more th>n, less th<n

Posted October 7, 2012 by Chris
Categories: Awareness, Belief, Character, Context, Creativity, Goals, Influence, Leadership, Life, Vision

How many of you have ever sold something you did – a service or item you made?

What did you price it at?

Did anyone say the price was too high or did someone tell you that you were selling too low?

We tend to value ourselves less than

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

What does it take to make the transition from less than to more than?

It is amazing how much the price on an item can fluctuate
– different stores have different prices
– different times of the month or year dictate different prices
– one small thing can alter a price significantly…….a story

Attach a story to a product and watch its value rise and rise

“Stories are such a powerful driver of emotional value that their effect on any given objects subjective value can actually be measured objectively”, assert Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker on their website The entire site is home to an experiment that sets out to prove it.

The experiment went like this Glen and Walker bought cheap, throwaway objects from thrift stores and garage sales, always for pocket change or a couple dollars at most. Then a writer would create a fictional story about the object in any voice or style. The once unremarkable object (now transformed into a significant object by virtue of the fictional backstory and information associated with it) then would be listed for sale on eBay the winning bidder would receive the object and a printout of the story.

The difference in original purchase price and story-enhanced resale price would be recorded as the value added by attaching story to an object.


A pair of plastic shark and seal pens cost $1.99 to buy. Its resale price, after Suzanna Daniel added a story was $35 – an increase of 1659%

A yo-yo with the Amoco logo on it cost 25 cents. It’s resale price, after Mark Sarvas added a story, was $41 an increase of 16,300%

The overall results for the first 100 items bought, storied, and resold on eBay: average object purchase price: $1.29. Average resale price after the story was added: $36.12. Average increase in value: 2706%.

What’s the moral, besides the obvious? It’s hard to avoid this upshot: when selling something, meaning matters. Even, apparently, if the meeting is made up.

Sometimes a yo-yo is just a yo-yo, other times, it’s a 16,300% return on your investment. How? When it’s got a backstory like this: “when I was 17, I was expelled from high school. My father, reasonably enough, give me a choice: get a job or get out. The only job for a 30 mile radius was the night shift behind the counter at an Amoco station on a deserted road off the interstate.”

The story, from the significant objects website, continues to unspool, sending the objects value on a stunning trajectory. By the time the narrator has “walked the dog, dealt with a fat hairy boss, and encountered a girl (of course, girl), the yo-yo has been transformed. Put another way $.25 yo-yo plus story equals $41.

Remember these were fictional stories completely made up

We have already discussed that we tend to value ourselves less than and God values us more than.

We’ve also seen how story can change the value of an object.

What can help us to see more than instead of less than in our own value?

Hearing the story that God attaches to us.

I used to think I needed a big, compelling story about prison time and Satan worship before I could have a good story.

