Tech Ceviche in Peru

Posted by Scott Underwood on 3/11/18 1:31 PM

Since 2015, we have been leading design thinking workshops with our good friends at UTEC, a technology and engineering university in Lima, Peru. Through UTEC's executive education group, our Innovation Agent Training Certificate program is building a cohort of design thinking champions who are changing their organizations across a wide variety of industries.

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Topics: Examples, Innovation Capacity

Today is a Prototype for Tomorrow: You are All Designers!

Posted by Leon Segal on 2/12/18 7:00 AM

"You, too, are a designer. Whether you’re designing a toy, writing code, defining a new business strategy, treating a patient, or delivering a speech: your actions and what you deliver have an impact on the world around you by changing the experience of people." --Leon Segal, CEO

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Topics: Reflection & Integration, Empathy & Inspiration, Innovation Capacity

We Were All Designers Once: How to Reclaim Creative Confidence

Posted by Scott Underwood on 7/12/17 9:02 AM

When we are children, we naturally find many ways to be creative. We become actors, builders, musicians, artists, designers — sometimes all in the course of a single day. But over time, many of us succumb to the pressure of fitting in or fear of ridicule and we lose confidence in our abilities, leading us to stop exercising our innate creativity.

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Topics: General, Ideation & Brainstorming, Storytelling, Innovation Capacity

Peter Drucker Inspires Innovation Through Design Thinking

Posted by Scott Underwood on 3/17/17 8:00 AM

“Culture eats strategy for lunch.” We love that quote. It comes from the management consultant Peter Drucker and he meant that you can make all the plans you want, but it’s your corporate culture that will ultimately drives success.

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Topics: Test & Prototype, Ideation & Brainstorming

Collaboration + Creativity + Empathy = Innovation

Posted by Scott Underwood on 2/14/17 4:08 PM

To solve big problems, you need many perspectives colliding together, creating surprising combinations and leading to great ideas. This is collaborative creativity, when people apply their skills together to solve an old problem challenge in a new way.

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Topics: Empathy & Inspiration

Three Tips to Better Innovation

Posted by Leon Segal on 12/6/16 2:13 PM

I really enjoyed being a guest speaker at the Hubspot INBOUND 2016 conference this month in Boston. I was delighted that my session, Today is a Prototype for Tomorrow, was attended by over 400 people.  

One insight from the conference that I want to share is how technology has transformed the conference-going experience. From QR codes, through near-field sensors, to smart badges and real-time updates, the seamless emergence of an "event-based community" of thousands is amazing to observe. 

Check out my short 4 minute video from the conference that talks about the reason why some companies are consistently creative and innovative... and others are not.


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Topics: Innovation Capacity

The Sound of Healing Part 2: The Jingle of Life

Posted by Scott Underwood on 11/10/16 1:22 PM

As a follow-up to my last blog post, I'll tell a personal story of the use of sound to change the perception of the hospital environment.
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Topics: Reflection & Integration, Empathy & Inspiration

Leveraging Design Thinking in Hospitals: The Sound of Healing

Posted by Scott Underwood on 10/18/16 4:56 PM

Hospitals are intended to be places of healing, recovery, and rest. But walk into any busy hospital ward, and listen: the experience is usually anything but calming.

The typical cacophony of noise in a hospital includes televisions, phones, intercoms, and constant beeps, chirps, hums, and alarms from medical devices. All of which creates stress and increases the torment for people in pain.

And for hospital staff,  a phenomenon known as “alarm fatigue” can set in: the incessant, routine noise of hospital machinery leads to delayed responses to audio warnings for actual emergencies, which can have a negative impact on patients’ health and safety. Remember the boy who cried wolf?

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Topics: Empathy & Inspiration, Examples

Innovation Factors of Creativity, Empathy, and Collaboration

Posted by Leon Segal on 6/20/16 12:05 PM

As you know, we love teaching design thinking: Our integrated learning programs focus on the practice and application of specific skills that, through repetition and integration, help develop a new mindset. 

We're often asked: "What are the fundamentals of innovation? What are the most essential ingredients that provide the conditions for innovation to emerge?" Well, we like to think of these as the three "Innovation Factors" of Creativity, Empathy, and Collaboration.

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Go Paper, Go Vertical, Go Visual, Go Big

Posted by Scott Underwood on 5/12/16 5:52 PM

Remember maps? You know, paper maps, those big unwieldy foldy things you kept in the glove compartment of your car?

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Topics: General, Reflection & Integration, Leadership & Organization

Why don't employees innovate?

Posted by Leon Segal on 4/22/16 9:28 AM

According to a recent survey and HBR article, while executives say they want new ideas, employees often feel it is just empty talk; employees want to be involved with innovation, but feel they are rarely given the chance. All too often, "innovation" is something that people are expected to do in addition to all their other tasks. And as everyone is working at 120% to begin with, that doesn't leave any time for the open and creative exploration needed to innovate. 

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Why invest in design?

