Leadership

    Support RAMI

    Senator Roy Blunt

    Senator Roy Blunt

    We Can’t Get Serious About Manufacturing Soon Enough.

    I support RAMI.

    I read with interest a post on the congressional blog The Hill. In a rare example of cross party cooperation it would appear that the Senate is taking action on supporting growth in our manufacturing sector. Do read the piece but in essence the idea is to set up a national network for manufacturing innovation. This would build on the pilot center/hubs for innovation already set up by the Obama administration.

    Kudos to Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Roy Blunt (R-Missouri). I like your style gentlemen — first for working in a true bipartisan manner, and secondly for doing it on something so important. The bill is called Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act (RAMI). Congressman Tom Reed (R-New York) and Joe Kennedy III (D-Massachusets) are working in the House of Representatives to get this done.

    The bill is not a done deal so please let your representatives know you support RAMI. Copy and paste this blog in an email to your congressman and senators. I’ve given you a signature line below. Here’s a link to finding your reps addresses.

    We can’t get serious about manufacturing soon enough because the USA needs manufacturing jobs.

    But it’s not only jobs and economic growth. There is also the trade deficit — something we keep ignoring. I’d argue that simply having the capability to make very sophisticated things is a marker of a strong society as well as a strong economy. Innovation is not just about growth — it’s a sign, a signal, of collective creative health. Are we a society moving forward and trying new things? Or are we content to let other countries take the lead?

    Congressman Joe Kennedy III

    Congressman Joe Kennedy III

    I support technological leadership in the USA. I support a strong manufacturing sector.

    We have to make things here in the USA. We cannot build our future entirely on software and the service economy. If we want to build a more stable economy a healthy manufacturing sector is essential. Reshoring makes sense — and staying here with new tech makes even more sense.

    About RAMI: Essentially the proposed law helps take findings in basic research and help bridge the gap to commercial products. If only we’d done this for flat screen displays and lithium ion batteries! Both of those technologies were invented here and commericalized elsewhere. Entrepreneurs don’t generally have the money to “make the translation” of say, a groovy new material into a commercially viable product. This is where government can actually enhance the free market by getting a new technology to the point where it can be commercialized — then letting the market take care of the rest.

    It’s not a new idea, the Germans do this “translation” stuff like mad and they’ve proven it works.

    Let’s make RAMI law before the summer.

    I ______________ support the passage of RAMI. Let’s create a win for America.

     

    Comments

    Eleven Weird Ways to Create Innovation Culture

    Eleven Weird Ways to Create Innovation Culture Lately I’ve been seeing the glass half empty when it comes to innovation topics. I want everyone to know that, wow, can I ever be positive. In fact, highly creative and insightful, when it comes to inspiring innovation. Are you an empowered leader who wants to make something innovative happen? Try these Eleven Weird Ways — they work to improve the innovation culture. Surprise and delight the team. There’s nothing like a good surprise to inject new energy into a group. It can be really simple stuff. I once gave everyone on the staff a pair of Ray Bans. Smiles everywhere the rest of the day, and they wore those shades for years. Have

    Read More..
    Comments

    Employee Abuse is Poison to Innovation

    Abuse Poisons Innovation Efforts — and Innovation Experts Take Fairness as a Given The Five Forms of Employee Abuse (see below) One of the nice things about working for yourself is you don’t have to put up with abuse. Yes, sometimes I’m out there scrambling, sometimes clients are very demanding — but that’s a small price to pay for living or dying on the strength of my own ideas and work. I was reminded yesterday that the vast majority of people work for a company. A good friend suffered a demeaning and unfair incident at work — and it was devastating. I recalled the many times in my early career when similar things happened to me. It occurred to me

    Read More..
    Comments

    The Innovation Metronome

    There is no achievement without hard work. There is no breakthrough innovation without hard work. Innovation happens when you practice with discipline, with rhythm. We sometimes get lucky with things and shortcuts present themselves. Even then, one has to be ready to recognise luck when it’s sitting in front of you — on its hind legs begging for a ham bone. Even recognising a breakthrough innovation opportunity takes the hard work of understanding the market, the context. Call that deep research. Usually innovation is a bit like the guitar lesson I had yesterday. I take a weekly lesson from a kind church lady. Donna is a great teacher, she swings, in the musical sense. I emphasize the kind aspect of

