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Why You Don't Brainstorm

When it comes to meetings, brainstorming sessions can be among the most mind-numbing.

All of the negative aspects of bad meetings–hijacking by individuals, politics, group-think, and general time-wasting inefficiency can be magnified by the activity commonly called brainstorming.

We all know that brainstorming is supposed to create ideas, and that creating ideas is generally considered to be good, so brainstorming must be, in a sense, good. Right? Reality proves otherwise.

In a recent post on the Buffer blog entitled "The Psychology Behind Brainstorming: Why It Doesn’t Always Work and 4 Ways

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Innovation and the M Word

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

Quotes on Twitter are popular for retweets, but I have found that these simple words written by Peter Drucker have generated much more than retweets. They also generate meaningful discussion about the "M Word," which is metrics.

Measuring innovation is tricky business, like nailing jello to the wall. There are objective inputs and outputs that can and should be measured. There are also subjective aspects, like mindset and culture, that are more difficult to quantify, but just as important.

An Innovation Lesson From the Nineties

The nineties was the decade of Super Nintendo, Michael Jordan, Nirvana, Ninja Turtles, Bill Clinton, Altavista, and AOL, but not CompuServe. CompuServe, the tech juggernaut of the 80’s had already become a memory of something that once was. How did it happen? They took their foot off the accelerator.

In an illuminating article in GeekWire entitled “The lesson of CompuServe: Never take your foot off the innovation accelerator,”  Jeff Wilkins, CompuServe CEO during the glory days, recounts the sad story.

When AOL was gaining momentum in the nineties, Wilkins felt compelled to tell the current

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Are Innovators Scouts or Pioneers?

The pioneer spirit is highly prized, and rightly so. However, the West was actually won by teamwork, through the combined efforts of scouts, pioneers, and settlers.

Scouts were first, obsessed with identifying opportunities and envisioning new things that could be. Pioneers followed, carving out the basic infrastucture in a hostile environment. Finally, settlers populated the ecosystem to create a flourishing economy in the new world.

In a great article for Medium entitled “Putting the Lie to Corporate Innovation,” John Wolpert describes how innovators are more like scouts than pioneers.

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How Innovative Are You?

How innovative are you?

In a recent article on Inc.com, Val Wright shared a great list of 24 questions to check your Innovation Quotient. Here are her first ten questions:

  1. We create freedom to play and experiment.
  2. Innovation is linked to our long-term business goals.
  3. If there is a good idea, we rapidly fund it with people and dollars.
  4. We are quick to sunset failing projects gracefully.
  5. We recognize speed is sometimes more important than perfection.
  6. New ideas flow between functions, locations, and seniority.
  7. The majority of our energy is spent on customers, products, and profits, not internal
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