Idea Management

    Quick & Dirty Innovation

    rod-stewart-maggie-mayMany companies started 2014 with the good intention of “getting after innovation” this year. Was that your organization? How’s that going? Are you jumping for joy or singing the blues?

    Some companies have worked hard and consistently at innovation all this year. They started the year running and got things done. Look at the slew of announcements Apple just made (to be fair the watch took years). Other companies made a good start but got caught up in the red tape of too much process. So, it’s September now. For those of you who’ve been busy keeping up with business operations and haven’t had time to do formal innovation this year, all is not lost.

    Consider: Quick & Dirty Innovation (QDI)

    “Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you, it’s late September and I really should be back in school…”

    From the song, Maggie May, lyrics by Rod Stewart and Martin Quittenton

    This time of year can evoke regret. You can hear that tinge of regret when listening to that old Rod Stewart song, Maggie May. Regret can be a motivator — this is the time of year I often get a call from organizations that are anxious to get something done by year end. It’s possible. Quick & Dirty Innovation — QDI — is the answer we’ve developed based on experience to kick-start efforts — even if it is late September and you really should be back in school.

    So, what is Quick & Dirty innovation? It’s doing something quickly with the least possible fuss and use of resources. It might  remind you of Lean. It should, it borrows concepts from Lean, but it’s Not Lean. Lean is strategic and long term. Quick & Dirty is tactical, practical, and short term. In QDI you’re not reaching for breakthrough, you’re reaching for low hanging fruit. QDI is usually low-risk incremental innovation. QDI means cutting corners and taking minimal risks in order to get points on the board fast. Lean requires learning Lean. QDI leverages an outside facilitator, with supporting resources, to get you started. It can work fast and it deliberately ignores some classic “best practices” in innovation. And, it can foreshadow and inform a more formal systemic effort, so, it’s a good step to prepare for 2015.

    Elements of Quick & Dirty Innovation (QDI) Success

    1. A burning desire to do something innovative, fast. Fast meaning, now, and something — even if purely tactical. It’s a 12 week cycle — or less.
    2. You need a modicum of support from top management, that is, agreement to get something done and to make quick decisions.
    3. QDI requires a small, but appropriately talented, and motivated team.
    4. A minimum of outside help is the goal, but a skilled facilitator at the start to get the process moving is required. That’s where KILN USA and Gregg Fraley come in.

    Gregg Fraley and KILN USA are here to assist with a rapid innovation program. It features an immersive one day workshop to kick-off your QDI effort, with preparation and follow-on advisory services. Prior to the workshop there’s an in-depth interview. During the program there’s active process coaching, a KILN provided flexible cycle guide document, and a recap/planning workshop to complete.

    The QDI Service includes: 

    1. A pre-engagment research informs preparation for the workshop and cycle.
    2. At the QDI Workshop: A brief introduction to Quick and Dirty Innovation is presented.
    3. The team defines what’s possible to do in the short term. What are the low hanging fruit area(s)? What resources can be cobbled together? What are customers telling us? What insights can be take action on? What’s the “quick win?”
    4. Mapping out an aggressive but realistic project plan, KILN has the project cycle template you can adapt (called FuseTrail)
    5. Getting agreement on the plan.
    6. Framing a QDI question for ideation (based on ideas regarding opportunity areas).
    7. Start generating ideas to answer the QDI question (but the ideation doesn’t end on the workshop day)
    8. Set up ways for others to participate in ideation (leverage an affordable rented Idea Management System from KILN USA, administered by us).
    9. Celebrate the effort with a launch party end-of-day
    10. Post workshop: The small team will orchestrate a fast-moving innovation cycle, putting a “best few”, or even just one idea with impact, in front of management for approval quickly. Then rapid prototyping, testing, and launch. If problems are encountered the facilitator comes back in and does emergency creative problem solving.
    11. At the end of the cycle, the facilitator comes back in to assess how things went. The facilitator then assists you with taking the learnings of your QDI innovation cycle in order to make a more strategic, more formal plan for your innovative future.

    Could QDI work for your organization? Best case scenario — you get something with impact accomplished, and soon. It’s motivating to solve an innovation challenge and get points on the board, call it momentum. If you fail with a “good effort” you’ll learn a great deal about what you should do next to succeed. If you fail with a “poor showing” you’ll also learn that your biggest problem in innovation has to do with internal culture. In a sense, you can’t lose.

    Quick & Dirty Innovation could turn out to be near term profitable — while paving the way for Long Range and Strategic Innovation. 

    Get in touch if this is of interest, we’ve got our running shoes on. 



    Innovation Facilitation — Death is Easy, Magic Takes Training

    Three Essentials for Magical Innovation Facilitation An essential ingredient to successful innovation projects is good facilitation. Who could argue with that? Innovation combines individual and group activities. Good group collaboration is not a given. Even individual activities need coordination with the group effort. You really need an inspiring, confident, well-trained facilitator to enable innovation. I’m talking about running and managing strategy meetings, ideation sessions, virtual sessions (using IMS), concept writing sessions, and other group work. A good facilitator makes a world of difference in the results of these group meetings and activities. And yet, in the long list of things that can go wrong in innovation initiatives, it’s often the one that is overlooked or taken for granted. The problem

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    Have You Made the Creative Choice?

