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  • Lowe's Innovation Labs

    Did you know that Lowe's, the home improvement retailer, has innovation labs? See the video above. "Lowe’s created Lowe’s Innovation Labs to build new technology to solve common consumer frustrations while working alongside start-ups, universities, specialized professionals and other companies." reports that "To share its learnings and draw on those of others, the Innovation Labs belongs to a "consortium" of non-competing organisations, ranging from quick-service chain Chick-fil-A to the World Bank." The first concept to come out of the lab is the Lowe’s Holoroom, "a home improvement simulator which applies 3-D and augmented reality technologies to provide homeowners an intuitive, immersive experience in the room of their dreams." The customer chooses their products from Lowe's and then, experiences them in the Holoroom. Next, they can make changes, finalize their plans, and get a printout to take home. A free app will allow the customer to share the plans with family and friends. Lowe’s partnered with SciFutures , a foresight and innovation consultancy, during the development of the Holoroom. Ari Popper, founder and co-CEO of SciFutures, said, “We use the power of science fiction narratives to predict future possibilities and explain complex technologies in a way everyone can understand. Using this science fiction prototyping process we collaborated with Lowe’s to see the world could look like, and their determination to bring that vision to life led to the Holoroom.” Kyle Nel, executive director of the labs, told Advertising Week , "A lot of companies have outside spaces, but we approach it in a different way, through science-fiction prototyping. You take all of your market research, all of your trend data and hire professional science-fiction writers. And they write real stories with conflict and resolution and characters. We turned it into a comic book and created possible stories or visions of the future." What do you think about giving homeowners the ability to envision remodeling projects with augmented reality? How can augmented reality satisfy consumer needs and wants?
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  • Texas Instruments CEO Rich Templeton Talks about Innovation

    Rich Templeton, CEO of Texas Instruments (TI), talks about innovation in the above video. He says that innovation is "doing something differently." In addition, he says that it is better to focus on fewer things and do those better. It has been said that "change is the only constant in business today." But, most of us do not like change. How does TI foster a culture of change? Do you have a willingness to change? If not, how can you develop a willingness to change? How can managers help employees be willing to change?
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  • Post-it Notes and Evernote are Tools for Innovation

    Dr. Spencer Silver, a 3M scientist, discovered Post-it Notes more than 40 years ago. Now, paper and technology are joined. In the video above, Evernote shows you how to capture your Post-it® Notes into Evernote, then save, tag, search, and sync them across all of your devices. David Lavenda reports for Fast Company and has written "How the Post-it Note Could Become the Latest Innovation Technology." In the article, IDEO CEO Tim Brown says that Post-it Notes are good for brainstorming. "Specifically, Brown proposes brainstorming sessions, during which each idea is written on a single Post-it Note and then stuck to a wall. Then, each participant is given a stack of Post-it Notes and told to stick a note on each idea they like. The ideas that accumulate the most Post-it votes progress to the next stage. This process continues until consensus emerges." You can find more ideas at 3M's Post-it Collaboration Central . Mr. Lavenda says, "Paper affords free-form annotation, so marking up ideas with a pen or marker is simple. Paper also affords following a history of ideas, since one note can be laid directly on top of another." How do you use Post-it Notes? Can the Post-it Notes go completely digital?
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  • National Day of Unplugging

    Have you unplugged yet? If not, today is National Day of Unplugging . Do you have a mobile phone? a computer? a tablet? Do you text while talking with others? Do you sleep with your phone? If so, unplug. Reboot created this project and encourages you "one day per week to unwind, unplug, relax, reflect, get outdoors, and connect with loved ones You can sign the attached Unplug pledge. What is the importance of signing the pledge? Will you sign it? Explain.
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  • Pizza Hut's Interactive Concept Table

