Archived Blog Posts

2020  VS.  1986

2020 has me thinking on how things have changed in the 34 years since I founded the Eureka! Ranch.
In 1986 Consumer Products were the thought leaders of innovation and the focus was on creating line extensions, category segmentations and gurus.
In 2020 the thought leaders are more varied with industrial, medical, CBD/THC, services, internet, artificial intelligence, and banking all focused on innovation.
TODAY there is a focus on BIGGER, BOLDER, PATENTABLE WOW Innovations.
Leaders are looking for meaningfully unique innovations that enable them to change the profitability of their industry and or their business model.    It’s the time of Capital “I” Inventing instead of small “i” incremental changes.  
TODAY there is an urgency for Systems for ACCELERATING Ideas to Market
Having focused on the “front end” of innovation – executives are frustrated with how long it takes to get ideas to market.
Leaders are tired of renting an “Innovation Guru.” They are asking for coaching, education and tools to enable their people to think faster, smarter and more innovatively.   To support this we’ve rebuilt our curriculum and tools to work for all levels of employees through independent Apps or the companies existing LMS Platform. 

“911   Emergency”   Innovation   Speed

Real life event last Thursday.   It started with an early morning call with a client in Europe.   She had an emergency need for ideas and Market Research Data Today. 
Completed inventing session with another client at 1:00 pm. 
During the drive to the Airport organized experts and testing resources.

2- 4:pm:  Wrote Six Concepts with ideas and advice from Experts

4pm: Designed questionnaire using advanced Innovation Engineering Rapid Test System

4:15pm: Uploaded concepts for Testing

4:30pm: Test in the field and headed to gate to get on plane back to Cincinnati

7:30pm: Plane landed. Test is complete. Opened computer in car (someone else was driving) and reviewed test results from 400 base equivalent test.   Outstanding scores.  Started draft of report

8:15pm: Home.  Hugged wife and enjoyed a Cocktail with her – mine was an Embassy made with our Old Dexter Whiskey 🙂

9:15pm: Finished final report

9:45pm: Emailed final report to client in Europe to review when she wakes up

6:00 am email from client – “WOW this is so helpful.”   Client does meeting to present findings

All good

This my friends in what we mean when we say increased innovation speed and decreased risk

If you have an innovation, marketing, product concept and or testing emergency give us a call.  24/7 we can get it resolved.
IMPORTANTLY – this is not a random event – YOU CAN AQUIRE the SKILLS AND TOOLS to work at this speed all the time. 

Giving  Thanks  for  tastes  & Smells

This morning as I exercised my mind wandered to a dear friend Scott Macaulay – who passed away from cancer way to soon.   In his last year of life he spent time really noticing smells, tastes, sights and sounds.   I remember him commenting on the aroma and flavor of a cocktail sauce we were putting on some fresh Prince Edward Island Oysters.  

A Millenial in Athens Greece Opened my eyes this week

The past few days I’ve had the honor of speaking at the Singularity University event in Greece.  Greece’s role in the creation of democracy is well known.  It gave power to the people. 
After one of my talks a young lady came up to me and said “I’m seeing a difference in your approach versus others. Most business people believe that company success comes when the workers engage. Your approach is to enable the workers to be successful with innovation and because the workers are successful the company is successful. The end purpose is the same but your method is the reverse.”
Her words were simple but so insightful.    I suddenly made the connection to what Dr. Deming taught my father back in 1979  “94% of the problem is the system – 6% is the worker”.  

Dr. Deming knew that the foundation of success lay in enabling the works. Today the Innovation Engineering movement enables workers with the training, tools and methods they need to think smarter, faster and more innovatively.
Dr. Deming and Innovation Engineering are about Democratizing thinking.   Countries don’t invent.  Companies don’t invent.  Only the people can invent the kinds of smarter work systems, products and services that are needed to transform the success trajectory of companies.   
This was especially top of mind for me as we are about to announce a transformational change in how we teach and enable employees to think smarter, faster and more innovatively.  To learn more sign up for our 7th annual Global Innovation Engineering conference by clicking here   

It’s Important That Everyone Have Something Important to do

“It’s important that everyone have something important to do.”    

Paul Schurke said this as we embarked on an adventure to recreate Admiral Peary’s Last Dash to the North Pole. As the expedition leader Paul explained that he didn’t want people on the trip who would take unreasonable risks because they had nothing to look forward to.

As is common with Paul there was also a deeper second meaning.   Paul was speaking about the importance of having great aspirations.  Paul dreams big and takes action on those dreams. Others feel exhausted by his energy – he fuels his soul with his adventures.  My trip with him was in 1999 – if you CLICK HERE you can see how he never stops.  

