Understanding LEGO and systematic creativity

LEGO bricks are almost universally synonymous with creativity, the exuberant energy of children to imagine the future and craft it with their very own hands. Much has been said about creativity, and in recent years a lot of new research has emerged, shedding new light on this complex human quality. Creativity is not something you…

Leaders make the future

  The second day of the Institute for the Future’s Ten Year Forecast retreat is now drawing to a close and I have an opportunity to sit back and reflect over the last 2 days, the people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, the information I have been inspired by and all the ideas batted around…

What makes collaboration work?

Collaboration is becoming increasingly important for both innovation and business success. It is also a key enabler to protect companies in the eye of the storm. Collaboration relies on individuals being accountable to each other ethically. 4 key principles are at the heart of this: Appreciation, Trust, Commitment and Recognition.

The full value of lead-user innovation

  Last week I had the pleasure to be at the Front End Innovation Europe conference, to give a key note on moving towards an eco-system of value creation with consumers. An interesting subject inviting speakers from a range of industries, this was bound to be a fascinating session. Prior to the conference the speakers…

Think Eco-Systems not just Issues

  Take global warming or government regulation as examples – these are all very complex topics, collections of variables where solving the problem cannot be achieved through solving one issue alone, but in fact the solution rests in addressing the eco-system tying together all the inter-linked variables. In fact, seeing things on purely the issue…

Avoiding the 3 pitfalls of Innovation based on Insight

  Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fierce proponent of innovation based on insight. How else would you be able to frame your innovation and understand whether what you are proposing is even relevant, unless you understand the competitive landscape in which you operate? The purpose of this post is not to question whether…

Debunking Popular Myths about Creativity

  Like innovation, there are plenty of misconceptions about creativity out there, which makes it all the more confusing when people are extolling the importance of creative skill in the 21st century. To continue my quest to unravel these complex topics this instalment is all about explaining what creativity is NOT. You have to be…

What Makes a Good Toy?

  All the recent attention focused on the toy industry courtesy of safety concerns seem to have not just caused any Chinese-manufactured toys to be viewed with suspicion and sent parents trawling through the Internet in search of advice on the matter, but also caused a wider shift in spending patterns link as parents increasingly…

Earning the Affinity of Your Consumers

  Some years ago I came across an excellent paper by Juan Pablo Valencia and Taryn Westberg at the London Business School, where extensive investigations were conducted into how experiences people have with brands influence their perception of it and how best to generate value from Brands through experiences. Their paper (Experience and the Brand)…

Visions of the Future: Understanding Trends

  Back to that time of the year again, I’m busy collaborating with people across the company and externally to pull together insights and inspire a new bout of business development for next year. It’s a fascinating subject, mapping the competitive landscape around any company, because some things you can control and knowing about them…

The 5 Rules of Growth

  What are the principles for creating growth? Or rather, what are the things you need to make sure your ideas for growth address in order for you to ensure they succeed? Growth is a word that sooner or later begins buzzing around a company, because cost-cutting – although great for survival, won’t get you…

Why the Desire to Simplify Can Inhibit Innovation

A friend recently postulated that having budget constraints can encourage better innovation than those with lots of money to burn as this provides a framework where automatically many things are out of bounds, because you can’t afford them. He proceeded to point to many start-ups often don’t have a lot of money, but make up for it…