David Kwon shared this amazing infographic detailing the history of the wheel. It's a nice follow-on post to mine: The Wheel: A Great Innovation? There are a lot of myths and misperceptions about the wheel and it's impact on society. Read more here:
David Kwon shared this amazing infographic detailing the history of the wheel. It's a nice follow-on post to mine: The Wheel: A Great Innovation? There are a lot of myths and misperceptions about the wheel and it's impact on society. Read more here:
What’s in a name? Perhaps more than we might think, according to researchers at the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem. Most of us are familiar with the dynamic of “judging a book by its cover,” making quick judgments about a person based on initial appearance. But in a recent study led by Dr. Ruth Mayo and Yonat Zwebner, researchers investigated the opposite: can a person’s facial appearance be significantly influenced by their given name? The research suggests, “yes!”
In eight separate studies, independent participants were recruited and shown color headshots of random people. Participants were asked to choose the name of each individual from a list of names provided with each picture. The outcome: time and again observers chose correctly more than not. For example, when looking at a photo and considering four names – Jacob, Dan, Josef, or Nathaniel – participants chose the correct name “Dan” 38% of the time, which is above the 25% chance level for a random guess. Researchers found consistent results when controlling for ethnicity and age. And, even computers surpassed the odds by matching the correct name to a face to a clinically significant degree.
An interesting dynamic that researchers suggest from this study is the existence of shared face-name prototypes. It was remarkable that participants were unable to match names to faces from a culture other than their own, which indicates the possibility that shared face-name prototypes (eg. stereotypes) which are common in various cultures are necessary for the face-name matching effect to happen.
The study also suggests that the dynamic of self-fulfilling prophecy might be at work. Researchers found that participants still chose correctly above the chance level for random guess even when they could only see the participants’ hair style, suggesting that people may choose a hair style according to a stereotype that matches their name.
Though the idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy is not new, researchers believe their contribution is innovative by demonstrating that the way we look is possibly impacted by the social tag we’re given at birth, one’s name. And since this name is given at birth, often before birth and independent from one’s face, researchers find it statistically plausible that the connection between facial appearance and social perception is a two-way street.
Researchers of this study are hopeful that their work will bring increased understanding of the important role social structuring plays in a person’s development. Gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status are all understood social structures that impact a person’s individual formation and identity. But the possibility that a simple choice – the giving of one’s name – might have a significantly greater impact on one’s development than previously imagined is both intriguing, innovative, and worth increasing consideration.
To read more about the study, click here.
A new national study by Pollfish [www.pollfish.com], reveals this year's most coveted brands, products, and restaurants for Valentine's Day 2017. According to the Pollfish Valentine's Day National Survey, the world's leading self-service mobile survey and market research platform, men are 1.6x as likely as women to buy expensive gifts for Valentine's Day. Other notable findings include:
AMERICANS MOST WANT TO BUY EDIBLE GIFTS FOR VALENTINE'S DAY
Q: Which types of products would you like to buy for your significant other on Valentine's Day?
1. Dinner or drinks (58%)
2. Chocolates or candy (54%)
3. Flowers (40%)
4. Greeting cards (38%)
5. Clothing or accessories (31%)
HERSHEY'S IS THE MOST COVETED CHOCOLATE BRAND
Q: Which chocolate brands would you most like to buy for your significant other on Valentine's Day?
1. Hershey's (50%)
2. Dove (40%)
3. Russell Stover (36%)
4. Ghirardelli (34%)
5. Godiva (32%)
ZALES IS THE MOST COVETED JEWELRY STORE
Q: From which store would you most like to buy jewelry for your significant other on Valentine's Day?
1. Zales (37%)
2. Kays (37%)
3. Jared (29%)
4. Pandora (23%)
5. Tiffany & Co (20%)
MEN ARE ALMOST TWICE AS LIKELY AS WOMEN TO BUY EXPENSIVE GIFTS
Men are 1.6x as likely as women to buy expensive Valentine's Day gifts. 55% of men and 33% of women intend to spend $50 or more on their significant other this year.
AMERICANS PREFER TO EAT AT RED LOBSTER
Q: How likely are you to recommend eating at this national chain restaurant for Valentine's Day to a friend or colleague? Net promoter score, aka NPS, measures customer satisfaction and brand perception on a scale of -100 to +100. (A positive, high score means consumers actively recommend the brand; a negative score could mean consumers actively dissuade friends.) The majority of national chain restaurants received a negative NPS, indicating that most Americans might prefer to dine out at an independent restaurant for Valentine's Day.
1. Red Lobster: NPS of 1
2. Olive Garden: NPS of 0
3. Outback Steakhouse: NPS of -1
4. The Cheesecake Factory: NPS of -4
5. TGI Friday's: NPS of -22
In addition to choosing from one of these popular favorites this Valentine's season, you can learn creative gift ideas for that special someone via my interview on Fox 19 HERE.
If you're interested in learning more about branding fundamentals, please see my online course through Lynda.com.
There are various schools of thought about how to learn creativity. One approach is to study the functioning of the brain. The psychology profession leads the way on researching how your brain generates an idea, and it’s contributed a mountain of knowledge about it. These scientists conduct rigorous experiments to see how different conditions affect a person’s creative output. But there is still so much to learn about the brain.
Another school of thought is to study successful innovators like Thomas Edison and Steven Jobs. What is it that they do they made them so successful? What if you could replicate these great minds to generate your own successful ideas?
Now it’s an intriguing concept at first. Do what Steve Jobs did. Behave like Ben Franklin who was a prolific inventor. The problem for me is we have very little documentation about their methods. I’m not even sure they knew specifically what they did to generate ideas. And if you read biographies about these inventors, you would sense their lives were a bit quirky and chaotic. I don’t think that’s what creativity is all about. It’s anything but quirky.
So what does that leave you with? Well, you could read a lot of books about creativity and innovation. There’s a ton of them, and more keep coming out every week, so it seems. The problem is when I look at these books - and I review them all - I immediately search to see what part of the book discusses the cognitive method to produce an idea. Sadly, most books don’t address it, and if they do, they’re usually suggesting some form of brainstorming, which has been proven not to work!
Is it hopeless? Fortunately not. What if, instead of studying the human brain, instead of copying the behaviors of famous inventors, we looked at something else - we looked at the output of the brain, from all innovators, not just famous ones. What would it tell us?
You’ve heard the term - Voice of the Customer. Imagine if we had a way to listen to the Voice of the Product. Consider an ordinary chair. Chairs have been around a very long time. What if you could interview this chair and learn its secrets - how it was invented and how it evolved over many millenniums?
Well that’s exactly what my friend and co-author, Dr. Jacob Goldenberg, did for his PhD research. He studied highly innovative products, initially to see what made them different from one another. What he found instead is that highly innovative products have more in common with one another. They tend to follow a set of patterns, and these patterns are like the DNA of a product or service that can be reapplied to any situation to generate a creative idea based on that pattern.
For me, using tried and true patterns is the most effective way to increase my creative potential, better than anything else I’ve tried - which is just about everything.
Apple’s successful launch of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus leaves people wondering if the superstar company has lost its innovative edge. The market is anxious for Apple’s next big instead of incremental improvements to existing products.
I don't believe Apple has lost its way. I say that not based on what they have or haven’t launched, but rather based on the methods they use to create new innovations. Apple is a prolific user of innovation templates, and these templates predict success.
Why are templates (or patterns) so important? For thousands of years, every day innovators have used templates in their inventions, usually without realizing. In doing so, these patterns are embedded into the products and services you see around you everyday. Think of the patterns as the DNA of a product or service. These patterns can be reapplied to anything to yield an innovative result, and this is exactly what Apple has been doing from the beginning…and will continue to do so.
These patterns were described by my co-author, Dr. Jacob Goldenberg, in his now famous research paper1, "The Voice of the Product: Templates of New Product Emergence." His research proved that highly innovative products that succeeded in the market tend to follow one of five patterns, while highly innovative unsuccessful products tend not to. In other words, using patterns gives a company a tremendous edge in innovation.
Apple has it. Let’s consider some examples.
Defying all logic, Apple took out the calling feature of its popular iPhone to create the iTouch and it sold sixty million of them. This is a classic example of the Subtraction pattern.
Apple created apps and a way for iPhone users to create their own apps and distribute them through iTunes. Using the wisdom of crowds is what we call the Task Unification pattern.
Apple launched its first iPod after seven other competitors were in the market with superior MP3 players. It was a huge success because of its simplicity and design. Then Apple subtracted the LCD display. This simplistic innovation let to the highly successful iPod Shuffle. It subtracted a component thought to be essential by the rest of the industry. It kept the rest of the product “as is” without replacing it. In doing so, it sent a powerful message to consumers: that the shuffle function was easier and more fun to use than the MP3 players crammed with features.
Apple launched the second-generation iPod Shuffle in 2006. That also proved an enormous success. The company targeted ordinary iPod owners who wanted a second, less expensive player that was “jaw droppingly small,” according to Amazon. They also believed that the Shuffle’s price and simplicity would attract new users to the Apple brand. Eventually these consumers might make a more dedicated leap to Apple products and purchase a more complex iPod or even a Macintosh computer. Indeed, many iPhone adopters came from the base of customers using the iPod. A study of iPod Shuffle users confirmed the perception of the iPod as unique and innovative. A simple subtraction of a component thought to be essential took the technology backward and moved music enjoyment forward—and changed the music-playing device world forever.
Listen to the voice of nearly Apple product and you will find all five patterns hiding within. Take the IPhone 7’s without the headphone jack. Sound familiar?
Now, that’s innovation.
1Goldenberg, Jacob and David Mazursky. "The Voice of the Product: Templates of New Product Emergence". Creativity and Innovation Management September 1999: 157-164.
A SIMPLE FORMULA AND SET OF TOOLS FOR FACING AND EMBRACING DISRUPTION AND RADICAL CHANGE
Technology, globalization, economic shifts, geopolitical shocks, and, yes, management thought leaders over the past 30 years have set in motion a continuous onslaught of radical, discontinuous change in the global business environment that will not abate anytime soon. In fact, worldwide economic turmoil will most likely only increase in the future. Is it possible for existing businesses to survive, let alone thrive, in this turbulence? Authors Shane Cragun and Kate Sweetman say “yes” – if you as a leader are prepared to look more inquisitively, even positively, at the global shockwaves that might impact you, and prepare your organizations and the people in them to remove self-imposed blindfolds and proactively seize the opportunity to improve performance in these revolutionary times.
In Cragun and Sweetman's upcoming book, Reinvention: Accelerating Results in the Age of Disruption [Greenleaf Book Group Press, July 2016], the authors propose a simple formula, common principles, and set of tools for individuals and organizations facing disruptive and radical change. Reinvention is supported by the authors’ combined 50 years of experience working with executives, organizations, and teams around the globe. Cragun and Sweetman are the leading global experts on the new competency of Reinvention — the ability to create ‘quantum individual and organizational change accelerated.’
“The ability to pivot quickly, profoundly, and effectively might be the most important core competency for individuals and organizations to acquire who hope to prosper in the new economy,” says Cragun. “It’s no longer enough to change when you have to. Leaders must change before they have to, and they must enable their organization to surf the incoming global shockwaves with intelligence, agility, strength, and command.”
“When they do, leaders and organizations can actually accelerate performance,” adds Sweetman. “When they don’t, they will no doubt begin down the path of irrelevance that ultimately leads to failure. It’s vital that leaders understand that success in the age of disruption requires significant shifts in world views, approaches, skills and behaviors.”
Reinvention uses compelling and eclectic stories and cases from around the globe over the past 100 years to reinforce key learnings: from polar explorations, village microcredit innovations, defiance in the war on terror, all the way to global politics and big business. Each chapter ends with practical insights from an assortment of global experts from the six corners of the world.
Reinvention also thoroughly examines: •
* trademark of SweetmanCragun
Shane Cragun is a founding partner at SweetmanCragun, a global management consulting, training, and coaching firm. His passion is creating high performance excellence at the individual, team, organizational, and societal levels around the globe. Cragun has worked as an internal change agent within a Fortune 500 High Tech Firm, a line executive at FranklinCovey, and a global external management consultant. His projects have received prizes in the areas of leadership and change. He recently co-authored the Employee Engagement Mindset published by McGraw-Hill, has presented a TEDx talk in Silicon Valley, spoken at business conferences worldwide, and was featured in Open Computing magazine.
Kate Sweetman is a founding partner at SweetmanCragun. Sweetman was listed as an Emerging Guru with Thinkers50, and is co-author of the bestselling business book, The Leadership Code published by Harvard Business Press. Her first-hand experience with world leaders, Fortune 100 organizations, and Asian multi-nationals provides a substantial foundation for insights that extend beyond borders. A former editor at Harvard Business Review, she has been published in HBR, Sloan Management Review, Boston Globe, and the Times of India, and has appeared on CNBC in the U.S. and India. She is also a coach and visiting lecturer at MIT’s Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship. For more information, please visit www.sweetmancragun.com and connect with the authors on LinkedIn and Twitter.
The Task Unification Technique is one of five in the SIT methodology, and it produces remarkable clever ideas - the ones that make you slap your forehead and say, "Gee, why didn't I think of that?"
Task Unification is defined as: assigning an additional task to an existing resource. That resource should be in the immediate vicinity of the problem, or what we call The Closed World. In essence, it's taking something that is already around you and giving an additional job.
Here's a great example of how to find aliens by using a rather resource - the aliens themselves. As reported in the Christian Science Monitor:
A new study suggests that perhaps we should be looking for aliens who are looking for us in the hope of finding each other and communicating.
The idea is to flip our current approach around. NASA's Kepler spacecraft has discovered more than 1,000 exoplanets by watching for the light of a star to dim as an orbiting planet passes by. Scientists now suggest that we target worlds that could use that same method to spot us in a new paper to be published in the journal Astrobiology.
Here's how it would work: Earth can be detected using the same methods from only a small strip of space. The dimming of our Sun as our planet passes by could only be spotted from what's called Earth's "transit zone." And that region boasts some 100,000 potential alien habitats.
So if they're there and they're looking for us, perhaps they've broadcast a signal in an attempt to get in touch with us. And if we listen, we may discover each other.
"The key point of this strategy is that it confines the search area to a very small part of the sky. As a consequence, it might take us less than a human life span to find out whether or not there are extraterrestrial astronomers who have found the Earth. They may have detected Earth’s biogenic atmosphere and started to contact whoever is home," Dr. Heller explained in another press release.
I love this idea because it is using the object of your efforts as the solution. In our book, Inside the Box, we describe a similar innovation on how to get rid of tsetse flies by using male flies that have been sterilized so they can't reproduce. Eventually, the whole colony disappears.
To get the most out of the Task Unification technique, you follow five basic steps:
1. List all of the components, both internal and external, that are part of the Closed World of the product, service, or process.
2. Select a component from the list. Assign it an additional task, using one of three methods:
3. Visualize the new (or changed) products or services.
4. What are the potential benefits, markets, and values? Who would want this, and why would they find it valuable? If you are trying to solve a specific problem, how can it help address that particular challenge?
5. If you decide the new product or service is valuable, then ask: Is it feasible? Can you actually create these new products? Perform these new services? Why or why not? Is there any way to refine or adapt the idea to make it viable?
People who believe that the wheel is the greatest invention ever assume two things: That it was wholly new when it was invented, and that is was so wonderful that people adopted it immediately. Historically, neither is true.
What is true is that three different types of wheels evolved over time, but none of them were as great as sliced bread.
The concept of a wheel emerged a long time ago. Archaeologists uncovered evidence that Olmec children in southern Mexico played with toy dogs on wheels 3000 years ago. But their parents never transferred the wheel idea to carts or wagons. How could anyone who understood the concept of the wheel not have used it for transportation?
Here’s why. Ancient Mexicans lacked domestic animals to hitch to a wheeled vehicle. There was no advantage over human porters. A more important question: Was the wheel such a good idea that building a toy dog on wheels should inevitably have transformed a transportation system?
Evolutionary biologists tell us that modern humans have not improved their basic store of physical or intellectual capacities for 100,000 years. So when we migrated out of Africa to people the globe, we did it without the benefit of wheels. And we kept on walking and carrying the “stuff” that George Carlin would later poke fun at on our backs for the next 90,000+ years. We could divide up our stuff into manageable loads that were light and compact enough to carry. Finally, some 10,000 years later, we started loading some of our stuff onto the backs of animals.
This solution satisfied the transportation needs of most of the world down to the invention of the internal combustion engine, even though by that time some peoples had been using wheeled vehicles for over 5000 years. But carts and wagons weren’t all that common. So long as roads were seas of mud in rainy weather people thought twice about whether to entrust their stuff to a wheeled vehicle.
Wheeled transport is not an obviously good idea. People who insist that it was truly revolutionary ignore the fact that many societies that became aware of wheeled vehicles over the centuries chose not to use them. It took so many other innovations over a long period of time to make the wheel useful.
Richard W. Bulliet is professor of history emeritus at Columbia University and author of "The Wheel: Inventions and Reinventions" (Columbia University Press, January 2016).