I was reminded of Paul today as I visited Bob Morrison and team at our new Brain Brew Custom WHISKeY distillery at the Windsor & Eton Brewery in Windsor just outside of London UK.  (That’s Bob and I in our small but mighty first packaging facility at our new distillery) During 2019, the year I turned 60 – my team and I have opened a distillery at the Eureka! Ranch and soon in the UK. Today we make products that are in 40 of the 50 US states and we’ve won Double Gold Medals and 95 ratings for our WoodCraft whiskey spirits.

Paul Schurke – changes the world by changing people’s perceptions of themselves and the planet. 

Our Brain Brew Crew changes the world by enabling whiskey to be of the people, by the people and for the people.  Because frankly, everyone deserves their own WHISKeY! And just wait till you see what important things we have planned for 2020! 

So what are you waiting for – as we say with Innovation Engineering – get up, get out and do Cool S#it that Matters!  

Growing a Sustainable Culture of Innovation

Imagine a world where across your 10K person organization you had 1K people innovating in their sphere of influence. They were consciously thinking smarter, faster and more innovatively about their daily tasks.
Research is finding that if you ignite just 10% of your people – you set off unstoppable momentum towards culture change.
If you try to change the culture without first igniting the people – you will fail.
This approach was inspired by conversations with Kevin Cahill – Executive Director of the The W. Edwards Deming Institute. He spoke of the need for enabling everyone. He said, “I believe that every single person, in every single organization, has some sphere of influence they can impact.
Quite simply when you light up the innovators and early adopters across your organization with training, tools and support you set off a chain reaction of growth.
Dr. Deming famously would push executives with his famous challenge, “By What Method” will you accomplish this.
In our case we’re finding 3 things are key to the method of transformation:
Academically sound, reliable and reproducible education,
Tools that enable the TEACHING to be made real, 
Activation & Reactivation of the training & tools till they become a cultural habit.
I’ll be talking more about this as we prepare to release a dramatic upgrade to our system for enabling leaders of teams, divisions, or companies to ignite a sustainable culture of innovation at the 7th Annual Digital Innovation Engineering conference being held on Friday, November 22, 2019 – MARK YOUR CALENDAR!


This past weekend I learned the importance of SELLING INNOVATIONS on profitability.
The scene was the Artisan Market at the Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Festival.  Our Brain Brew Custom WHISKeY team had a booth where we introduced our new Riverboat Collection of Craft Whiskies.   
We faced three solid competitors.  And it was a challenge as our drink price was $10 – versus $6 for our competitors.
In the OLD WORLD focus on simple product innovation – we would have pitched why our double gold medal, patent pending products were preferred versus others.
In the NEW WORLD view of innovations in product, production sales and marketing – we told about our product AND we offered consumers the opportunity to sample a “flight” of our 4 whiskies (1/2 ounce pours of each) using our patent pending Flight Trays. 
What would you rather be asked to do?
Option A:  Be asked to sell 4 Great Whiskies
Option B:  Be asked to sell 4 Great Whiskies WITH THE HELP of an Innovative FLIGHT TRAY Merchandising system.
BOTTOM LINE:  Based on visual observation we sold more than our three competitors combined AND at a higher price!   It transformed everyone working our booth into great sales people. 
So what are you waiting for?   Innovate on HOW YOU SELL to help accelerate the success of your innovative service or product.

What are you doing today?

During a planning call for a conference I’m speaking at in Madrid. I was asked how I wanted to be introduced I said, “don’t say what I’ve done – that can be read in my bio.”
I went on to explain – “Instead of telling people what I’ve done tell them what I’m doing today.”
Right now I’m working with the Ranch team to change the world through systems that enable everyone to think smarter, faster and more innovatively.
The past has past.
The time to live is today.
If you don’t have a mission that matters to you today – then get one. Read books on mission, on mindfulness, on living in this moment. If you can’t find a book read Chapter 9 of Driving Eureka!. It defines a system for gaining alignment between you and your mission at this moment.
This message of living in this moment – not yesterday – is best articulated by Springsteen in his song, Glory Days. It’s reported that it was based on the true story of a random meeting he had with a friend from his youth.
I had a friend was a big baseball player Back in high school…Saw him the other night at this roadside barI was walking in, he was walking outWe went back inside sat down had a few drinksBut all he kept talking about was
Glory days, well, they’ll pass you byGlory days…

Are you talking to the 18% & ignoring the 82%?

It was a Eureka! Moment.  I was leading a WHISKeY and Cocktail tasting to raise money for the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada.

I gave a 15 minute presentation on the world of WHISKeY and COCKTAILS.  Immediately a 50 something male came to me and said, “Thank you for not making me feel stupid. I want to learn about whiskey – but feel very intimidated.”
I felt both guilty & excited. GUILTY that 70% of my presentation was focused on whiskey lovers.  I felt EXCITED because while WHISKeY is a big industry it has low penetration (just 18% over the past 12 months).

