Category Archives: Personal Innovation Skills

Boosting Personal Innovation Capacity – Iterate

Iteration is not just about improving products and services and customer intelligence and profitability—as important as those things are. It’s about improving our thinking. What most distinguishes highly successful innovators from those who struggle, is their skill at systematically revising their own mental models—at iterating what’s happening inside their heads. Continue reading

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The Innovator’s Secret Weapon – Empathy Part 2

How good are you at putting yourself into someone else’s shoes? When you have an innovative idea, it’s your responsibility to enable them to “get it.” It’s your challenge. And if you don’t have the empathy and the patience to help others see what you see, then you will likely fail to win the support you need… Continue reading

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The Innovator’s Secret Weapon – Empathy

The ability to see things through your customers’ eyes is definitely not something everyone can do. Some, like Steve Jobs, have been quite good at it. Others, like Netflix, completely missed the mark. How well do you really understand and empathize with your customers? How do you know? Continue reading

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Ten Lessons Innovators Can Learn from Fishers

For fishers and innovators, the critical capability isn’t knowing how to fish or having all the answers; it’s knowing how to go about finding the fish and discovering the answers we need. There are a number of important lessons about innovation that can be taken from fishing. Continuing my last post…

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Innovation Essentials: A Fishing Analogy

Permit me to draw an analogy between fishing and innovation, one that I think provides some important insights. We’ve all heard the old saw about giving someone a fish versus teaching them to fish. But there’s an added level of expertise that goes beyond teaching someone to fish—and it’s the same kind of expertise that innovation requires.
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An Innovation Lesson From American Idol

Singing is one of those skills that is difficult to evaluate in ourselves. We rely on feedback from others to determine how we’re doing. (Think of American Idol.) The personal capacity to innovate is a lot like that. It’s difficult to gain an accurate sense of our own creativity or analytical skills or insight. How often have you seen people either discount their creativity or exaggerate it? It’s quite common…and not just in singing competitions. Continue reading

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The Universal Challenge of Entrepreneurs and Innovators

Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, “There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new order of things.” He was talking about politics and government but it applies equally well to any new venture. It is the universal experience of everyone who has ever tried: It’s not going to go exactly like you think it will. You will have to make adjustments. Continue reading

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Creating an Innovation Mindset – It’s All About the Assumptions

We don’t yet understand the inner workings of our brains well enough to guide the prescribe of innovation processes and techniques. But we do understand what attitudes, assumptions and beliefs are productive and counterproductive. And that may be even more useful. Continue reading

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Innovation Requires Mass Customization – of Ourselves

We hear a lot these days about mass customization as a consumer trend, about how technology now allows us to mass produce products that are customized to the needs and desires of individual consumers. So, why stop with consumer products? To fuel innovation, we need to be talking about mass customization…of people. Continue reading

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Innovation Essentials: Knowledge as Answers or Possibilities?

What’s your personal theory of knowledge? Is it something that gives you answers or possibilities? Of course, the short answer is, “Yes.” But if you had to choose, if you had to state a preference, I suspect you could, and for many it would be: answers. Not that most of us have given this a great deal of thought. It’s what’s known as an implicit theory, a largely subconscious belief, but one that nonetheless impacts how we think and behave—and how well we innovate. Continue reading

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