Thursday, April 23, 2009

Edison Awards

The 2009 Edison Awards recently took place. The awards recognize innovation in numerous categories, including:
  • consumer packaged goods
  • lifestyle & social impact
  • living & working environments
  • technology
  • media & communications
  • science & medical
  • energy & sustainability
  • transportation
  • electronics & computers
  • industrial design
Winners include Omnipod (an insulin management system), the Trek Madone 5.2 (a racing bike), and Rio Salado College. The Edison Awards also honored David Kelley, founder and chairman of IDEO, and Susan Desmond-Hellmann, Genentech's president of product development, for their lifetime achievements in innovation. Congratulations to all the winners!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Edward de Bono's weekly message: Soccer

I once suggested a change to the rules of soccer. When there is a draw then extra time is played. If there is still a draw there there is a penalty shoot-out. This introduces an element of luck. In addition if one side has a player good at penalty shooting then that side would win.

My suggestion would reflect the whole game. Every time the goalkeeper touched the ball that side gets a minus point. This would encourage attacks on goal and discourage passing back to the goal-keeper. After extra time if the score was stil equal then the side with the least minus points is the winner. This now reflects the whole game.

It may take a long time for this rule to be adopted. Meantime newspaper reporters could report a game as Goals 3 - 1; de Bono 10 - 30. That way people would get used to the idea.

Edward de Bono
18th April 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Innovation Climate Survey

InnovationTools recently released an Innovation Climate Survey. They find that, despite the recession, companies are by and large continuing to support innovation efforts.
  • Nearly half the respondents reported that in their organizations, the climate for innovation has improved since the economic crisis began. Another one-fourth reported no change. Only one-fourth described a deteriorating innovation climate.
  • Nearly two-thirds report that their budget for innovation initiatives has either grown or remained steady. Only one-third of respondents have witnessed cuts to the innovation budget.
The survey describes the areas that companies are prioritizing for innovation (number one: "looking for creative ways to improve or extend your existing products"). There is also a qualitative section which excerpts respondents' comments.

Friday, April 17, 2009

BusinessWeek's Most Innovative Companies 2009

The latest BusinessWeek rankings of the world's most innovative companies are out.

The winners? Naturally, the top ten are dominated by technology and telecommunications firms: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, IBM, HP, Research in Motion, Nokia, etc.

But farther down the list, we find a few surprises. Wal-Mart (#10)? McDonald's (#19)? Coca-Cola (#24)?

BusinessWeek has also published its rankings methodology.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy World Creativity & Innovation Week!

Today marks the beginning of World Creativity and Innovation Week. In the words of Marci Segal, the co-founder:

World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 - 21 is a celebration of our ability to get new ideas, use imagination and make new decisions to make the world a better place and to make your place in the world better too. Do what you can, do what you like. There’s only one rule: do no harm.

Since 2002, people in businesses, homes, organizations, schools and communities (106 at last count) in over 46 countries spend the week beginning April 15th (Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday), ending on April 21st to enliven, encourage, enjoy and express their creative spirit.

Imagine the world united through its creativity. Where everyone takes a moment, a day, or the week to generate new ideas to create a brighter future wherever they are.

Here are some examples of ways that people have celebrated, and here are the origins of WCIW.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Miles Davis' Lessons in Innovation

Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge, a publication that previews cutting-edge faculty research, has just published Kind of Blue: Pushing Boundaries with Miles Davis. In this interview, Rob Austin and Carl Størmer discuss the radical innovation inherent in Miles Davis' seminal record, the underlying principles that enabled him to achieve it, and the lessons that today's managers can draw.

Most significant is the language Austin and Størmer use to describe Miles Davis. He was obviously an extraordinarily gifted musician, but they place greater emphasis on his skills as a manager, leader, and collaborator. They describe, for example, Davis' ability to manage the creative process, his efforts to create an top-notch ensemble and establish a productive team dynamic, and his techniques for jolting musicians out of their habitual thinking patterns and into fresh, new terrain. Any manager or business leader will instantly grasp the relevance of these ideas to his or her own situation.

Moreover, fans of Edward de Bono will recognize many of the Six Hats and Lateral Thinking concepts at work. Austin and Størmer don't use the de Bono language, nor do they suggest any connection between Davis and Dr. de Bono. However, it's striking that in his own attempts to create a new musical landscape, Miles Davis intuitively seemed to grasp many of the same principles that Dr. de Bono later explicated.

In short, it's a fascinating interview. Do read it.

Edward de Bono's weekly message: de Bono Society

I have been asked to set up a society for motivated thinkers. This is at Further details are available at this site. There will be occasional podcasts, tasks, suggestions, instructions, team building etc. There are people who are genuinely interested in thinking. They are not only interested in proving they are right or in showing off but also in developing further skills in thinking.

In the end thinking is the only means we have for delivering human values. Yet no bookshop has a section devoted to thinking. No university has a faculty of thinking. Only a few schools have a subject called 'thinking'. That is because we have been so satisfied with limited traditional thinking.

Edward de Bono

10th April 2009

The Revolution of Creativity - Lateral Thinking Immersion Class

Executives, entrepreneurs, educators, consultants, and others will gather in Boston, June 21-24, for the Creative Problem Solving Institute's annual conference The Revolution of Creativity.

Participants will choose from keynote presentations, 90-minute breakouts, and elective classes focusing on innovation and creativity.

When registering, sign up for the Lateral Thinking for Innovative Leaders Immersion Class. This interactive class, developed by Dr. Edward de Bono, provides a disciplined approach to innovation, idea generation, and concept development.

Register for the Revolution of Creativity

Bring Lateral Thinking Training to Your Organization

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Public Innovator's Playbook

And speaking of innovation as a solution to the economic crisis, Deloitte Research and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government have published The Public Innovator's Playbook, which draws the connection between innovation and public policy. More importantly, authors William Eggers and Shalabh Kumar Singh lay out specific ways in which governments can become more innovative and generate better solutions to today's problems. As they say in the foreword, "The goal of this book is to... help governments become serial innovators."

Here is the press release, which describes the book in more detail. The entire book is available for download from Deloitte or in hard copy via Amazon.

Edward de Bono in Lebanon

Edward de Bono was in Beirut earlier this week, discussing the role of creativity in the economic downturn. Dr. de Bono described his thinking methodology in general, as well specific applications to the economy and to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Lebanese Daily Star covers his visit here.