Archive for December, 2015

Gadgets that will rock your New Year

December 28, 2015 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Uncategorized

A lot of news organizations are telling us what will be hot in 2016. Last year at this time they told us that smart watches would change the way we do business and manage our personal lives. I would not say that this has happened, although we did see smart watches become more mainstream. So what are the big predictions for  the coming new year?

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 7.58.56 AM

At the end of each year, Webbmedia Group Digital Strategy shares what it says are the most important emerging trends in digital media and technology for the year ahead.

Things like smart virtual assistants, ambient interfaces, robotics and 3D printing will continue to make big leaps.

Check out Webb’s full report.

Webbmedia Group – 2016 Tech Trends from Webbmedia Group

Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2016

December 22, 2015 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Biotechnology

Health care continues to be a hot topic for our society, and in 2016 no doubt we will see more discussion. Innovative ideas and actual breakthroughs are exciting, and I look forward to seeing new technologies transform the health care industry.

One of the big advances is in the area of new vaccines to treat the world’s deadliest epidemics:

Check out these top 10 medical innovations from Cleveland Clinic’s 2016 Medical Innovation Summit a few months ago.


A Plane That Curbs Jet Lag?

December 20, 2015 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

By now I’ve traveled through so many time zones that jet lag is something that just is. most people who travel for work have their own strategy for getting through those early meetings in Hong Kong, or those long flights to Australia.

Now Airbus And Qatar Airways are debuting a carbon fiber plane that actually curbs jet lag:

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 7.45.41 AM“The design process was about optimization, pushing the constraints, and opening up the box of solutions,” Alain De Zotti, chief engineer of the A350 XWB program at Airbus, says. The manufacturer debuted the design in early 2015, but the first aircraft to land in the United States arrived courtesy of Qatar Airways last week. With the A350, De Zotti’s team devised ways that they hope make flying more energy-efficient, aerodynamic, and comfortable. On top of that, they had to ensure that the plane could be just as technologically sound today as at the end of its projected 30-year lifespan. With $15 billion worth of research and development under its belt, Airbus is hoping that its no-nonsense approach to design and engineering will help it best the competition—namely the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 777 long-distance planes.

Check out the rest of the article and the images for this new plane here.

Six factors that can spark innovation

December 17, 2015 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Uncategorized

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 7.38.28 AM

What does your team need to be able to innovate successfully? Check these out from Harvard Business Review:

Researchers usually make an important distinction between creativity and innovation. Innovation involves two stages: the generation of new ideas and the implementation of those ideas. Creativity is considered to be the first stage of innovation. While we know a lot about both areas, there’s not a lot of research out there to guide leaders. But according to one meta-analysis, some key attributes do contribute to innovation within teams:

1. A compelling vision. Teams are more innovative when members have a common understanding of team objectives and are also committed to them. Clear and valued objectives can create meaning and motivation for team members.

2. Goal interdependence. Goal interdependence is the extent to which team members can meet their goals only by having the other team members achieve their goals. You create goal interdependence by setting objectives that must be achieved collectively and by addressing issues, including feedback, as a team.

3. Support for innovation. Teams are more innovative when managers expect and approve of innovation. This means encouraging risk and expecting failures.

4. Task orientation. This is a shared concern for excellence that stems from the compelling vision. Teams with a task orientation set high performance standards, monitor their performance and provide each other with feedback.

5. A cohesive team. Cohesion represents commitment to the team and a desire to be part of the team. Researchers see cohesion as creating a psychologically safe environment that enables members to challenge each other and the status quo.

6. Strong internal and external communication. Strong internal communication allows for sharing knowledge and ideas and creates a safe environment for providing feedback. External communication fosters innovation by learning from others and bringing new information into the team.

Read more here via Harvard Business Review

Using Reengineered Brick To Keep Buildings Cool

December 16, 2015 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Uncategorized

In Columbia, a pair of architects are re-thinking the way we use materials for helping to curb energy use naturally.  The two used the bricks to recreate a new shape that offers acoustic insulation as well as a unique beauty to any building or home’s exterior.

They were recently featured in Fast Company Magazine. Here is a snippet and a link:

Via FastCompany

Via FastCompany

When Colombian architects Miguel Niño and Johanna Navarro set out to re-engineer the brick, they did so through the lens of sustainability. They wanted to create a mass producible, high-performance material that could be used to build better homes in their country.

