Innovation thought to consider ...

Second Life has a place to create educational material and take classes. Wired News first reported this in 2004 (Campus Life Comes to Second Life). Now Second Life has formalized the educational zones and provide a wiki to learn more. What is interesting are some of the companies looking to take advantage of this: University of Phoenix and Well Fargo.

This is where a company looked at something outside their normal universe (games) and said "How can we take advantage of that to increase our value to our customers?".

Innovation tip: divergence and convergence

Quick tip: when generating ideas it is important to remember this is the divergent phase. At some point in the future you will need to converge to smaller numbers of ideas. In fact, you will most likely go through several waves of diverge and converge in the course of ideation on a challenge. Each wave kills off some ideas and generates new ones. But the end goal is to have a set of ideas that address the specified challenge and that can be executed on.

The picture shows tools like brain writing, build concepts/synthesis sheets, and build creating ideas in a divergent phase and tools like dots, idea build sheet and idea revision narrowing sets of ideas to smaller numbers for presentation.

Innovation experience trips

This last week I was in Columbus, Ohio with a client helping facilitate a group of 25 people in an innovation camp. First, the meeting space was excellent! We used the Spark Space. Mark (Chief Imagination Officer), Cat (Sparketing Director), and Meredith (Director of Guest Happiness) were excellent in helping us have a great week! Super Kudos to Meredith and Cat on addressing all the crazy and spontaneous requests.

As part of the innovation camp we had several experience trips. The first one was a lunch time self exploration to the North Market. The goal was to explore the way food and other items were displayed and enticed people to buy (see related post on Experience Map). My experience trip encountered several interesting signs for food.

Best of the Wurst

Goat Milk?

Duck Fat

The second experience trip was a group dinner to Whole Foods in Columbus. We arrived by bus and were led into a true experience. When you think of a grocery store, you think of just the tasks of getting the food on your list, getting through the checkout as fast as possible, and heading straight home... When you step in to Whole Foods you have to experience and explore!!!

All the grocery store assumptions (see related post on SCAMPER and assumption) are challenged and re-imagined at Whole Foods.

The asparagus was not just racked up, it was displayed for your eyes. The cheese and wine was not just some section in the corner, it was an event for you to feel, taste, smell. And they had the unusual; in this case the unusual was an ostrich egg!

The experience trip provided fun for the whole group, challenged basic assumptions we have about products and services, and a take away of looking with refreshed spirit at current and new projects. BTW, the dinner and service was super!

Update info from Front End of Innovation

As a follow-up to the 2006 Front End of Innovation conference in Boston May 22 - 24, courtesy of Joyce Wycoff of Think Smart Learning Systems, here is a PDF summary of the event.

Of great value was the contact with the various attendees. I especially enjoyed the lunch presentation by Gary Erickson, founder and CEO of Clif Bar.

The key reason I was at the conference was to make contacts and learn more about the needs companies have to in creating new, innovative products and services. Another reason I was there was to launch the Innovation Igniter product with Think Smart Learning Systems. InnovationCreation is working with Think Smart on the creation and delivery of the Innovation Igniter Thinking Wheel and Spark Project products. The Innovation Igniter product was well recieved by all.

Innovation Tools: The experience map.

Today's tool is "How to Find Buried Treasure Using Experience Maps" from Conifer Research. The tool is the experience map model: Entice, Enter, Engage , Exit, and Extend. The experience map is a model of how people experience a product, service, environment, or computer system. Like a good highway map,it organizes and abstracts complex reality to focus us on the important bits.

This is a great tool to run with a group of 15 to 25 to generate idea extensions. As the experience map is being drawn and explored, think about the question "Wouldn't it be great if ..."? and capture those thoughts. Don't evaluate the captures, just capture and move on. After each person is finished there will be a wall full of those "Wouldn't it be great if ..." captures that can be used as input to creating new ideas.

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