Enhance Productivity and Efficiency with Stephen’s Innovation Insights

Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

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To celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States, I decided to share a segment from my book, Goal-Free Living. Chapter 4 is entitled, “Want What You Have.” Instead of looking for more and creating a different future, appreciate what you have now.

Before we get to the podcast, I want to share two items:

  • My “Purple Monday” sale – $50 off the Personality Poker® Starter Kit and a free copy of Best Practices are Stupid if you buy a copy of Invisible Solutions. Sale ends December 3rd. Learn more here
  • The launch of my new yearlong peer-to-peer mastermind as just announced. Learn more here

In the podcast I share a number of stories that will hopefully inspire you to have a deeper appreciate for where you are in life, even if things are challenging at the moment.

Happy Holidays!

Happy belated Thanksgiving to my friends here in the United States.

Although the Black Friday sales might be over, I’ve decided to throw in a little color into the mix with two special offers as part of my Purple Monday.

This week only (through December 3rd), I am offering my Personality Poker® Starter Kit for $50 off – a more than 25% discount. It’s a great chance to try it out with your team. It is the most fun and fastest way to determine if you are “playing with a full deck” (i.e., you have all of the right innovation styles in the right roles on your team).

Get started with the Starter Kit now. No coupon codes needed.

And, if you’ve been waiting to get your hands on Invisible Solutions®, now is the time to get it. If you buy a copy (hardcover, Kindle, or Audible) on Amazon between now and December 3rd, you will get a copy of Best Practices are Stupid at no extra cost.

Just order your copy of Invisible Solutions on Amazon and then email the receipt here: bookoffer@invisiblesolutionsbook.com.

Once we confirm the order, we will email you back a link to a password protected PDF copy of Best Practices are Stupid.

I hope you will take advantage of these offers. Both expire December 3rd.

It is finally here – my Invisible Solutions® Mastermind.

As a reader of this blog, you know how passionate I am about innovation. I truly believe that it is the key to solving your most complex challenges and revealing hidden opportunities.

Over the past 25 years, I have worked with hundreds of organizations to support their innovation efforts. And I am on a mission to help many more.

Therefore, I have decided to launch a new innovation mastermind to help my clients make innovation a reality. It is designed to give innovation leaders greater access to me (and other innovation leaders) at a fraction the cost of my typical programs. In fact, the investment is just a little more than the cost of an hour keynote.

To be clear, this isn’t just education; it is a “get things done” program where you and a team member produce real results over the course of 12 months.

Because I want to give personal support to all that participate, we are limiting the first cohort to 15 non-competitive organizations.

This isn’t for everyone. This is only for innovation or strategy leaders from larger organizations. We only want the best of the best in this group.

We are scheduled to start Q1 2022.

Given you’re here, this might be a fit for you or for someone on your team.

If you want to learn more, please contact me directly and I will send you more information.

Thanks in advance for your consideration!

This podcast celebrates 20 years since the launch of my first book, 24/7 Innovation. It also marked the time when I left Accenture and started my own innovation business. In honor of this special period in my life, I read the Prologue to that book and share some thoughts on where we have come in the last two decades.

In this episode, we explore:

  • how innovation and management theory have followed the times of the day (from Taylor to today)
  • why past innovation strategies have focused on “boxes” (activities) while newer models focus on “lines” (interconnections)
  • why jazz is a good metaphor for innovation in that it is a collaborate and improvisational approach that adapts to new realities
  • the recent progress innovation has made to move towards “lines” rather than boxes
  • why relevance and adaptability is more important than ideas or novelty

Thank you to everyone who has made the past 20 years possible!


What if instead of thinking outside the box, you want to find a better box?

This is Chapter 4 from Best Practices are Stupid.

We explore the power of Challenge-Centered Innovation (CCI)and why it leads to higher ROI than idea-driven innovation.

In this episode, we explore

  • Einstein’s perspective on innovation (hint: the problem is more important than the solution)
  • Hollywood’s point of view on thinking outside the box (hint: don’t)
  • The advantages of Challenge-Centered Innovation
  • The key things you do up-front with CCI: assign owners, sponsor, resources, funding, evaluators and evaluation criteria
  • How ideas are like fishing with a net in the middle of the ocean while CCI is like targeted fishing with the right lure.

The content in this episode is crucial to my overall work and sets the stage for future chapters.

Get the Invisible Solutions® Lenses

What if asking for ideas is a bad idea?

In this episode, I share Chapter 3 from Best Practices are Stupid. In it, we explore why looking for a quantity of ideas can be the downfall of your innovation efforts.

You will hear:

  • How several companies started with idea-driven innovation programs that led to the demise of their innovation efforts
  • Why the signal-to-noise ratio might be one of the most important measures to consider for innovation
  • The three categories of ideas, and why suggestion boxes lead to a lot of duds
  • Why idea programs can be useful for PR or for getting people on-board with innovation, but not for ROI
  • The behind-the-scenes story of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill innovation efforts

This episode provides one of the cornerstones of my work. In the next Best Practices are Stupid episode, we will go even deeper when we explore why you don’t want to think outside the box.

Get the Invisible Solutions® Lenses

Back in June, I posted here that Invisible Solutions® was given the bronze medal across all business and economics books (not just innovation) for the 2020 INDIES Awards. Here is the certificate which now hangs in my office. I love that their official color is purple!

What if the best solutions to your internal business problems can be found by looking externally?

In this episode, I have a conversation (using the Invisible Solutions® lenses) with my friend and colleague Jon Fredrickson. He is the Chief Innovation Officer for InnoCentive (a Wazoku company) and has 15 years of deep open innovation experience.

The conversation covered a wide range of topics including:

  • According to a study conducted by Harvard, over 80% of solvers of InnoCentive challenges would not fit the hiring profile of the client
  • One company replicated 15 years of R&D history with one problem with a 60 day challenge – and they got a better answer
  • If you start looking externally, you can find a kernel of a solution which can be brought back to the organization and adapted
  • Open innovation enables parallel processing of problem-solvingwhich can speed time to solution

There were so many stories, such as how a radiologist solved a problem on how to identify fractures and fissures in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico to find natural gas or oil deposits.

I think you’ll really find this conversation fascinating.

Learn more about InnoCentive

Learn more about Wazoku

Read about my strategic partnership with Wazoku/InnoCentive

Get the Invisible Solutions® Lenses

This week I share Chapter 2 from Best Practices are Stupid: How Can You Avoid Becoming a One-Hit Wonder?

Last week in Chapter 1, I explained the three levels of innovation (event, capability, system). In this week’s episode I share more details on what it takes to create level 2 – an innovation capability.

When you think about innovation as a repeatable and predictable process/capability like any other part of the business (e.g., finance), it opens up some new perspectives.

An innovation capability contains 5 components:

  • Strategy
  • Measures
  • Process
  • People
  • Technology

We explore all 5 components briefly – which sets the stage for the rest of the book. The remainder of Best Practices are Stupid is organized around these pieces.

NOTE: Although it is not made clear in this chapter, one key difference between an innovation capability and (for example) a finance capability is involvement. Finance is a department with a limited number of people. Innovation is not. Innovation needs to involve the entire organization whenever possible. The role of the innovation team is to set standards and processes that the rest of the organization can use. More on that in later chapters.

To download the lenses, go to www.GetTheLenses.com


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