Suddenly I realized that the industry, and me included are saying and doing things that make it difficult for new customers to join the world of WHISKeY drinkers.

I tested my theory the next night by focusing on inclusiveness. I addressed the myth that WHISKeY must be drank “neat” explaining it was just 10% of consumption. I explained that cocktails are over 50% of consumption. I invited them to come to my tasting table where I would customize a whiskey and cocktail (% alcohol & sugar level) for them.

It worked new whiskey lovers were created. Whiskey lovers thanked me for the education AND for helping their partners find a whiskey & cocktail they love.

THINK Are you talking to the 18% & ignoring the 82%?

The Importance of 11 Seconds

Research finds that to be successful with marketing you need to communicate your MEANINGFUL UNIQUENESS in 11 seconds!   
That means you need to be really sharp and precise with the message you use in your headline or the opening to your video.
In the past you would build up to the big “reveal”
In today’s work you need to be overt, precise and brutally clear about your WOW.
Interestingly – this new learning actually CONFIRMS the critical importance of headlines – based on quantitative data reported by David Ogilvy years ago in Ogilvy on Advertising and that I reported in my book Jump Start Your Business Brain based on tracking studies on over 10,000 innovations.  My latest book Driving Eureka! Gives even more data to support this.
Facebook video data also shows that most videos on the web are played with no sound – so you must have clear visuals and subtitles on them!

Creating A Difference That Makes a Difference

Creating a difference that makes a difference … is the purpose of life.   

In simple terms a difference that makes a difference is…

–  A BIG Idea
A Meaningfully Unique product or service improvement
Something that builds PRIDE among workers 
Something that ignites word of mouth
The barrier to making a difference that makes a difference is that our teams and cultures embrace being practical and prudent. We accept that “we can’t”. 

As we enter September – it’s time for all of us to say NO to compromises. It’s time for all of us to come together to create a difference that makes a difference!

The first and most important step in making a difference that makes a difference is being honest with yourself, your team, and boss about what you are focusing your energy on.

Are you working on REAL STUFF that matters?

Are you EXCITED about how you are spending your time?

If not – NO STRESS – it’s time to pivot, adapt and begin again…

Ignite a plan for change…
LEARN MORE: Nothing will help you restart better than education.   Read any of the amazing books out there on innovation, change and creativity.   If you can’t find one – here’s a FREE LINK to the abridge one hour audio of my latest book Driving Eureka!  
SPEED BUILD A NEW VISION: Gather a team of “willing change agents” and invest 2 to 4 days in “speed building” a new vision. Over the past nearly 40 years we’ve found that when teams get out of their office and FOCUS on creating a new reality – thinking through all of the stuff… finance, customer, consumer, legal, regulatory, manufacturing, etc..  then big ideas happen. 
CHANGE HOW YOUR TEAM WORKS: Instead of handing the idea from department to department – approach the development as a journey of never ending innovation. As your idea moves forward let the idea change, adapt, adjust – keeping your entire team focused  on MAKING A DIFFERENCE THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. 


Research finds that customers are 3 TIMES more likely to purchases when they LIKE the environment.
At the University of British Columbia students were shown the advertisements for products. In one case there was music playing that the students enjoyed. In the other case they were playing music that annoyed the students.
At the completion of the presentation the students were given the opportunity to purchase a small item. 3 TIMES more students bought when they were in the environment that played the music they enjoyed.
As Ben Franklin said, “If you would be loved, love and be lovable.” When you are making your pitch – make your environment as friendly and as likable as possible.
When presenting data to a customer you will be most effective if:
A) You provide a clear & simple chartB) You explain the data in clear & simple words
The correct answer is B, you explain the data in clear & simple words.
Research shows that when you use simple words versus a chard with numbers and percents – WORDS are 2 times more effective at communicating the marketing message. And 3 TIMES more effective at increasing purchase intent.
So if you want someone to really get the message you’re sending, don’t get clever with charts and graphs. Say it with words – the straightforward, easy way to get your point across and increase the chance that your customers will take action.
When attempting to make a sale research finds that the best return on your investment of time and money is to make 3 ATTEMPTS.
Ignite CURIOSITY with your first personal pitch, marketing advertisement or mailing. It should provoke interest through a mind opening thought designed to get your customers to stop, listen and most importantly THINK.
Your second pitch should deepen UNDERSTANDING and should explain with clarity how what you promised in the first pitch can be delivered.
The third pitch should focus on enabling them to make a DECISION. It should address any key concerns and most importantly always ASK for the sale.
Most people make one pitch and give up. DON’T! Always make three pitches in order to ignite curiosity, understanding and enable a decision. Your sales dreams are much more likely to come true.