Innovation

Method: More than a green culture

November 29, 2011

Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry first noticed the need for their company when they shared a house with three friends. In looking for cleaning products that didn’t have harsh, toxic ingredients, Ryan and Lowry came up empty-handed. Thus the idea for Method home-cleaning products was kindled.

Now’s the time to learn a little improv

November 4, 2011

To paraphrase business writer Daniel Pink, the future will belong to those who can flex, adapt, empathize, tell stories and create. Theater performers, whose stock in trade is flexibility, adaptability and creativity, could teach us a thing or two.

Lessons from ‘Good Vibrations’

November 3, 2011
Critics cast singer Mike Love as the villain who blunted Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson’s creative brilliance, but it was Love who brought coherence to Wilson’s greatest song, “Good Vibrations.”

Social media fuels automaker’s R&D

October 17, 2011
The good, old-fashioned focus group isn’t going away, but leaders are increasingly finding that they can bolster their companies’ R&D efforts by using social media strategies. Take a cue from leaders in the auto industry who use social media to engage with customers:

Solving everyday problems

September 20, 2011
The wisdom of Eileen Gittins is that she keeps learning. In 2004, Gittins launched Blurb, where anybody can produce a pocket-size book for $2.95 or a coffee table book for about $200. Business is almost doubling every year.

Go where the lion hunts, not the zoo

September 19, 2011

Lately, Gianfranco Zaccai spends his time lying in a hospital bed. He’s not sick; he’s researching ideas for a health care client. As president at Continuum, Zaccai knows that he and his staff find the best ideas when they’re observing clients or putting them­­selves in clients’ shoes. He insists that staffers “go to where the lion is hunting, not the zoo.”

Keeping the short-termers at bay

September 16, 2011
Amazon founder and billionaire Jeff Bezos wants us to think long term. The company was founded in 1994, listed in 1997, but didn’t post profit until 2001. His company isn’t the only one to get off to a slow start:

Paul Allen: The run-up to innovation

September 14, 2011

Today, Paul Allen says that each of his big ideas—which now include aspects of brain science and aerospace—has begun with a development that sets the stage. In co-founding Microsoft, that development was the evolution of Intel’s early chips.

Give yourself one hour a week to think

August 23, 2011

Gaining creative insights doesn’t re­­quire taking off for an ashram, as Steve Jobs once famously did. But it does require preparation and application. Creativity guru Todd Henry recommends that executives set aside one hour a week to generate new ideas—“one hour, predictably scheduled, no exceptions and no violations.”

No need to toot your own horn

August 17, 2011

In one way, Ezra Newman is the opposite of Stephen Hawking, another genius physicist. Unlike Hawking, who is great at attracting attention, Newman is great at deflecting it. Newman is unassuming, but boy is he influential. Like the black holes he studies, he gets noticed through his effects on his surroundings.