Turns out I was wrong, here is what God thinks and tells about you –

1. God has expressed His kindness to you (Eph 2:7)
2. God’s power works through you (Eph 3:7)
3. You are a citizen of heaven (Php 3:20)
4. You are a dwelling for the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:22)
5. You are a holy temple (Eph 2:21; 1Co 6:19)
6. You are a light in the world (Mt 5:14)
7. You are a light to others, and can exhibit goodness, righteousness and truth (Eph 5:8-9)
8. You are a member of Christ’s Body (1Co 12:27)
9. You are a member of God’s household (Eph 2:19)
10. You are a minister of reconciliation (2Co 5:17-20)
11. You are a new creation (2Co 5:17)
12. You are a personal witness of Jesus Christ (Ac 1:8)
13. You are a saint (Eph 1:18)
14. You are adopted as his child (Eph 1:5)
15. You are alive with Christ (Eph 2:5)
16. You are assured all things work together for good (Ro 8:28)
17. You are blameless (ICo 1:8)
18. You are blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing (Eph 1:3)
19. You are born again (IPe 1:23)
20. You are born of God and the evil one cannot touch me (1Jn 5:18)
21. You are chosen and dearly loved (Col3:12)
22. You are chosen before the creation of the world (Eph 1:4, 11)
23. You are Christ’s friend (Jn 15:15)
24. You are completed by God (Eph 3:19)
25. You are confident that God will perfect the work He has begun in me (Php 1:6)
26. You are crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20)
27. You are dead to sin (Ro 1:12)
28. You are delivered (Col1:13)
29. You are faithful (Eph 1:1)
30. You are forgiven (Eph 1:8; Col1:14)
31. You are given God’s glorious grace lavishly and without restriction (Eph 1:5,8)
32. You are God’s child (Jn 1:12)
33. You are God’s coworker (2Co 6:1)
34. You are God’s workmanship (Eph 2:10)
35. You are growing (Col 2:7)
36. You are healed from sin (IPe 2:24)
37. You are hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3)
38. You are His disciple (Jn 13:15)
39. You are holy and blameless (Eph 1:4)
40. You are in Him (Eph 1:7; 1Co 1:30)
41. You are included (Eph 1:13)
42. You are more than a conqueror (Ro 8:37)
43. You are no longer condemned (Ro 8:1, 2)
44. You are not alone (Heb 13:5)
45. You are not helpless (Php 4:13)
46. You are not in want (Php 4:19)
47. You are overcoming (IJn 4:4)
48. You are part of God’s kingdom (Rev 1:6)
49. You are persevering (Php 3:14)
50. You are prayed for by Jesus Christ (Jn 17:20-23)
51. You are promised a full life (Jn 10:10)
52. You are promised eternal life (Jn 6:47)
53. You are protected (Jn 10:28)
54. You are qualified to share in His inheritance (Col1:12)
55. You are raised up with Christ (Eph 2:6; Col2:12)
56. You are redeemed from the curse of the Law (Gal 3:13)
57. You are safe (IJn 5:18)
58. You are salt and light of the earth (Mt 5:13-14)
59. You are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13)
60. You are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph 2:6)
61. You are secure (Eph 2:20)
62. You are set free (Ro 8:2; Jn 8:32)
63. You are the righteousness of God (2Co 5:21)
64. You are united with other believers (Jn 17:20-23)
65. You are victorious (1Co 15:57)
67. You belong to God (1Co 6:20)
68. You can approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph 3:12)
69. You can be certain of God’s truths and the lifestyle which He has called me to (Eph 4:17)
70. You can be humble, gentle, patient and lovingly tolerant of others (Eph 4:2)
71. You can be kind and compassionate to others (Eph 4:32)
72. You can be strong (Eph 6:10)
73. You can bring glory to God (Eph 3:21)
74. You can forgive others (Eph 4:32)
75. You can give thanks for everything (Eph 5:20)
76. You can grasp how wide, long, high and deep Christ’s love is (Eph 3:18)
77. You can have a new attitude and a new lifestyle (Eph 4:21-32)
78. You can honor God through marriage (Eph 5:22-33)
79. You can mature spiritually (Eph 4:15)
80. You can parent your children with composure (Eph 6:4)
81. You can stand firm in the day of evil (Eph 6:13)
82. You can understand what God’s will is (Eph 5:17)
83. You don’t have to always have your own agenda (Eph 5:21)
84. You have access to the Father (Eph 2:18)
85. You have been brought near to God through Christ’s blood (Eph 2:13)
86. You have been called (Eph 4:1; 2Ti 1:9)
87. You have been chosen and God desires you to bear fruit (Jn 15:1,5)
88. You have been established, anointed and sealed by God (2Co 1:21-22)
89. You have been justified (Ro 5:1)
90. You have been shown the incomparable riches of God’s grace (Eph 2:7)
91. You have God’s power (Eph 6:10)
92. You have hope (Eph 1:12)
93. You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (2Ti 1:7)
94. You have peace (Eph 2:14)
95. You have purpose (Eph 1:9 & 3:11)
96. You have redemption (Eph 1:8)
97. You know there is a purpose for your sufferings (Eph 3:13)
98. You possess the mind of Christ (ICo 2:16)
99. You share in the promise of Christ Jesus (Eph 3:6)
100. Your heart and mind is protected with God’s peace (Php 4:7)

If you are not convinced let’s look back at the verse we talked about in the beginning :

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows

God sees value in you – think about this fact this week.

This is a small scratch of what we could talk about concerning this subject, if you have questions, want to talk more, we can talk here, Facebook, or even on my blog.

I stopped writing my blog a few years ago because I listened to the wrong person who didn’t give any value to me, now I see that I do have value and you do too.