Enter Bloque Termodisipador BT from Niño and Navarro’s company Sumart Diseño y Arquitectura SAS. The ceramic bricks naturally regulate temperature, decrease the need for additional building materials (like insulation and finishes), slash construction time, and support existing supply chains, the architects say. The genius lies in the bricks’ irregular shape and semi-hollow core.

Read the rest here

50 Innovation Sayings to Inspire

December 13, 2015 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Innovation

comment-157439_960_720Sometimes we need a creative spark to keep us focused on innovation and exploring new ideas beyond what we’ve always known.

How about 50 of them?

Here’s a roundup of some great, inspiring quotes on innovation:

1. Nothing is stronger than habit. [Ovid]

2. If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. [Albert Einstein]

3. Status quo is Latin for, ‘The mess we’re in.’ [Ronald Reagan]

4. Change is inevitable. Except from a vending machine.[Robert C. Gallagher]

5. When the rate of change outside is more than what is inside, be sure that the end is near. [Azim Premji]

6. Details matter, it’s worth waiting to get it right. [Steve Jobs]

7. The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed. [William Gibson]

8. It’s tough when markets change and your people within the company don’t. [Harvard Business Review]

9. Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. [Will Rogers]

10. They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. [Andy Warhol]

11. We cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. [A. Einstein]

12. Necessity is the mother of invention. [Anonymous]

13. Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow. [William Pollard]

14. When all think alike, then no one is thinking. [Walter Lippmann]

15. The biggest room is the room for improvement. [Anonymous]

16. Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. [T. Dewar]

17. He who sees things grow from the beginning will have the best view of them. [Aristotle]

18. The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. [George Bernard Shaw]

19. The future is not what it used to be. [Anonymous]

20. There are no old roads to new directions. [The Boston Consulting Group]

21. You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. [Andre Gide]

22. Innovation is anything, but business as usual. [Anonymous]

23. The best way to predict the future is to invent it. [Alan Kay]

24. Promotions may win quarters, innovation wins decades. [former P&G CEO Bob McDonald]

25. If at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it. [A. Einstein]

26. The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards. [Arthur Koestler]

27. An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all. [Oscar Wilde]

28. A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind. [A. von Szent-Gyorgyi]

29. Managers say yes to innovation only if doing nothing is a bigger risk. [Gijs van Wulfen].

30. Innovation is the ability to convert ideas into invoices. [L. Duncan]

31. Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises. [Demosthenes]

32. Luck is where the crossroads of opportunity and preparation meet. [Seneca]

33. Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference. [Robert Frost]

34. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. [Steve Jobs]

35. The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible. [A. Clarke]

36. The key to success is for you to make a habit throughout your life of doing the things you fear. [Vincent Van Gogh]

37. Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration. [Thomas Edison]

38. The impossible is often the untried. [J. Goodwin]

39. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. [Dale Carnegie]

40. The biggest risk in innovation lies in sticking too closely to your plans. [D. Hills, Walt Disney Company]

41. Ideas are useless unless used. [T. Levitt]

42. If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.[Jim Rohn]

43. It is not how many ideas you have. It’s how many you make happen. [Advertisement of Accenture]

44. The best ideas lose their owners and take on lives of their own. [N. Bushnell]

45. It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. [Walt Disney]

46. Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. [T.S. Eliot]

47. If you want to go fast – go alone. But if you want to go far – go together. [African proverb]

48. Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer. [Dan Brown]

49. The person who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person doing it. [Chinese saying].

50. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. [Paulo Coelho]

(Hat tip to speaker who collected these quotes.)

Winning on Shark Tank: Nine Strategies for Selling Your Bright Ideas

December 7, 2015 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Cool Inventions and gadgets

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 7.27.04 AMOur Innovationedge team meets with inventors to guide and help them bring their inventions to the world.  Most people think it just takes money – some willing donor to make their dreams come true.  If you’ve ever watched the television hit, Shark Tank, you know that there are some excellent minds out there hoping someone will plunk down cash to sell their ideas and their inventions in the marketplace. It’s a popular program, but not very realistic. My friend Robert Tucker agrees, and recently penned a blog about how to make your ideas shine and get noticed:

But whether you’re about to appear on Shark Tank, or just want to improve your effectiveness in this arena, here are my favorite tips to greater selling success:

  1. Realize that selling ideas is an essential skill. The days of top down, command-and-control leadership are over. These days, gentle persuasion or “leading from behind” is the new imperative, and “building the buy-in” (gaining alignment and support for a decision, idea or direction) is a vital part of the innovator’s toolkit. CEOs must sell their ideas to the board. Managers must sell their ideas to their teams and to senior managers and sponsors. Parents must sell their ideas to their offspring. And spouses should know how to sell their ideas to each other (“honey, don’t you think it would be fun to vacation in St. Croix this spring? There’s an incredible offer that just came in the mail.”)

