Recycle, reuse, remix, repeat – be daringly (un-)original

Albert Einstein is credited – perhaps inaccurately – with the saying ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results’ and this received wisdom inhibits us, I think, from trying something the same, albeit with a different twist.

When I set up this site I was initially unsure whether Continue reading “Recycle, reuse, remix, repeat – be daringly (un-)original”

Frank Zappa, innovation and ridicule

FZ as we knew him

YouTube is a wonderful thing if you like to be distracted by random stuff from people that you like. Whilst rehearsing a choir part from a YouTube track by my local community choir the other night the  suggested videos list threw up a thoroughly cringeworthy appearance by Frank Zappa on the Steve Allen Show on 4 March 1963. Cringeworthy it may be but it illustrates the way genuine innovators can often come up against ridicule when their ideas first appear.

Continue reading “Frank Zappa, innovation and ridicule”

Business lessons from the Edinburgh Fringe: 3) Just add circus skills

If you have been following this series closely you’ll be equipped to build great relationships with your customers and be able to motivate your co-workers with a few killer one-liners and some well thought-out communications. There’s just one thing that needs to be added to spice up the workplace: circus skills. Yes, this is my big take-away from the Fringe: the business world would benefit enormously from regular injections of acrobatics, tightrope-walking and attempts at the seemingly-impossible.

Continue reading “Business lessons from the Edinburgh Fringe: 3) Just add circus skills”

Service Smackdown 5: Apple and the road to power

This is not so much a straight fight but more a series of skirmishes along the road to power – the power in this case being the power supply enabling my wife’s new iPhone to function effectively.  It’s a story of persistence in the face of supply chain problems and one customer service rep’s action turning a mediocre and frustrating experience into superior service…

Continue reading “Service Smackdown 5: Apple and the road to power”

Business innovation 5) What’s your innovation mythology?

I was in a meeting with one of my clients recently where we were reviewing a document that dealt with how to get the voice of the customer more embedded into their project methodology. Following a battle with Microsoft Word’s spell-checker the document referred to a project mythology. Laughs all round but this got me thinking: methodologies are all well and good but it’s an organisation’s mythology that can make all the difference between successful innovation and unsuccessful stagnation.

Why so? Well, let’s look at myths and what they mean. Continue reading “Business innovation 5) What’s your innovation mythology?”

Business innovation 3) Innovation and creativity – part 2: practicalities

Most organisations suffer from a wariness of creativity stemming from the myths that I outlined last week. As a consequence, organisations typically don’t set out in an intentional and systematic way to build and maintain their creativity – and this is a wasted opportunity.

This fear of creativity Continue reading “Business innovation 3) Innovation and creativity – part 2: practicalities”

Improve service: get ideas from anywhere?

Plenty of ideas in this crowd?

Asking your customers for suggestions seems like a great way to improve your services or products. Two recent items I came across suggest it’s not something you should do without clearly thinking through what you are trying to achieve.

Report 103 is an excellent newsletter from Jeffrey Baumgartner on applied creativity and ideas in business and this week’s edition follows on nicely from my previous post about feedback. If you buy the idea that customer feedback is a rich source of service improvement ideas then proactively soliciting ideas from your customers (and non-customers) seems like an even better idea. Continue reading “Improve service: get ideas from anywhere?”