Evernote and Moleskine Collaborate For A Powerful Solution

Posted October 1, 2012 by Chris
Categories: Uncategorized

Mont Blanc and Moleskine image

This is from a great blog and I could not agree more about Moleskine and Mont Blanc – enjoy

If we have ever had the chance to meet in person, the chances are that I had  two of my most endearing companions with me – my Moleskine journal and my Mont  Blanc pen. Those two items have been with me for over 20+ years, seven days a  week.  If you wonder what the attraction is, I will have to use a phrase  from my Harley riding friends  and say

“If you have to ask, then you won’t  understand.”

One of my most frequently used web tools – Evernote –  has collaborated with my lifelong companion – Moleskine – to convert my note-taking and journal entries and provide them to  me in a digital, searchable format.

Moleskine notebooks are everywhere, overpriced, and somewhat of a  cliché in some circles. I don’t care. There is something about writing  ideas, comments, quotes, and referencesI encounter during my daily activities  into my notebook that is very comforting.

Evernote is on every computing device I own from desktop to  laptop to iPad to iPhone. I have written about Evernote many times in the past  to highlight the productivity and value that I gain when using Evernote to  capture the ideas, comments, quotes and references that I encounter during my  daily activities. I never have to worry that I will be able to come back and  find the information and use it when it is needed.

Notice that I described the exact same benefits of both the Moleskine  notebook and Evernote:

“…capture the ideas, comments, quotes and references that I encounter  during my daily activities.”

With the release of the new Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine, both are  now combined into one very helpful solution.

How does this work?

The new Evernote Smart Notebook uses Evernote’s Page Camera feature  to capture the pages of your notebook with your smartphone or  tablet. Evernote Page Camera is the iOS version for iPhone and iPad.  Evernote Ruled Smart Notebook features the unique “Evernote ruled” page style  with dotted lines designed to ensure a clean image when digitally capturing  your  notebook. Smart Stickers introduce Smart Tagging into your workflow. When  you  capture a page with Evernote, the Smart Sticker icons become searchable,  digital  tags that make it easy to keep your ideas organized and to keep your  digital and  analog work-spaces synced.

Hold on – each notebook is priced between $24.95 and $29.95 depending on size  and type and at first blush that seems ridiculously high. What makes this new  product a good value in my eyes is that each Evernote Smart Notebook comes with  3 months of Evernote Premium which I have been paying $5.00 per month for some  time.

Evernote Premium gives you bigger upload capacity, offers  greater sharing options, gives you access to note history, and more. Plus, you  get PDF searching, faster image recognition, and no ads, all of which I  thoroughly enjoy and recommend.

Yes, the notebook itself will set me back $29.95 for my version (Evernote  Large Ruled Smart Notebook – 5 x 8.25) but I save $15.00 every three months,  which strangely enough is about the time that it takes me to fill up my  notebook  anyway. So the total price for the notebook for me ends up being  $14.95. I have  been buying my notebooks through for $12.21 each, so  for the additional $2.74 I can now have all my notes digitized and searchable  for the future.

I still haven’t found a replacement for my favorite Mont Blanc pen, but not  really looking for one.  So when we meet, look for my Evernote Smart  notebook and my pen, it will hopefully be in use capturing your ideas and  thoughts.

Let me know if you are a fan of Moleskine, Evernote, Mont Blanc or all three.  I’m off to Starbucks to write some ideas down for my next post.

Here is the video demonstration from MoleSkine:

from fillthefunnel

Innovation and Growth

Posted August 19, 2012 by Chris
Categories: Uncategorized

Innovation and Growth are linked in so many differing ways. For an idea to grow, there must be certain systems or practices in place that feed the process of continuing innovation. What specific things can we learn about innovation and growth from some of the most successful growth companies?

Intense global competition and a sluggish economy have made the realization of growth more challenging than ever. Yet some organizations such as Apple, Amazon, and Starbucks seem to defy the laws of economic gravity.

The most successful growth companies adopt at least 4 best practices:

  • Find the next S-curve
  • Lean on customers
  • Think like a designer
  • Lead the way
1. Find the next S-curve

Nothing grows forever. The best products, markets, and business models go through a predictable cycle of growth and maturity, often depicted as an S-curve.

Diminishing returns set in as the most attractive customers are reached, price competition emerges, the current product loses its luster, customer support challenges emerge, new operating skills are required, and so on.

Unfortunately, growth company leaders are often blinded-sided by this predictable speed bump. Once the reality of the S-curve becomes apparent, it may be too late to design the next growth strategy.

