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  • Hand with marker writing the word Time For Something New

“Consistency” is the Hobgoblin of Little Minds….

As Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his famous 1841 essay on Self Reliance “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day” Dr. Deming said it in a similar way when challenged to defend why he had changed is views versus a year before; “I will never apologize for learning.” Sadly - in today’s world - instead of never ending learning and innovation - we embrace a world of “DECLARE & DEFEND.”  To change is to show weakness - to be a flip flopper - to not have conviction. All great successes that I’ve been a part of or observed involved never ending innovation from raw strategic direction - through idea generation and development to market.  And it doesn’t stop there - great leaders pivot and adapt their innovations even after they’ve shipped.  Great leaders know that anything they have created can be made [...]

By |May 2nd, 2016|1 Comment
  • Light bulb with human brain, big idea concept, vector

How to create a culture that does Cool S@!T that Matters

Apologies in advance for the length - I think you'll find it worth the read :)   Two days ago I received an e-mail from Walter Werner a Deming Master who used to work for my father at Nashua Corporation. The e-mail was in response to an on-going discussion we've been having on how to bring system thinking to organizations today. The "ideal" approach to culture change is leadership driven.   However, today just as it was in 1980, many leaders find it difficult to lead the transformation.   It's easy to "whine" about leadership not leading the transformation.  However, I and the  Innovation Engineering Movement have a strict no whining policy.  Instead to phrase Admiral Peary, discoverer of the North Pole "we shall find a way or make a way." Walter's note sets up the situation well.   Following it - I outline our current best thinking on how to create cultural success in today's world.   With some gentle editing for length and context to the community…Walter wrote Doug, This idea has rattled around in my head for a couple days now. I don't know if it will help you or just give you something more to think about. I am troubled by a [...]

By |March 29th, 2016|3 Comments
  • Silhouette man evolution

The SECRET: System Evolution not Revolution

Key Message:   System Driven Innovation requires never ending innovation in our internal systems for strategic alignment, phase gate, collaboration, rapid research and patenting.  HOWEVER - it’s easier to find the time and energy to invent a breakthrough innovation then it is to get an investment in system improvements. THE SECRET to system innovation is to do it through EVOLUTION not REVOLUTION.  This insight has come to me over the past month as I worked on the 3.0 version of the fourth Innovation Engineering course on campus - System Driven Leadership. It was reinforced yesterday in an email from Walter Werner, Deming Master.   The italics are his words… A simple statement of our purpose would be work smarter not harder. If an organization is not constantly working to make its systems more efficient then they will become less efficient over time.   Eventually work/problems/fire fighting moves up the organizational ladder at least two levels higher than it/they should. Now no one can get their own work done because they are too busy doing someone else's work.  The challenge we collectively face is that our human systems for innovation are wasteful and inefficient.  Quantitative assessments of the systems for innovation [...]

By |March 23rd, 2016|1 Comment
  • hand- drawn lettering

The older I get the more I value every moment

The older I get the more I value every moment. Every idea that comes to my mind. Every hour I spend teaching someone. Every meeting I spend where something wonderful is developed or decided. The older I get the less patience I have with meaningless  blah, blah, blah We are on this earth for a very short time.  It's our responsibility to ourselves and the communities we are a part of to make a difference that matters with every moment. Valuing each moment requires us to confront reality with an optimistic mindset.  As Helen Keller said "No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the starts, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a heaven to the human spirit." Hmmm... confronting reality usually has a tinge of negativity and destruction. Optimistically Confronting Reality means you are being "realistically idealistic." It's about believing that you can make a difference and take actions on making it happen. It's about believing in the good of others and encouraging them. It's about believing in the power of never ending learning. No matter how much we think we know :) As I've written before... Realistically Idealistic -  a dreamer who does Realistically Idealistic -  a believer that tomorrow can be better Realistically [...]

By |March 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

Celebrating 30 Years + Special Offer

This week marks 30 years since I sat down with Tim Riker and incorporated Eureka! Ranch.    In the beginning the company was called Richard Saunders International - in honor of Ben Franklin’s pen name when he wrote Poor Richard’s Almanac.   Our initial office and the location for Eureka! Sessions was the basement of our home.   Our funding source was three credit cards plus my wife working double shifts at the hospital.   People often ask did you have any idea it would turn out as it has?  The honest answer is no and yes.  No I could not have imagined what a ride it's been.   But YES  I always felt that wonderful things would happen if we believed in the power of never ending learning (stimulus), learning from others (diversity) and rapid experimentation (drive out fear). This weekend I reflected on the journey.   Among my reflections… • SURPRISE - My overwhelming feeling is one of surprise that it’s been 30 years.  It definitely doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.  I guess that’s what happens when you are immersed in something that you really love.  It just doesn’t feel like work.  Time stands still.  Life is good. [...]

