Did you know that brandy was the unintended consequence of a medieval tax dodge?

Brandy is a distilled drink made from wine, though some forms are created from mash made from fruits other than grapes. Some brandies are aged in wooden casks. It is generally served as an after dinner drink, though it is also used as the basis of mixed drinks such as brandy alexander. The name comes from […]

brandy idea innovation

The unintended consequence of a headache cure invented one of the most popular products in the world

Coca Cola is the most famous soft drink in existence and has penetrated almost every corner of the globe. What many do not know is that Coca Cola started as the unintended consequence when someone was attempting to invent a headache cure. Back in the 1880s John Pemberton, a struggling pharmacist, was attempting to develop a natural cure for headaches by mixing […]

unintended consequence coca cola

Find A Way To Say ‘Yes’ To Non-Obvious Ideas

The world is made up of ‘yes’ people and ‘no’ people. We need more optimistic — more hopeful people who find a way to say yes to non-obvious ideas. During Thomas Jefferson’s presidency in the early 1800’s, he and a group of travelers were crossing a river that had overflowed its banks. Each man crossed […]

Say Yes

Innovation in America: How the Government Helps and Hurts

Formerly a global hotbed of innovation, the United States in recent years and decades has regressed back to the mean as several other countries are catching up. In a previous post, I’ve examined the role our education system plays in hampering (and helping) innovation. But what role does our government play? The Government’s Role in […]

children creativity inspiration

Hey, What’s the Next Big Idea?! Look for Answers From Your Employees Rather Than Outside Experts

One old idea that continues to block the route to new ones is that only certain people in an organization has the answers to business problems or the ability to find “the next big idea“.  The fact of the matter is that, when it comes to innovation, executives with heaps of industry experience are more weighed down by their […]

next big idea innovation teamwork

Post-It Notes: 4 Lessons for Innovators

I love the behind-the-scenes story of Post-it notes. How many of these little, yellow sorta-stickies are flagged around your house or your office? Did you know they were originally a mistake? A very very fortunate mistake. As the story goes, Spencer Silver was a chemist and a very smart man. In 1968, he worked in the […]

post-it notes post it

A Moment of Inspiration

A wonderful piece on Inc.com highlights how a moment of inspiration — extracting a cork from a wine bottle — resulted in The Innovation Story of the Year — a new way to safely extract babies stuck in the birth canal. Also reported in the New York Times last month, the story of Argentine car mechanic Jorge Odón illustrates the unpredictable […]

moment of inspiration

5 Innovation Failures That Changed the World

On some level, we are all afraid of failure.  It’s a natural instinct to want to succeed, to be proud of your work, and…well, to be able to brag about your accomplishments at class reunions rather than being reminded of our failures. The sad truth is, into each life must come to a little failure. […]

Innovation failures and what can you learn from them

Be Willing To Be Weird

ITU Commencement Speech - May 2017

Below is the video and transcript for my commencement speech at ITU last month. The topic of the speech was on the entanglement of fear, failure and conformity. To be successful, we all must be willing to be weird. Be different. Use our creativity to win in the emerging creative economy. Note: The following transcript […]

Is the fear of failure killing your creativity and hindering your success?

If you look at any of your favorite creative projects, you will see a polished gem staring you in the face.  And this is where most people stop.  The final product is so amazing that it intimidates them.  Fear and doubt paralyze their minds, their thoughts become jumbled.  And they forget the most important factor in any creative […]

fear of failure