The time to innovate—the innovation window—is when the first growth curve hits an inflection point. How do you know when you’re hitting the inflection point? You never know. So the best companies are forever paranoid and make innovation a continuous process.

Steve Jobs understood this when he returned to Apple. In 2002, he challenged his company to break out of the mature computer industry where Apple had never garnered much more than 10 percent market share. He told Time Magazine in 2002, “I would rather compete with Sony than … Microsoft.”

Eight years later, after introducing the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and a game-changing retail channel, Jobs claimed victory and Apple Computer became Apple Inc. While introducing the iPod, Jobs said, “Apple is the largest mobile devices company in the world. Larger than the mobile devices businesses of Sony, Samsung, and Nokia.”

2. Lean on customers

Successful growth companies have a deep understanding of their customers’ problems. Many are embracing tools such as the customer empathy map to uncover new opportunities to create value. This customer insight is the foundation for their lean approach to product innovation: rapid prototyping, design partnerships with lead users, and pivoting to improve their product and business model.

I’m constantly amazed at how few companies invest the time to get out of the office and interact with customers (outside of sales situations). During the turnaround of IBM, Lou Gerstner launched Operation Bear Hug to get the company back in touch with its customers. IBM’s top 50 executives had to visit five customers per week and deliver a write-up to Gerstner.

3. Think like a designer

Managers are trained to make choices, but they don’t always have good options. Innovation involves creating new options. This is where designers excel. Apple’s exceptional user experiences were largely the creation of Jonathan Ive, a professional designer and Jobs’ righthand man.

Design thinking requires a different set of tools. Growth company strategists have abandoned Porter’s Five Forces Analysis because it assumes that markets have well-defined boundaries and competitors must fight for market share. Instead they search for uncontested market space and make competition irrelevant using Blue Ocean Strategy and the Business Model Canvas.

4. Lead the way

Unless the CEO makes innovation a priority, it won’t happen. Innovation requires a level of risk-taking and failure that’s impossible without executive air cover. The best growth companies create a culture of innovation:

  • Howard Schultz decided Starbucks had lost its way. He flew in every store manager from around the world to help redesign its café experience.
  • Google encourages employees to spend a day per week on new ideas.
  • P&G tracks the percentage of revenues from new products and services.
  • Gray Advertising gives a Heroic Failure Award to the riskiest ideas … that fail!

More important are innovative leaders as role models. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has told both employees and shareholders that he cares less about profitability and more about planting seeds that are likely to pay off in five to seven years. He’s so driven by vision that he’s investing over $40 million of his own money in a product designed to last for 10,000 years.

To launch his successful Think Different campaign, Steve Jobs commissioned The Crazy Ones, a video that featured Einstein, Edison, Gandhi, Muhammad Ali, Hitchcock, Richard Branson, and other “trouble-makers” who changed the world. Every employee understood the CEO’s views on risk-taking and innovation. – from David Power’s Harvard Article

Design a Container Garden For Herbs

Posted May 22, 2012 by Chris
Categories: Uncategorized

Innovation is no more evident than in the art of growing things. Container gardening is something anyone can do regardless of space or time.

Container gardening is great if you do not have any land to plant a garden or you just wish to add some texture and beauty to an area.  An easy, healthy, and sustainable set of plants to grow in containers are herbs.  They come in all shapes, sizes, and variety of colors.  Some herbs flower, some do not.  But all can be used for their beauty, their healing ability, and their tastiness.

Herb Container Gardening 101

Before you begin, learn the growing requirements for the herbs you desire to plant.  Herbs that can be relatively close together will produce a beautifully designed container garden.  Consider the geometric space of the container; is the container long and rectangular like a window box or deck container or perhaps the container is a uniquely shaped household item that has been repurposed into a container for the garden.  Good design uses and accentuates the geometric design of the container and the plants should compliment (not overcrowd) the container.

A single container does not need to be used for an herb garden.  Alternatively, a more modern designed container garden can be achieved by placing a single herb plant in identical container pots and then arranging the pots into a geometric design.

Next, consider the layout desired for your herb container garden; herbs that will grow tall can be placed in the back of the container while those that are more colorful (purple basil, for example) can be an eye-catching center piece and used as a balance counterweight.  Think about the texture of herbs as well.  Salad burnet and purple sage, for example, have soft textured leaves while rosemary is pricklier.