Posted by Leon Segal on 2/22/16 1:41 PM

The short answer is that it produces great customer experiences.  And, producing great customer experiences leads to positive business outcomes like customer satisfaction, social sentiment, revenue growth and lifetime value.  

This insightful video presents research by Forrester that provides insight into why many leading organizations are investing in design, and user experience, as a creator of value. Think Apple...

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Can you see what's NOT there?

Posted by Leon Segal on 2/5/16 11:09 AM

Anyone who's recently attended a workshop of ours knows this is a story we really like: how seeing what's not there was key to increasing aircraft survivability in WW2. Read the story.

For us, this story is a wonderful example of learning to look, and learning to see beyond the obvious. We encourage people to leave their office and go out into the world with open eyes, ears, and heart; look, listen, and empathize in order to learn and discover new opportunities for creativity and innovation.

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Re-think and Re-imagine With a Design-Centered Strategy

Posted by Leon Segal on 1/26/16 7:24 PM

These were words from Virginia M. Rometty, IBM's chief executive, when she talked about adopting a design-centered strategy at IBM.  

This recent New York Times article tells the story of how IBM is adopting a culture of design thinking to help accelerate their pace of change, solve problems in new ways and improve their customers' experience.  

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Creativity and the Brain

Posted by Leon Segal on 11/20/15 1:30 PM

As amateur musicians, both Scott and I loved reading this article by Katrina Schwartz, Creativity and the Brain: What We Can Learn From Jazz Musicians. The connection between improvising music and innovation is, to us, very clear.

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Ubiquitous Innovation: What are your thoughts?

Posted by Leon Segal on 10/12/15 5:00 PM


How can we make observation, ideation, and prototyping an integral part of daily life?

Post your comments and questions, and we'll be happy to respond and add our perspective.


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Topics: General, Empathy & Inspiration, Examples

Bringing Design Thinking to UTEC in Lima, Peru

Posted by Scott Underwood on 8/24/15 4:06 PM

Larry and I just got back from teaching a design thinking workshop for three days in Lima, Peru, where we had a great time! The food, the people, the ocean -- I recommend it, and not just as a stop on the way to Cuzco.

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Topics: General

Why Design THINKING?

Posted by Leon Segal on 7/6/15 11:43 AM


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Topics: Defining & Framing, General

Steve Jobs: The Value of Early Prototyping

Posted by Leon Segal on 5/18/15 10:10 AM

Prototypes are the currency of innovation. Ideas, in and of themselves, are great for greasing the wheels of innovation and keeping the creative fire burning. But for an idea to be useful, it must be contextualized, it must be presented in what we consider to be a prototype.


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Topics: General, Test & Prototype

And the Oscar goes to...

Posted by Leon Segal on 2/24/15 11:03 PM

The Global Innovation Summit in San Jose was great: the Oscar goes to T2VC for a wonderful event.

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Topics: General, History

Intelligent devices can make us stupid

Posted by Leon Segal on 2/16/15 9:11 PM

Navigation apps are great at getting us to our destination, but teach us nothing about the place we're in. The more they tell us, the less we know.

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Topics: General, History

Compounding Pharmacy Makes Innovation Agents

Posted by Scott Underwood on 12/4/14 1:04 PM

A large compounding pharmacy hired Innovationship for design thinking training and consulting. Over four months, participants generated concrete ideas for near-term product improvements, and emerged with the skills they need to drive ongoing innovation.

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Topics: Examples, Innovation Capacity

Isaac Asimov's Brainstorming Advice to Nuclear Scientists in 1959

Posted by Leon Segal on 11/5/14 6:00 AM

Way back in 1959, Isaac Asimov gave a small group of ballistic missile defense system scientists piercing insights regarding the creative process — even describing brainstorming sessions in high detail. Fifty-five years later, one of those scientists, Arthur Obermayer, PhD, has shared Asimov's insights with the public.

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Topics: Ideation & Brainstorming, History, Innovation Capacity

Treat: Design Thinking Workshop at Stanford for Ashoka's Catapult

Posted by Scott Underwood on 10/31/14 6:00 AM

We’re looking forward to leading a design thinking workshop this Friday for Ashoka’s Catapult, a business incubator that aims to source the world’s best young entrepreneurs.

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Topics: Leadership & Organization, Innovation Capacity, Mentoring

Creative Collaboration Thrives at TechWomen 2014 (#TW2014)

Posted by Leon Segal on 10/21/14 7:30 AM

Creative collaboration was everywhere we looked at #TW2014, where Scott, Anna and I led a design thinking workshop. Here are my takeaways from co-presenting at this remarkable gathering.

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Topics: Leadership & Organization, Innovation Capacity, Mentoring

Handout on Design Thinking Questions

Posted by Leon Segal on 10/16/14 1:45 PM

Sharing the fundamentals of design thinking means giving people a methodical way to approach creative collaboration. It's a true pleasure to see workshop participants "get" the approach and embrace it in their work processes. To that end, here is a handout on design thinking questions that we give to workshop participants.

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Topics: Defining & Framing, