The Fun Factor: Why Having Fun is a Measure of Team Health

Picture this: An entire third-shift maintenance crew waxing floors and dancing to country music at one in the morning. After a week of grueling hours to solve a technical problem at a remote site, improvising a “rodeo” to chase the rats out of the basement with brooms in the middle of the night. Engineers riding […]

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How Multiple Time Zones Kill Innovation

When I first began running large-scale programs for a global organization, I quickly found out that multiple time zones created an enormous strain on the team. If you are in the central US, here’s what your day might look like:  a 4 A.M. wake-up call to check in with your Asian team at the end […]

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Why Setting Limits Unlocks Unlimited Innovation

In 1988, when Chrysler president Bob Lutz tasked design chief Tom Gale to create a version of the Ford Cobra, he gave the production team a charter consisting of these three parameters: A $50 million budget 36 months to get it to production (in time for the ’92 Detroit show) “Be ethical, moral, and don’t […]

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6 Reasons Innovation Magic Happens in the Garage

Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google and Hewlett Packard all started in one.  The garage is a uniquely American icon and metaphor – and it has happened too many times to ignore. Some of my earliest experiences in design, innovation, materials and fabrication occurred in the family garage under the mentorship of my father and uncles.  Between […]

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How to Create a Growth Magnet

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland When I’m working with clients on how to find the growth plan for their business, I first help them step outside of their organization to see the entire landscape that’s available to them so that […]

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Transportation: The Intersection of Disruption and Opportunity

The funding model of our roads and other transit infrastructure is broken — what happens now? Background: An unexpected side effect of increased fuel efficiency and fewer miles driven in personal vehicles is that the government is collecting (much!) less fuel tax revenue — withering the coffers at state and federal levels. This means that […]

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Getting Innovation Done: 4 Essentials

Last week, we talked about how small, medium and large firms differed in their challenges and approaches to innovation.  This week, I want to give you four key elements that must be present for success – regardless of what size firm you are in. 1) Line of Sight In his book Great by Choice, Jim […]

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Small, Medium, Large: What Size Innovation Problem Do You Have?

When I began consulting, my clients were primarily innovators within mid-size organizations. Frequently, I’m drawn into discussions with small and large firms, as well.  These consultations have been fascinating lessons in the different approaches to innovation and which approach best fits with which size and stage of business. In any economy, investable organizations are the […]

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When #3 Is the Best Place to Be

I have written a great deal about technology breakout programs here, but today I want to talk about breakout marketing.  Let’s take a look at how smart positioning is helping one automotive company gain on its competitors. Automotive brands occupy some of the highest-priced brand real estate in the market. Billions are poured into strategy […]

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Why Every Breakthrough Idea Needs a Raft

Imagine this: you’ve just left your boss’ office and you were given the ball on a major, new, cross-functional project. You are buzzing with ideas about who you need, what you need, and the time and effort it’s going to take. The question running through your mind in those moments is, “what should I do […]

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