Flowering herbs can be especially delightful in a designed container garden.  Chives, chamomile, chicory, echinacea, lavender, thyme, and yarrow all produce colorful flowers.  If the herb garden will be eaten, it is important to consider that most herbs used for culinary purposes will not be allowed to flower early in the season so it is best to focus on texture and leaf color to bring a sense of fullness to your herb garden design.

Regardless of the design of the container garden it is important that creativity and fun are a included in the gardening and designing experience.

The 4 Styles of Innovation

Posted April 30, 2012 by Chris
Categories: Uncategorized

Innovation Styles

Innovation Styles provides a great summary of four innovation thought processes for your business:
Visioning: To envision the ideal future Modifying: To refine and optimize what has come before Exploring: To discover new and novel possibilities Experimenting: To combine and test many unique combinations
There are two dimensions that form the four Innovation Styles: What stimulates and inspires this style’s innovativeness? Facts, details and analysis OR Intuition, insights and images
How does this style approach the innovation process? Focused, well-planned and outcome oriented OR Broad, perceptive and learning oriented

People with an Individualist Point of View Create the Best Crowds

Posted March 26, 2012 by Chris
Categories: Uncategorized

The blurb below, promoting James Surowiecki’s talk at Tim O’Reilly’s 2005 Emerging Technology Conference, makes a great point. The basic message? A crowd is wisest when each member retains a strong individual point of view.

“In the past few years, we’ve seen a powerful and justifiable groundswell of interest in and adoption of bottom-up and collaborative approaches to problem-solving and decision-making. It’s now clear that under the right circumstances, these approaches can be remarkably effective, and can yield solutions that are consistently better than those produced by even the smartest expert. Groups, instead of falling to their lowest common denominator, can often rise to the level of their best member and beyond.”The paradox, though, is that groups are typically smartest when the people in them act as much like individuals as possible–when they rely primarily on their own private information, when their opinions are independent, and when their judgments are not determined by their peers.”


Paradoxical, yes, but in your gut you know it’s right. The essence of collaboration is not necessarily “teamwork” in the classic, competitive sense. Rather it depends on every person being passionately and enthusiastically productive, however they happen to “get into it.” In a company context, it’s a team leader’s job to be on the lookout for what each individual needs to stay in their productive passion.

Google coddles its creative teams with every conceivable convenience, but it also draws the line at “techno-arrogance.” A “smarter than them” attitude is simply not collaborative or encouraged. Engineers who think they’re smarter than the folks using their stuff are deadly to a user-centric company like Google.

People can be brilliant individuals and have great ideas without any “smarter than you” pretense being laid on top. Better to be a love cat, as Tim Sanders puts it in his book “Love is the Killer App.”

It’s up to individuals and their mentors, leaders and coaches to make sure each crowdster brings all their “flavor” when he or she shows up. It also helps when each person gets away from “smarter than you” pretenses by finding some brilliance in a few fellow crowdsters – something that’s “smarter than me” – and champions it. Mix equal amounts of brilliance, assertiveness and humility together and you’ll have a pretty wise crowd.

Audio: Surowiecki speaks at SXSW Interactive Conference, 2006

The Sweat that Eureka Demands

Posted February 28, 2012 by Chris
Categories: Uncategorized

Serious about doing something innovative?  Be prepared to spend many long, focused hours working on it (and working and working and reworking…)

“We want to believe that creativity and innovation come in flashes of pure brilliance,” Janet Rae-Dupree writes in the New York Times. But, “Innovation is a slow process of accretion, building small insight upon interesting fact upon tried-and-true process. Just as an oyster wraps layer upon layer of nacre atop an offending piece of sand, ultimately yielding a pearl, innovation percolates within hard work over time.” 

“‘The most useful way to think of epiphany is as an occasional bonus of working on tough problems,’ explains Scott Berkun in his 2007 book, The Myths of Innovation. ‘The goal isn’t the magic moment: it’s the end result of a useful innovation.'”

The article also quotes Jim Marggraff, creator of an interactive world globe called the Odyssey Atlasphere, and the LeapPad reading platform for children, among others.  “The ‘aha’ moments grow out of hours of thought and study,” he says. “If you look at my innovations, there’s a common theme. I take something familiar, intuitive and ubiquitous, and recast it in a manner that will redefine its use to drive profound change.”


Edison, with an early phonograph Of course, which famous inventor explained this to us early in the 20th century?  Who else but Thomas Edison.  A bit of quick research gives us his famous quotein an expanded context:

“None of my inventions came by accident. I see a worthwhile need to be met and I make trial after trial until it comes. What it boils down to is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.”