Imagine you and your colleagues are sitting at a meeting listening to a proposal from one of your suppliers. It’s an interesting proposal about a new innovation that can help you and your team. You have first rights to the new concept before they shop it around to your competitors.
But something is bothering you. You remember reading a story in the newspaper just last week about a company that tried something new. It invested too much time and money in a new concept. Then their business turned bad, people lost their jobs, and the company went out of business. The local community was devastated. You recall vividly how it ruined many families.
Even though your supplier showed solid evidence for the innovation, you decide to pass on it. They take it to a competitor who scoops it right out from under you.
So what happened? You may have been a victim of a cognitive bias called availability.
The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that occurs when people make judgments about the probability of events by how easy it is to think of examples. The availability heuristic operates on the notion that, "if you can think of it, it must be important."
Using the availability heuristic, people judge the probability of events by the ease with which instances could be brought to mind. We believe an event to be more likely to occur if we can think of more examples of that event.
It also has another affect on our judgements. The easier it is to recall the consequences of something, the greater in magnitude we perceive these consequences to be.
We tend to rely heavily on more recent information. We are especially affected by vivid, unusual, or emotionally charged examples. So we make those memories more important, and we make bad decisions based on them.
To avoid availability bias, keep these pointers in mind:
Be wary of things you learn in the media. Just because something is reported in the newspaper does not make the event more likely to occur. In fact, it’s usually just the opposite. The media likes to report things that are bizarre and highly unlikely. Don’t rely on these events as evidence for doing or not doing something.
I know it’s counterintuitive, but you’ll make better decisions and show better judgement if you downplay what you already know about a situation. It goes along with the old saying, “It’s not what you don’t know that will get you; it’s what you know that ain’t so.”
Imagine your marketing team comes up with an idea for a great new product. You absolutely love it. But when you start shopping the idea around the building, you get some very strange looks from people. People are resisting the idea, and you and your team are getting frustrated. Resistance to innovation is a natural phenomena in companies, and it can become a huge challenge unless you manage it correctly.
Why do people resist new ideas? As you’ll see in a minute, there are lots of reasons. But before I dive into them, let’s first understand that resistance is necessary. That’s right. Necessary. Here’s why.
First, innovation and resistance cannot be separated. In a real sense, they help define each other. After all, something’s not really innovative unless it meets with at least some resistance. Think of resistance as a gatekeeper. All adoption of new ideas starts with resistance, and think of resistance as an important filter to get to the best ideas.
That said, it must be addressed if progress is to happen. You, as the leader, have two important roles to play. First, see yourself as a Resistance Maker. When new ideas are brought to you, it’s okay to question it, bring up challenges, and so on. But you also have to serve as a Resistance Breaker, someone who works within the company to knock down the barriers and cause adoption of the new idea. Let’s understand the sources of innovation.
Resistance comes from three domains: characteristics of the innovation itself, characteristics of the resistor/adopter, and characteristics of the innovator, meaning you or the person selling the idea.
By characteristics of the innovation, I mean the factors of the idea itself that make people resist it. For example, what value does it bring, how risky is the idea, how compatible it is with your current products and services? Can the idea be tested, preferably in stages, and can we back out it if needed? How complex is the idea, and can it be communicated clearly? Sometimes people resist ideas because they just don’t get it. Finally, is there flexibility to change the idea, how long will it take to realize the benefits, and will the idea have some unintended side effects on other projects? In the exercise files for this course, you’ll find a handy checklist and definitions for all of these factors.
Resistance can also arise because of certain personality traits of the resistor/adopter. I call them that because we all start as resistors to a new idea, even if just a tiny bit before adopting it.
These traits include how much they perceive the benefits and risks, how motivated they are to change, and their attitude and experience with previous innovations. If they had a bad experience with the last idea, they’re going to be more resistant to the next one. Another trait that can affect how reistive they are is their own ability to generate highly creative ideas. The poorer they are at innovating, the less likely they’ll be open to new ideas.
Resistance can also arise depending on who you are as the person selling the idea. If you’re seen as credible and as someone who explains ideas clearly and informatively, you’ll meet with less resistance.
Your job as the Resistance Breaker is to understand the strongest sources of resistance and to find ways to lower the effect. Don’t try to tackle every source, just the ones that matter and that can be changed. If you do, you’ll find that next great idea winning in the marketplace.
To learn more, read Resistance to Innovation: It's Sources and Manifestations (University of Chicago Press, 2015) by Shaul Oreg and Jacob Goldenberg