a great observer and looking at life with a positive, curious mind are really what it takes to enable great ideas to pop into your head.  Openness and positivity mean that the next time a burr sticks to your sweater, instead of saying, “Uh-oh, a burr,” and discarding it, you might say, “Oh, a burr…look how it sticks….that’s useful,” and then go on to invent Velcro.  In the first and more common instance, the reaction focuses on the object’s typical function and its annoying or negative implications (the sweater has a pull in it).  The second reaction focuses on the possibilities of the function beyond the sweater.

[Read more...]