By |March 14th, 2016|2 Comments
  • hans christian andersen

Innovation Requires You to Expose “Nakedness”

In Hans Christian Andersen’s classic short story - “The Emperor’s New Clothes” a vain emperor is hoodwinked by those working for him to believe that his new suit of clothes are made from a fabric that is invisible to anyone who is “hopelessly stupid.” Everyone in the community plays along until an honest child blurts out the truth - setting off a chain reaction of awareness.  As Jack Zipes wrote, “Sight becomes insight, which, in turn, prompts action.” It’s the same with Innovation. At it’s most basic - Innovation is change. And change requires someone to have the energy to speak up and declare that the existing way is not right.  Change also requires courage  - because when you speak up there is always the chance that you will be marked as “hopelessly stupid.” We all become the Emperor when we don’t confront the realities around us. - When we don’t say something when we know an idea we are working on is wrong. - When we accept stupid rules that prevent us from innovating. - When we don’t speak truth because we are concerned about what others will think It’s time to speak up and Expose Nakedness! The good [...]

By |March 4th, 2016|2 Comments

How Millennials are Making me a MUCH Smarter Innovator

As a System Driven Innovator I am on a relentless personal quest for ways to get smarter.    This past week I have had two experiences where Millennials made me smarter - and in the process shifted my mindset on how to amplify by customer insight mining effectiveness. Experience 1:  Baby Boomer InterAct Session:   InterAct is an Innovation Engineering system of gaining feedback from possible customers/consumers.  It's like focus groups on steroids with four simultaneous groups - in the same room - fed with tons of stimulus.  The goal is to create a deep discussion of positives and negatives so to help the team think smarter about new ideas.   The process helps avoid the issues of confirmation bias, yea sayer, etc. that are known to occur in focus groups. Over the past few months I have done nearly a dozen InterAct sessions with Millennials with 4 different clients.  Last week was my first session with Baby Boomers in quite a while.  The differences between Boomers and Millennials was  immense.   Boomers gave prudent answers.  Practical, reliable and surface deep.  In contrast, Millennials were thinking, bold, brave, articulate and deep thinking.   With Boomers you could feel peer pressure influencing comments.  In contrast, Millennials had no problems being in conflict with the [...]

By |February 15th, 2016|1 Comment
  • goldfish jumping out of the water

LEAP Innovations are what ignite most CORE innovations

  In the innovation academic discipline ideas are often separated into two kinds.   They go by different names.  In Innovation Engineering we use descriptive terms calling the disruptive ideas "leap innovations" and the incremental ideas "core innovations." Research finds that for a balanced portfolio 85% of projects should be core innovations and 15% leap.  However, it also notes that 50% of profit growth comes from leap innovations. Recently I've been reading Thomas Kuhn's classic book  The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  In the book he makes the point (my words not his) - that most "core" innovations are driven by the step changes caused by "leap" innovations.  From the book... Few people whoa re not actually practitioners of mature science realize how much mop-up work of this sort a paradigm (leap) leaves to be done....Mopping-up operations (core) are what engage most scientists throughout their careers.  They constitute what I am here calling normal science.    No part of the aim of normal science is to call forth new sorts of phenomena; indeed those that will not fit the box are often not seen at all.  Nor do scientists normally aim to invent new theories, and they are often intolerant of those invented by others.  Instead, [...]

By |February 9th, 2016|0 Comments
  • The New World Requires a New Leadership Approach

ACCELERATE – Ideas to Market Faster & With Less Risk – Free Webinar

Free Webinar - ACCELERATE - Ideas to Market Faster & With Less Risk This month's Brain Brew University webinar will teach the latest learning on how to organize your innovation work so to increase speed to market and decrease risk. This is based on the latest version of Innovation Engineering skills 25 and 26 as taught at Universities and at Innovation College Executive Programs. It is grounded in best practices based on analysis of over $11 billion in innovations. The webinar is this THURSDAY - January 14 at 11:00 AM EST. It is open to the public. To register for the webinar ACCELERATE - Ideas to Market Faster & With Less Risk on Go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2523493906643445249 After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. See you then   doug

By |January 11th, 2016|0 Comments

The reason I am hopeful about the future.

Friends, In a world of war, chaos, political theater, summer temperatures in December.... I am hopeful for the future. I'm hopeful because over the past year as I've taught Innovation Engineering on campus and off  around the world I've observed that   a spirit... a spirit of good, of discovery, of innovation. This spirit is driven by a curiosity to define, discover, develop and deliver innovations that make a meaningful difference to our organizations, ourselves and our world. The curiosity is enabled through the wonders of science. In April 2015, the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson accepted the National Academy of Science's most prestigious award. His brilliant acceptance speech makes the argument for ensuring that science plays a big role in policymaking. Inspired by the short and eloquent Gettysburg Address, Dr. Tyson makes his case in just 272 words.   It's just  over three minutes... enjoy! You can see by clicking here.  Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Years to All Doug  

By |December 23rd, 2015|3 Comments