(From a 1929 press conference, quoted by James D. Newton in Uncommon Friends; Newton knew Edison personally.)


In an interview in Harpers magazine, February 1890 (stay tuned here at Heart Of Innovation as we present the latest, greatest breakthroughs! ; ), Edison explained his method:

“I would construct a theory and work on its lines until I found it was untenable. … I speak without exaggeration when I say that I have constructed 3,000 different theories in connection with the electric light, each one of them reasonable and apparently likely to be true. Yet only in two cases did my experiments prove the truth of my theory.”

==== “Eureka! It Really Takes Years of Hard Work” (NYT, 2/3/08)

Mikey Likes it and You Will Too

Posted January 19, 2012 by Chris
Categories: Uncategorized

Like Mikey, I found a new piece of hardware that I can say “I like it”. I  expect it will become a good friend in the months ahead. A new product from Blue Microphones called Mikey Digital  is a high-quality microphone to capture meetings, conference calls, business  meetings or even to make your own voice recordings in high-quality. The genius  of Mikey Digital is that it plugs into your iPhone or iPad and easily replaces  any other recorder and/or microphone that you have been packing.

Many of you that read Fill the Funnel are road warriors, or at least work  outside of an office or cube much of the time. Working out of your briefcase or  laptop bag is a way of life, squeezing everything you might need into that small  space. Combining equipment or replacing existing tools with smaller and/or  lighter alternatives is always a relief. Blue Microphone’s new Mikey Digital  microphone for iPhone/iPad will serve you well.

Mikey Digital directly connects to iPhone or iPad and is instantly recognized  for use with any audio or video application. Whether shooting video,  recording a keynote at a conference or capturing your next team meeting, Mikey  Digital captures truly professional recordings on-the-go with a stereo pair of  Blue’s premium condenser capsules and built-in sensitivity control. For the  non-techies, it simply means that you are using a professional-grade tool that  gives you stunning results.

Blue Microphone's Mikey Digital Microphone

Mikey Digital also features a multi-source input jack that allows for direct  connection of an iPod or a lavaliere micand other sound sources  to record with the highest possible fidelity to get that track into your audio  recording.

If you are experimenting with the use of online meetings, webinars, Skype and  Google+ Hangouts, the investment in a quality microphone should be top of your  list. I not only help clients figure out the best web tools for their needs, but  also the hardware. The number one item on my list for those applications is a  good quality microphone. The last thing you need is to sound like you are  talking through a tin can on a string with your prospects and customers, yet I  hear it every week. Listen to the sound quality of the speakers on your next  webinar. A quality microphone will make all the difference in the world.

Some things to consider before you purchase:

Blue Microphones Logo A little bit about the company. Blue Microphones has been  around for some time, and manufacturers and entire range of microphones from  Desktop USB through Studio Mic’s. Many podcasters online today are using Blue’s Snowball USB microphones. You just have to like a company  that names its products Snowball, Yeti, Tiki or Woodpecker. If you are serious  about sound quality, give these guys a look. By the way, the Tiki listed above is a really  strong product if you are working from your laptop rather than an iPhone or  iPad.

Might be a good time to thin out that laptop bag and lighten your load, while  improving the sound quality in everything you record. If you know someone who  lives this lifestyle, it is never to early to grab one of these for a holiday  gift.-from fill the funnel

Some thoughts on Innovation

Posted December 12, 2011 by Chris
Categories: Uncategorized

Innovation momentum is growing.As the global economic climate stabilizes, more and more companies are starting to look beyond the survival mode mentality that took hold in the fall of ’08.  These companies see that they now need to refuel their revenue generation engines with new and differentiated offerings to the market.  New products for existing and new audiences are viewed as key to building market share and driving top line growth.  Companies need innovation now, and they understand with the ever increasing pace of market change, they need continuous innovation.  There is broad consensus that innovation capability is one of the key competencies that will distinguish winners from losers in the years ahead.

Many companies are still just arriving to the innovation party. The number of companies that have taken a serious look at innovation and taken concrete steps to build innovation as a value driving core competence is still small.  Most companies are just beginning to question whether there is a better way than relying on serendipity for their innovation.  This means that there is a big opportunity for companies to take the high ground and drive their organization forward through innovation while the competition is still trying to figure out which end is up.

