Innovating in a Culture of Convergence

Innovation Product Design by Michelle Greenwald –
How exactly do we define innovation? While it’s probably the most overused term in business today, innovation is not a fad. It’s not even new. What differentiates a smart innovation—and makes it worth writing about—is that it has the capability of moving a business forward in ways that can result in more customers, more sales, more brand loyalty, more good will, or some combination of those effects. Smart innovation is capable of providing a company with competitive advantage. Innovations are smart when they are not just inventions for innovation’s sake, just to be new and different; rather they provide a strategic benefit.

Innovation has always been relevant because it aims to satisfy unmet consumer and business needs; as the new-product development time-to-market continues to shrink and product life cycles get shorter and shorter, the term will become even more relevant. What qualifies as an innovation, in my mind, is a product, service, aspect, or feature that is new, different, surprising, clever, fresh, attention-getting, challenging of conventional ways things are done, and is an obvious improvement on “what’s out there” in that particular product category and geographical area. [Read more…]

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What Good Does Design Do For Business?

Good Design business lamp futuristic designby Thomas Lockwood –
Have you noticed how similar some products are becoming? A Tesla and a Lotus, that’s an easy one. But I’m talking about the similarities between seemingly disparate objects, like an Audi car and Oakley sunglasses, a 3M stapler and an Alessi teapot, or a Starbucks café and your bank lobby. Consumers love cool design, and, in case you haven’t heard, companies are catching on. Investing in the design process can be a sustainable business advantage, because it tends to lead to five things: creative collaboration, innovation, differentiation, simplification, and customer experience.

For starters, designers tend to collaborate with each other, other disciplines, and users to generate new ideas, explore alternatives, and create new stuff (products, websites, brands, stores, etc.). The process of design thinking, co-creation, and design as creative collaboration can help companies move beyond their norms and create new markets. [Read more…]

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Why 20% Should Be New 25% In Reforming Corporate Rate

Investors Business Daily by Ryan Ellis –

If there’s a common denominator in tax reform and economic growth packages, it’s this: the corporate rate is too high, and needs to come down for the sake of keeping our employers competitive internationally. Even most on the Left have accepted this.

The most common tax-rate target is 25%. Because of how the world has been moving in the direction of low corporate tax rates, however, this is no longer good enough — and might even result in a worse outcome than the status quo.

First, a little background. A generation or two ago, the entire developed world had high corporate income-tax rates. In 1981, the developed nation average was 47%. Canada had a 51% rate. The United Kingdom levied a rate of 52%. [Read more…]

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How the Mighty Fall: A Primer on the Warning Signs

How the Mighty FallBy Jim Collins –
The author of Good to Great on how to spot the subtle signs that your successful company is actually on course to sputter—and how to reverse the slide before it’s too late.

I pondered and puzzled and finally settled upon the question: Is America renewing its greatness, or is America dangerously on the cusp of falling from great to good? While I intended the question to be rhetorical (I believe America carries a responsibility to continuously renew itself, and it has met that responsibility throughout its history), the West Point gathering nonetheless erupted into an intense debate. Half of the participants argued that America stands as strong as ever, while the other half contended that America teeters on the edge of decline.

History shows, repeatedly, that the mighty can fall. The Egyptian Old Kingdom, the Chou Dynasty, the Hittite Empire—all fell. Athens fell. Rome fell. Even Britain, which stood a century before as a global superpower, saw its position erode. Is that the U.S.’s fate? Or will America always find a way to meet Lincoln’s challenge to be the last best hope of Earth?

At a break, the chief executive of one of America’s most successful companies pulled me aside. “I’ve been thinking about your question in the context of my company all morning,” he said. “We’ve had tremendous success in recent years, and I worry about that. So what I want to know is: How would you know?” [Read more…]

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Building Online Trust: 7 Tips for Being Authentic Online

Being Authentic Onlineby Alice Hansen –
How can you make sure your brand inspires trust online? These tips will help your company feel more real—and build real relationships—through transparency and honesty.

A client working on her social media strategy asked me a couple of days ago for guidance on gauging the credibility of industry bloggers. She wants to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with opinion-leading peers in her market space. Without actually meeting these people, how can one tell a legitimate, trusted expert source from a self-proclaimed one?

That question of whom to trust is the same for all of us when evaluating a business online. We look for basic data points to validate legitimacy. [Read more…]

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Entrepreneurs: Leading the Way Out

Entrepreneurs Lead by Greg Pesci –
Entrepreneurs, free to pursue their economic dreams, built America! They are, and always have been, its creators of jobs, growth, and wealth.