    Read More..
    Comments

    Eight Politically Incorrect Statements About Innovation

    I asked myself a different question today: What do I believe about innovation but simply avoid saying to be politically correct? What am I not saying? At the risk of being labeled a curmudgeon I’ve decided to state some things I believe to be true about innovation which may offend. Innovation is difficult and it doesn’t happen enough because of these eight impediments, so, this needs said. Eight Politically Incorrect Statements About Innovation: Top Management doesn’t understand creativity. They say they want it but when they experience it the gut reaction is to disavow it, restrain it, fire it. Most top managers are uncomfortable with classically creative people. A lot of people with innovation in their title do little or no

    Read More..
    Comments

    A New Idea for Black Friday

    The concept of Black Friday has me thinking about what we reward as consumers. My idea of shopping has nothing to do with sharp elbows, crowds, or even bargains. The kind of shopping I like is when I find something truly unique, really special and creative or innovative, at a small shop or family business. Best for me if it’s made in America, and of high quality craftsmanship, to me, this is real value — and I’ll buy that, I’ll reward that. That kind of shopping is increasingly hard to do. As I watched CNN this morning I was a bit amazed by all the “news” around the concept of Black Friday. Man-on-the-spot interviews at shopping malls, traffic reports from WalMart,

    Read More..
    Comments

    Moisturize for Innovation

    I have a beautiful Martin guitar. It has a wonderful tone and it’s easy to play, it’s a love relationship. It’s a well engineered, and under some conditions, a quite delicate instrument. As the winter weather descends on the midwest I’m remembering I need to keep it moisturized. Yes, moisturized. And yes, your innovation environment needs moisturized in order to make beautiful music. Five years ago I left my prized guitar out of it’s case on a stand in my living room. I had no idea that the very dry air in my apartment would suck all the water out of that rosewood and maple. I got up one morning and started strumming — and it sounded terrible. I flipped

    Read More..
    Comments

    What’s Your Innovation Plan for 2014?

    It’s that time of year again. Time to think about what your innovation plan for 2014 is going to be. Have you done anything more than ponder this question? Have you even noodled about with it? Written anything down? The time is NOW! It doesn’t really matter if you have on your personal beret or your business fedora — if you don’t plan, and soon, you won’t be starting 2014 with anything like momentum. What you want, at the very least, is a general statement that focuses your efforts, and a breakdown of how you’ll get there through the next four quarters. If you’ve never done this before, I would suggest that you put creativity, creative problem solving, and innovation

    Read More..
    Comments

    Reflections on CPSI 2013

    Beg forgiveness for writing again about CPSI (Creative Problem Solving Institute) but feel compelled to share my experience at the conference. I’ve just returned and am still digesting a very rich creative learning experience. I’m thinking differently. Disclosure: KILN was a sponsor this year at CPSI. CPSI 2013 returned to a college campus, and to Buffalo, after many years of bouncing around the country. My first thought is to say I hope it stays there. CPSI is not a “corporate” conference and it does not belong at a hotel. It’s a learning conference (where anybody who can afford it) belongs. Of course, many corporate folks attend, they need creativity in the worst way and some actually know it. AND also attending: educators,

    Read More..
    Comments

    Innovation in Michiana, How Whirlpool Creates Magic

    Benton Harbor, Michigan, have you heard of it? It’s a big enough town that it shows up on the weather maps of Chicago TV stations. It’s directly across Lake Michigan from Chicago. It’s in tourist area, but it’s hardly a garden spot — not nearly as quaint as nearby victorian-gingerbreadish St. Joseph. Locals call the area Michiana, a term to describe the cachement of small and medium sized towns along the Indiana-Michigan border (Gary, Michigan City, Niles, Elkhart, South Bend, Three Oaks, New Buffalo…). Michiana is a lovely area — if you like the beach, vineyards, and the woods. It’s not exactly Silicon Valley. It wasn’t always so. Once upon a time Benton Harbor was home to one of my

    Read More..
    Comments