Entries in Brainstorm (5)


Strategic Retreats ... Transforming Technology into Product

Let’s start by assuming that your goal is to come up with products that your customers are compelled to buy and use to extract some important value to them.

In general, the best way to pursue this is to:

  1. Identify your target customer
  2. Identify an important need or frustration that they have
  3. Find, invent, or tweak technology to craft an effective product for these customers

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Brainstorming ... Fast & Fun

How many times have you come out of a brainstorming session feeling unsatisfied with the results?  The team never felt like it got into a rhythm.  The idea flow felt like a drizzle versus a storm.  None of the ideas that the team spent much time on seemed especially good (BTW, you should never spend a lot of time on any one idea in a brainstorming session).  There was one or two people that insisted on dominating the conversation and ended up speaking way too much.  This to the frustration of the rest of the group.  The good news is that there are just a handful of things you need to do to run a productive and fun brainstorming session.  

The overall goal of any brainstorming is to generate a high quantity of ideas.  This is really important ... it's all about quantity, NOT quality.  You will have plenty of opportunity after brainstorming to evaluate the quality of the ideas generated and select a winner. 

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Developing an "Eye for Innovation"

Some people have a great eye for photography.  Through years of practice, they develop an instinct or reflex that recognizes when an awesome photographic moment presents itself.  It could be the lighting, composition, colors, people, their facial expressions, and a host of other qualities in a scene that will make a good photographer take notice.  And long before you can explain what it is that he sees, he already has his camera out and has taken a few snap shots.

Now the question is, can you develop a similar "eye for innovation"?  I believe the answer is yes.

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Uncork Your Brain with Mind Maps

That great idea you are looking for is already somewhere in your mind or in the collective mind of your team.  The real effort in coming up with a great idea, is all about getting out of your own way so that your great idea can reveal itself.  I want to refer to this as the “idea release” process, rather than the idea generation process.

A very useful tool in the idea release process is mind mapping.  In this post, I will discuss how we inadvertently trap our great ideas in our mind; strategies for getting out of our own way; and finally how mind maps can help.

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Why are there so few “glorious” products? 

A few years ago, I finally pursued a long time ambition to own and ride a motorcycle.  So I signed up for a motorcycle safety course.  On the first day of class, the instructor began by telling us stories of her favorite riding experiences.  This included her description of a “glorious” day of riding.  It was a cool and sunny day with a bright blue sky.  As they left the more congested areas of Massachusetts, it seemed that they had become the exclusive owners of the roads that they were on.  With no one in their way to slow down their brisk pace.  This allowed them to fully enjoy all the twists and turns that the roads had to offer.  After a wonderfully exhausting day of riding, they made their way to a favorite greasy spoon, for some of the best comfort food around.

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