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Prize-Based Innovation Challenges: Learning From Yester Era’s Giants, They Were There Before Us!

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We live in a world of unabashed self-promotion. Politicians, academics, consultants, companies constantly in search of opportunities to unfurl their flag, looking for niches and coves they can invade, claim as their own. Not surprising, therefore, to find modern-day idea merchants claiming to be originators, pioneers, the first to have given birth to a concept […]

Experimentation and Thomas Edison

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Every time, and I mean every time, you innovate anything, you have done so by trial and error. Genius short circuits the process. Talent gets it quicker, but the process of innovation is the same. Trial. And. Error. The latest findings from the neurosciences show that the brain aggregates memory and builds trial and error […]

Collaboration Makes Our Brains Bigger

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I was recently enthralled by a TED presentation by Dan Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and author of Stumbling on Happiness. Current research by neuroscientists indicates that in the last two million years, the human brain has nearly tripled in mass, going from the 1¼-pound brain used by our Homo Habilis ancestors of 2,000,000 years ago, to […]

The Endless Immensity of the Sea

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Collaboration is an art and a science. We know a good deal about the science. We tend to overlook the art. A few weeks ago, my nephew asked me what the word “expert” means. I told him it was all about learning. The expert was a person who learned a lot about something, and learned […]

Edison’s 150 Questions: A Collaboration and Co-Creation Masterclass

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Innovation, especially collaborative innovation, or co-creation, requires the judicious use of collaborators.  While it is instructive to recognize and applaud modern pace setters like Apple, P&G, Unilever, Lego, and Nike, it is important to recognize that few achievements, if any, are stand-alone; they usually stand on the shoulders of titans of a previous era.   […]

Consumer-Created Ads Cross The Chasm

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Consumer-generated ads may have started off as a curiosity, as light-hearted fun.  But they have crossed the chasm and user-generated content (UGC), an umbrella term for all consumer-generated material, including ads, is serious business at a large number of companies today.  Its not just Frito Lay, and Pepsi; companies like Coke, HP, and Best Buy […]

The Social Benefits of Collaboration and Co-Creation

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Large scale citizen protests in Tunisia, Egypt, and earlier in Iran and Mayanmar (aka Burma), are symptomatic of very deep-rooted social diseases.  Problems like corruption, neglect of infrastructure, abuse of police and political power are too complex to be handled by one-dimensional solutions, no matter how well intentioned.  However, in each case there is a […]

Co-Creation and the $300 House

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UPDATE: I’ve posted an entry on the $300 House on the Harvard Business Review site: The $300 House: The Co-creation Challenge >> One of my professors, the late C.K. [Prahalad], used to say that “managers are so preoccupied with operating efficiently that they don’t even think about value in terms of the consumer’s experience.” Sadly, […]

Co-Creation and Customization: An Interview

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Recently, I had the pleasure of being introduced to ICFAI University, one of India’s leading educational institutions, recognized for its skills in developing innovative educational programs and writing insightful case studies.  It is also a leading publisher, 18 magazines and 46 journals, in areas such as marketing, finance, environment, and health care. Effective Executive is […]