Why Meditation Stimulates Creative Thinking

Meditation ManA growing body of research documents the powerful impact meditation has on the brain: it literally changes our minds—for the better.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found that people who meditate for about 30 minutes a day for eight weeks have measurable changes in gray-matter density in parts of the brain associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. MRI brain scans taken before and after participation in the study show increased gray matter in the hippocampus, an area that is important for learning and memory. The images also showed a reduction of gray matter in the amygdala, a region that is connected to anxiety and stress. [Read more...]

Remember the F-Words to Capture Consumers’ Affection

Last summer, when Jane Janovsky of South Hadley, Massachusetts and a friend found themselves with buckets of blueberries, they made blueberry lemonade. When that didn’t empty the buckets, the pair took to their kettles and began turning out blueberry preserves that literally became the talk of the town when a local diner added the sweet treat to its menu. Jane saw the potential for a new business and she ran with it. Today Just Jane’s Artisan Preserves turns out some seventeen varieties of preserves, jams and spread. [Read more...]

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...]

Profit from Sustainability

17019320_sThere are different meanings for the concept of sustainable growth. In one sense, it is synonymous with sustainable development; in other words, it is a pattern of economic growth in which resources are not depleted and the environment is preserved to meet the needs of not only the present, but the future as well. Sustainable growth also has a financial meaning for business. In simple terms, it is the realistically attainable growth that a company can maintain without running into problems. Unfortunately, as we have seen recently in many economies, conflicts may arise if an organization’s growth objectives are not consistent with the value of its sustainable growth. [Read more...]

3 Ways to Predict Consumer Desires

heart-clipart-2Understanding your customer is critical to your business. But what may surprise you is that there is a lot you can do on your own without the need for expensive research. You and all members of your team can develop skills to find out how consumers truly engage with your business and why they go back to it. Understanding your consumers’ context can go a long way to perceiving what they will want to buy next – even before they realize it. Here are ways to find your consumer’s future: [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...]

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...]