    In this video, Pizza Hut , with the help of Chaotic Moon Studios , considers an interactive concept table. The table functions like a giant tablet app. Consumers order pizza in-store by building their pizza from the crust to the toppings right from their tabletop. Restaurant News reports, "While customers wait for a pizza at the interactive tables, they can play several games accessible from a screen that pops up after an order is placed." The article mentioned that consumers could pay at the table. Do you eat pizza in a restaurant? If not, why? If so, what do you do while you wait for your order? Could this be the future of the dine-in ordering experience? How might this change the need for hiring staff? Which jobs might be eliminated? Which jobs might be created? In what other businesses could this technology be used?
  • The Art of Innovation

    Guy Kawasaki used the slides below for his speech at TEDXBerkeley 2014. The Art of Innovation--TedXBerkeley 2014 from Guy Kawasaki In the video below, Mr. Kawasaki explains the art of innovation in 10 steps. How does he explain that innovators make "meaning in the world"? How can managers help companies become more innovative?
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  • Bill Gates Welcomes Satya Nadella as Microsoft CEO

    In this video, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates welcomes Satya Nadella as the company's new CEO. Mr. Gates says that "Microsoft has a long history of innovation." He goes on to talk about what Microsoft has done in the past. Mr. Gates will be a technology adviser to Mr. Nadella. In an email sent by Mr. Nadella to Microsoft’s nearly 130,000 Microsoft employees, he wrote, “We need to prioritize innovation.” Innovation has Latin roots meaning "new creation." Some businesses think innovation means to adapt. What do you think innovation means to Microsoft? Why is innovation so important to Microsoft?
  • The Pop Dongle by Pop Secret: The First-Ever Smellable Mobile Game

    Pop Secret's mobile game for iPhone and iPod Touch, Poptopia , has a mobile phone attachment, Pop Dongle, that emits the sweet-and-salty smell of popcorn every time a player swipes the butter inside the game. When players pop corn kernels, the Dongle will emit a spritz of popcorn scent. The dongle plugs into the audio jack, so the game emits a certain frequency signaling it to go ahead and spread the smell. Managers know that appealing to the senses helps sell products. In this game, players see movement, hear sounds, touch buttons, and smell popcorn. What would happen to sales if consumers could smell products on TV? on computer? Would sales increase? What disadvantages are there to smelling products? Visit , What are some more exciting product ideas?
  • Google's Maps Engine Pro

    Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps, said that Google's new Maps Engine Pro "will be the new document type, and Google's adding it to the arsenal. Every user can and should be a cartographer." Heather Folsom, the Maps Engine Pro product manager, explained, "Anything that has an address or physical place of being is not helped by spreadsheets. Maps Engine Pro uploads that info and places it on a map. She added that companies can use public data sheets as well, such as building development plans for a growing area or an area that's being rebuilt" (Source: Seth Rosenblatt, "Google Maps charts new territory into businesses," CNET, October 21, 2013). In the video above, Pure Fix Cycles demonstrates how they're using Google Apps and Maps to manage their operations as efficiently as possible. Map pins can be based on units and maps and drawing boundaries can be annotated. Seth Rosenblatt reports, "Google hopes that businesses will use Maps Engine Pro to help them chart and plan strategies, as it can be used for plotting not just client or customer addresses, but different price regions, locations where business is weak or nonexistent, and potential new locations." Think of a business situation using a spreadsheet. Could that information be placed on a map? How could that map help employees visualize a situation and then, its progress? How can managers use Maps Engine Pro?
  • Innovative Thinking

    Roberta B. Ness , dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health and the vice president for innovation at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, studied innovators and innovations and wrote a book about it, "Genius UnMasked," published by Oxford University. Ness identifies 11 tools that you can use to concentrate on ways of thinking and working. finding the right question observation analogy juggling induction and deduction changing point of view broadening perspective dissecting the problem reversal recombination and rearrangement the power of groups frame shifting Bess writes, "What this book hopes to demonstrate is that some of the most creative minds in science have used devices that any of us can learn to use, and which can improve our creative abilities." Which of these tools would you like to learn to improve your creative abilities?
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  • Steve Wozniack Tells the Auto Industry