In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America:“It may be said that, in the United States, there is no limit to the inventiveness of man to discover the ways of increasing wealth and to satisfy the public’s needs.” He continued, “the primary reason for [America’s] rapid progress, their strength and greatness is their bold approach to industrial undertakings.” What impressed De Tocqueville most about business in America was “not so much the marvelous grandeur of some undertaking as the innumerable multitude of small ones.”

Data from the Census Bureau (Business Dynamics Statistics) demonstrate that since 1977 American entrepreneurs in firms less than five years old have been responsible for literally all the net job creation in this country. For more than 30 years, new companies have led job creation in America. Recently, Carl J. Schramm of the Kauffman Foundation stated, “new and young companies and the entrepreneurs that create them are the engines of job creation and eventual recovery.” With 9.8 percent unemployment, if we want to create jobs in America we need to free up entrepreneurs and not burden them with increased taxes or regulation. [Read more…]

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The Only Way Out for the American Economy

by Steve McCann –
Economic despair reigns in America, as stagnation and mounting debt make our future look hopeless. Yet America is uniquely positioned to rebound and recover our economic preeminence. All that is necessary is a political decision to reverse our energy policy and stimulate domestic production of hydrocarbons. From that would flow a true economic stimulus that would mend many of our ills. [Read more…]

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8 Ways to Foster Innovation in Your Company

Foster Innovation

Creativity fosters innovation, but how can you ignite creative sparks within your organization? Inc.com compiled lessons on developing a vibrant research and development strategy.

To come up with their best new ideas, most companies turn to an inexpensive and efficient source of innovation: their own employees. How can you unleash the creative spirit lurking in your workforce? Here are eight of the best strategies we’ve uncovered in recent months.

1. Let Every Employee Play Designer.
Three years ago, the five-person research and development team at pet-accessory company West Paw Design had a case of collective writer’s block. A production manager named Seth Partain proposed holding a contest for the company’s three-dozen employees. Everyone from salespeople to seamstresses were encouraged to spend an afternoon designing and producing prototypes for new products. Following an end-of-day vote, a winner was crowned at an award ceremony. By making employees feel a part of the idea-creation process, West Paw Design set up a new pipeline of product development. [Read more…]

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Volt Fraud At Government Motors

GM Volt car Government Fraud and Failure10/19/2010 – IBD Editorial –

Government Motors’ all-electric car isn’t all-electric and doesn’t get near the touted hundreds of miles per gallon. Like “shovel-ready” jobs, maybe there’s no such thing as “plug-ready” cars either.

The Chevy Volt, hailed by the Obama administration as the electric savior of the auto industry and the planet, makes its debut in showrooms next month, but it’s already being rolled out for test drives by journalists. It appears we’re all being taken for a ride.

When President Obama visited a GM plant in Hamtramck near Detroit a few months ago to drive a Chevy Volt 10 feet off an assembly line, we called the car an “electric Edsel.” Now that it’s about to hit the road, nothing revealed has changed our mind. [Read more…]

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Eight Ideas for Small Business Success

Privé Products 10/5/2010 – Drew Neisser –
How petite Privé Products succeeded where giant P&G couldn’t.

Before I could even get in my first question, my hands were already covered with a soft liquid that transformed into a foamy shampoo. An excited Jackie Applebaum, the CEO of, exclaimed that “this is an unbelievable shampoo and never before has this been done in a can.” And before my hands were dry, she had me trying a non-aerosol mousse from a tiny 2.5 ounce bottle that Applebaum noted was “also blowing out the door.” This emphasis on unique products was both refreshing and enlightening, setting up this 8-point guide for small business success.

1. Create unique products to take the challenge out of marketing
With sales expected to rise 30% in 2010, obviously Applebaum is not alone in her enthusiasm for Privé’s new products. “The assignment I gave the lab is that I don’t want ‘me too’ products,” offered Applebaum. “We now have cutting edge products with cutting edge delivery systems that the market is responding to,” she added. While many small businesses feel out gunned by their larger competitors R&D departments, Privé decided that having unique products that “marketed themselves” would be the only way they could cost-effectively build their company. [Read more…]

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Just Manic Enough: Seeking Perfect Entrepreneurs

9/18/2010 – David Segal –
Imagine you are a venture capitalist. One day a man comes to you and says, “I want to build the game layer on top of the world.”

You don’t know what “the game layer” is, let alone whether it should be built atop the world. But he has a passionate speech about a business plan, conceived when he was a college freshman, that he says will change the planet — making it more entertaining, more engaging, and giving humans a new way to interact with businesses and one another. [Read more…]

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Entrepreneurship Helps Make America Great

6/30/2010 – John Stossel –
For all its problems, America is a great place. And one thing that makes America great is its prosperity. Yes, some people have suffered during the recession — but compared to all the other countries in the history of the world, America is rich. Why?

One reason is that America is a good place to do business. [Read more…]

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