  2. Do your homework. Before you try to sell an idea to others, sell yourself first. Gather the facts. At Gore-Tex maker WL Gore and Associates, they ask three questions of any potential opportunity: is it real? Can we win (if we take this to market)? Is it worth it? Think your idea through from these perspectives and size it up objectively. Do the necessary research as if your reputation depends on it, because it does. Be able to concisely summarize your concept from the standpoint of the user problem it solves and the opportunity it creates.

  3. Consider timing. You’re excited about the idea because, well, it’s your new baby. It’s natural to fall in love with your ideas, but is now the time to try and gain support to build and launch it? Would waiting till the end of budget season make more sense? Do you need to plant more seeds and talk up the idea informally before proposing it before the board? Decide on the best time to pitch the idea, and keep in mind that timing is everything, especially when selling ideas.

  4. Focus on what’s in it for them. “We invent by starting with the customer and working backwards,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told an interviewer. “The other guys (competitors) start by asking ‘what are we going to get out of this if we launch this idea?’” It’s never too early to ponder issues having to do with end-user value; what’s in it for them if they adopt and use your idea? Does your concept make their lives better, give them greater choice, simplify or increase speed? Does it help the company cut costs or improve engagement? The best idea evangelists focus on elucidating an idea’s benefits, the worst fixate on features and get lost in the weeds.

  5. Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm your idea-buyer with too many details, don’t slip into jargon that is familiar to you but Greek to your customer, and above all, avoid needless complexity. Concentrate on making the complex simple and understandable to the layperson, realizing that even the insiders will appreciate your gift at communication. If you can’t explain the essence of your idea in a few simple sentences, you haven’t thought it through sufficiently. If it’s a complex idea, come up with a metaphor.

  6. Help others visualize your idea. A picture is worth a thousand words, and a prototype can be worth a thousand pictures. A story illustrating some aspect of your idea, or a testimonial of how the idea is already in use elsewhere, can be of benefit in emotionalizing your audience. The more others truly understand your idea, the deeper their support. People don’t buy what they don’t understand, and social science research demonstrates that people are reluctant to admit that they are confused, and will go along silently without understanding. Make it a point to KISS: keep it simple stupid! Build a rapid prototype, create a stellar pitch deck (PowerPoint slides), or just sketch your idea out on a whiteboard, if that’s all you’ve got. They help people “see” your idea, and you help people come around to your way of thinking.

  7. Customize your communication style. How you sell an idea will depend to a great extent on the person or persons you’re selling it to. If you’re pitching to a numbers-obsessed idea selection team, that’s different audience than to a CEO whose goal is higher growth.

  8. Welcome feedback. If the idea checks out after you’ve done your homework, try out your pitch on trusted colleagues first to get the bugs out. Then, invite tough critics to poke at it and see if they can rattle you. If they can, you’ve got further homework to do to win. You can’t allow yourself to get defensive when they criticize your idea. You may not like what they have to say but realize their job is to discover flaws now rather than after you’re further along in the development stage. Think of these panelists as being on your side. Their feedback not only keeps you from overlooking weaknesses or better alternatives, but your openness and positive, humble attitude builds trust.

  9. Be open to input. One of the best ways to build support for your idea is to share it with others and ask for their suggestions on how it could be made even better. If you’ve thought it through and done your initial homework, you’ve earned the right to ask for their support and guidance. People love to give suggestions for improving an idea, and feel a sense of pride (and greater ownership) if they’ve helped shape your idea.

More of Robert’s articles are here.

Is Innovation Hard?

December 5, 2015 Cheryl Perkins No Comments » Uncategorized


Over the years people have told me that innovation seems daunting. Companies can often struggle with what it takes to be disruptive or to have fresh ideas. The cliche, “thinking outside the box” is certainly one element, but what about strategies that involve selecting OI partners, or what to do when your strategy fails? What many companies experience is called, “Innovation Fatigue.” (Check out my book, “Conquering Innovation Fatigue: Overcoming the Barriers to Personal and Corporate Success.”

Here is part of an interesting infographic I am sharing as food for thought. But I’d also like to hear your ideas and help you understand some even deeper analysis of what happens when we fail to innovate.