    The Apple II, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad are very innovative and successful products. The Street asked Steve Wozniack , entrepreneur and co-founder of Apple , "What would you tell the automotive industry?" His answers are below. "Try to build quality products that are way above the competition." "Try to build things that didn't exist before -- that were not possible - that are very different inventions. Don't try to innovate and make things a little bit better. Try to think of a totally different solution to the problem. In this case, it might be electric cars instead of gas cars or self-driving cars. Those are very different solutions. But, when a product is different, it still has to make sense economically." What would you tell managers in the automotive industry? How could they sell more cars?
  • Owner versus CEO Management

    Jason Nazar of Docstoc presented 'Owner vs. CEO Management' for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerc e . He uses stories about his innovative Dad to represent business owners and compares his Dad's style to that of chief executive officers (CEOs). See the summary below. Source of graphic: Forbes Look at the graphic comparing business owners to CEOs. Would you add anything to this list? Is it better to run your business like an owner or CEO? Explain.
  • 10 Highlights from National Small Business Week

    Entrepreneurs are important to the economy of the United States. Thus, the United States government encourages competition. The Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the United States federal government "to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise, and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of the nation." SBA just celebrated 50 years of National Small Business Week . You can sign up for email updates from the SBA. I just received this email with "The top 10 highlights from the National Business Week." "SBA is no longer the federal government's best kept secret."- SBA Administrator Karen Mills John Stonecipher, President and CEO of Guidance Aviation in Arizona, was named the 2013 National Small Business Person of the Year "Technology helps level the playing field for entrepreneurs."- SBA Administrator Karen Mills Advice to entrepreneurs from Co-Founder of Square and Twitter Jack Dorsey- "Always ask the question why." "If you don't have a business mentor, go get one for free at ."- SBA Administrator Karen Mills "The 3 P's of entrepreneurship are people, passion and perseverance." - Steve Case, Chairman and CEO, Revolution Co-Founder, America Online Chairman, The Case Foundation "If you get a compliant about your business, go grab a cup of coffee. Think about a thoughtful response before replying."- Angie Hicks, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Angie's List "Cash flow is king to helping small businesses succeed."- Dave Rader, Wells Fargo, SBA's 7(a) Loan Program Lender of the Year "We need to make sure America stays a magnet for manufacturing, and small business plays a big part in that."- SBA Administrator Karen Mills "You don't have to look far to see the hard work of small business owners, they stand with their companies through every challenge and success."- Lee Rhodes, Founder, glassbaby Successful entrepreneurs report that they are more likely to be curious, passionate, self‐motivated, honest, courageous, and flexible. Which of these characteristics do you possess? Do you think you would be a good entrepreneur? Why or why not? Which of the ten highlights do you find most inspiring?
  • Human Capital Top Concern of CEOs

    Human capital was the top concern of global Chief Operating Officers (CEOs) in a recent survey by the Conference Board , a global, independent business membership and research association based in New York. Their mission is "To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society." Actually, human capital or the people thread underlies all of the CEO concerns. Human capital was chosen number one in Asia and in Europe. They see engaged and productive employees as the critical difference in their business. They feel that they can better compete by providing employees with training and development, raising engagement, and retaining top talent. CEOs in the United States (U.S.) are concerned about operational excellence (performance), government regulation, customer relations, innovation, and human capital. In terms of operational excellence, U.S. CEOs want to reduce costs. They are concerned about employee engagement and how to increase productivity through more motivated and excited employees. In addition to technology in innovation, CEOs want to create a culture of innovation. Why do the concerns of the U.S. CEOs differ from those of the global CEOs?
  • How to be More Creative at Work

    Creative problem-solving techniques include: Brainstorming Thinking outside the box Listening to music Daydreaming Drawing and/or doodling Taking a shower Which technique works best for you to come up with innovative ideas? Tell us about a time you solved a problem.