Innovation

Playing the game of competition

June 14, 2010

In the late 1950s, as U.S. families turned more and more to television for their entertainment, analysts predicted the end of board games. Milton Bradley Co. President James Shea had other ideas. Deciding to capitalize instead, Shea had the company develop a memory game called Concentration …

Google makes change look simple

June 14, 2010

Google has one of the most successful products on the Internet. Why would its leaders want to alter it? Because even Google has to evolve. That’s the reason for the site’s recent redesign, its eighth. Here’s how Google does it:

Failure? Maybe it’s a good thing

May 14, 2010

Evidence is mounting that seeing things as an outsider has advantages. When you’re on the outside looking in, you’re more likely to notice failures and anomalies. Sociologists long have wondered whether Albert Einstein, if he’d become a physics professor on the tenure track instead of a lowly patent clerk, would ever have noticed the anomalies that led him to develop the theory of relativity.

Microsoft takes competition too far

May 14, 2010

A little healthy competition can be, well, healthy. Internal competition allowed to go too far, though, can be destructive. Dick Brass, a Microsoft vice president from 1997 to 2004, says that at Microsoft, internal competition has created a dysfunctional corporate culture in which big, established groups prey upon emerging teams.

Becoming leaders, not Lone Rangers

May 14, 2010

As health care attracts more attention, so has the importance of teamwork. One stunning development is the proliferation of checklists asking simple questions before surgery. These checklists, although clearly useful, often meet with hostility because they challenge doctors’ self-image as grand soloists. Here’s how Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and author of The Checklist Manifesto, suggests that doctors can speed up innovation.

Leadership Tips: Vol. 410

April 12, 2010
Manage your company’s reputation by starting a two-way dialogue with consumers … Follow the recipe of Jordan Zimmerman, founder of Zimmerman Advertising, to increase productivity … Be more innovative by spending at least 15 to 30 minutes per day jotting down questions that “challenge the status quo” in your company or industry, recommends Brigham Young University Professor Jeff Dyer.

Corning’s innovative ‘Gorilla’ process

April 12, 2010

By 2007, some cell phone makers realized they needed stronger, scratch-resistant screens for their gadgets. A team within the specialty materials division of Corning Inc. saw opportunity in an old formula for a superstrong but flexible glass—a material dubbed “Gorilla” …

Social media drives innovation at IBM

March 12, 2010

At IBM, being “authentic” with social media means losing control. Rather than trying to control the brand’s image or message, leadership at IBM has handed the reins to thousands of voices inside the company.

A madness to their Method

February 12, 2010

The two 27-year-olds who’ve built Method into the world’s largest green cleaning brand have had to endure plenty of setbacks in short order. So far, they’ve muddled through. Eric Ryan, the marketing guy, and Adam Lowry, the chemical engineer, ginned up their first cleaning sprays early in 2001 from ingredients such as coconut oil and corn. Almost immediately, they ran into flak:

How to generate game-changing ideas

January 11, 2010

Anyone can learn to innovate. That’s what researchers from Harvard Business School, Insead and Brigham Young University say, after a six-year study. They’ve identified the five secrets to being a great innovator: associating, questioning, observing, experimenting and networking.