    Have you made the Creative Choice? There is a ton of written material about creativity and innovation. I make an effort to keep up with the waves of literature — there’s a new methodology, a new process, fresh brain research, best practices, anti-best practices, etc. Some of this literature is quite good. There is also stuff about how creativity relates to mysticism and spirituality, also quite interesting. Finally there is also a good deal of useless, boring drivel that only reinforces unhelpful mythology about creativity. If you intend to be more creative and to use that capacity to innovate, I would encourage you to read widely and make your own judgments, but don’t get lost in all the words, don’t

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    The Year is Half Over, Where is Your Innovation?

    The Year is Half Over, Where is Your Innovation? Underway? Running like a Swiss Watch? Missing in Action? Innovation Peeps: The year is nearly half over. Okay, in a month it will be officially half over. I’m doing this with seven months left this year so that you might get a running start on an innovation initiative — an “FEI Cycle” that you can complete by year end. FEI stands for Front-End-of-Innovation. This is the perfect time to take a half-year checkpoint on your innovation efforts because there is still time to get some significant work done in 2014. On July 1, you’ll have six months left to get something done, or, complete something already underway. Consider the next thirty days your

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    Training is an Innovation Accelerant

    Creativity and innovation training is a highly effective accelerant for business results. When I step into a room to facilitate an innovation, strategy, or idea generation session I nearly always find a great deal of energy. What I also often find is inexperience — in the kind of thinking necessary to innovate. Successful managers and leaders are promoted up the ladder because of their great analytical thinking skills. Day to day, operationally, that’s what’s called for and that’s what’s rewarded. The bad news is the more imaginative and divergent thinking required at the front end of innovation is rarely used and almost never rewarded. That’s why those sessions often start with a great deal of pizazz but fade into lethargy

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    Ten Ideas for Using Innovation Film Clips

    I’ve written an article on Innovation in movies – Inspiring Innovation Films: a Top Ten List.  It’s been published on the Innovation Excellence portal — I’d be most grateful if you’d read it and comment over there. Today’s post is a value add to that article with some ideas on how to use creativity and innovation clips in projects and meetings. If you’re an innovation educator, manager, or team leader you may want to consider using clips as training and/or stimulus tools. I’m a big one for keeping things entertaining no matter what you’re doing. Movie clips are a great way to do that. Here are Ten Ideas on how to integrate film clips into an innovation project: Send out a

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    Ideational Speaker, Gregg Fraley

    I do keynotes on creativity and innovation topics — and this is not something I hide. It’s all over my website and I do my best to promote my speaking on FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and in my blog postings. So, it’s not unusual for me to be confronted — at a cocktail party or a business meeting — with the comment: So you’re a “Motivational Speaker.” It’s a fair observation, but it’s really…inexact when it comes to describing what I actually do. It’s not Wrong, but there’s more to my speaking than motivation. My talks are about ideas, so really, I’m an Ideational Speaker.  Yes, I make an effort to motivate people to be more creative and innovative. So, I

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    KILN Continues to Innovate Innovation Services

    I’m off to the FEI show (Front End of Innovation) in Boston this week. In my view it’s the most serious innovation conference in the world, and the USA edition features speakers and participants from a who’s who of international organizations. I’m particularly interested in hearing Denise Morrison CEO of Campbell Soup about their use of culture in the innovation process, and also Nelson Farris of Nike about corporate storytelling. It will be great to catch up with Idea Management System vendors like CogniStreamer, and innovation service firms like Ideas To Go and Maddock Douglas. They’re always doing something new. I’m glad the show is in Boston. After the recent troubles it feels appropriate that a conference dedicated to positive change is

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    Creative Resilience: Working with the Clay of Opportunity

    Guerilla Innovation Chapter 10 In the previous post/chapter of Guerilla Innovation we talked about “amping ideas.” I reviewed two tools for doing so. They’re good tools. And…there’s more to it than those techniques. Idea amping is a way of life for an entrepreneur — and especially so for a small business one. Nobody will do the hard work of making something special for you. Something in our culture encourages you to quit when things become unreasonable. Yet, entrepreneurship is in many ways being unreasonable with yourself — and accepting the lemons people give you and making lemonade. Being an entrepreneur is a contrarian state. Unreasonable, in the sense that you go beyond what reason or logic would dictate to you is

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    Notebooking is Innovation Viagra

    Guerilla Innovation Chapter Five Notebooking is Innovation Viagra What do Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Edison, Jack Kerouac, Beatrix Potter, Madame Curie, and Twyla Tharp all have in common? They all do Idea Notebooks. Call the behavior Notebooking. It’s not just ideas, it’s also questions, facts, observations — products of your curiosity. The big company version of Notebooking is an Idea Management System (IMS). Notebooks are the IMS for small business innovators. You have a Jungle Business Plan in your purse or man bag. It’s a short document that forms the outline of what you are doing in your quest for innovation. It’s a guide and you’re actively working it, evolving as the landscape in front of you changes. You use creative

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