Companies are acting on, not just thinking about, innovation deployment. Those companies that have internalized the importance and high-value of repeatable innovation best practices are not sitting on their hands.  They are seriously pushing awareness, innovation skills development, and IT infrastructure to support their innovation mandates.  These companies also realize that while grassroots acceptance is important, a corporate innovation initiative will never deliver to its potential if it isn’t backed by a top-down mandate tied back to corporate objectives.  Innovation is about change.  Developing a sustainable innovation culture requires a change in the corporate psyche and hence requires serious attention and management focus.

Innovation delivers value to companies that take it seriously. Innovation takes many forms, but it always creates value.  Everywhere I went, I heard stories of how using repeatable innovation methods had overcome challenges, expedited time to market, and raised the value of key projects within organizations.  At Samsung for example, I was shown a new model of refrigerator.  The manager showing me this refrigerator pointed out a key feature in the product that was blocked by a competitor’s patent.  Using the innovation skills they have mastered over the years, Samsung was able to create an alternative non-infringing design that allowed them to find freedom to operate and with it a fast path to market.

So, what does all this mean to you?  The bottom line is that now is the time to get moving when it comes to getting your innovation engine firing on all cylinders.  The companies that invest in innovation today will emerge as the leaders with new revenue driving products in the future and create new market differentiation.  While those companies that choose to wait on innovation will be left behind as the laggards in the new economy, never regaining the luster they lost in this most recent recession. – from innovating to win

Innovation in Brewing

Posted November 7, 2011 by Chris
Categories: Uncategorized


Innovation Beer Summit

Recently, I had the opportunity to learn to make beer.  I joined a group of friends and together we brewed six varieties of beer.  There are innovation lessons to be learned from most things.  Here are some innovation lessons I took away from my beer making debut.

Science There is science behind making beer.  Understanding what is happening in the process helps you achieve the desired results.  This is true for every domain in which I see people working in the trenches of innovation.  No matter what you are doing, there is a body of knowledge that precedes your efforts.  If you don’t have good access to this knowledge, you are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past and waste a lot of effort reinventing the wheel.  High performance innovation organizations understand the need to knowledge enable their innovation workers by providing them with the best, purposeful knowledge research and delivery systems.

Team During our little beer making party, we brewed 6 varieties of beer in one evening (90 minute IPA, Summer Ale, Belgian Blonde, Vanilla Honey Porter, Oatmeal Stout, and Scottish Ale).  Getting it all done required teamwork and collaboration.  In business innovation practice this pressure to achieve high-value innovation outcomes with limited resources and time is de rigueur.   To achieve results requires the same type of committed and connected teamwork for innovation workers.  Companies seeking to maximize the effectiveness of their innovation workforce must employ innovation frameworks that connect people to one another when they need based on what they know.

Tools Making our beer, we have at our disposal the right equipment to make the job easy and efficient: steam controlled boiling vats, wort cooling filters, automatic bottle sanitizers, etc.  Listening to others in our group recount the horror stories of making beer in their kitchens without these tools reminded me of what I see all too often walking into companies that have not begun to deploy state of the art innovation platform technology.  Innovation workers struggle to make sense of problems and find the fit between problem states and solution spaces.  Companies need to invest in providing their workers with the right tools and skills for innovation success.  Sure, you can start a fire rubbing sticks together; but why not give your teams modern torches and set them loose to burn up the competition.

Experience Having the brew master watching over us made a huge difference.  He was able to tell us in advance what to pay attention to and how to ensure the quality of the final product we were producing.  Preserving, tapping into, and leveraging grey beard knowledge is a huge problem for many companies.  Make sure you have systems in place to harvest and disseminate this knowledge to empower your entire innovation workforce and enable the generational transference of your corporate tribal wisdom.

Immersion My beer making experience was great.  One of the best aspects of the experience was its immersive nature.  While we were engaged in brewing or bottling, that was the focus of our activity.  There were no interruptions, no need to divert our attention and focus, no co-opting of resources by some other urgency.  Of course, we all have to deal with the realities of the real world when we are working in the trenches of innovation.  But, managers need to find the way to carve out protected time for innovation workers to focus on what’s important, not merely what seems urgent.  You have to willing to invest in your people, giving them the time to master and apply innovation best practices to their innovation tasks.  You will find this is an investment that will pay big dividends by both delivering the benefits of accelerated innovation and product delivery, but also greater per worker productivity.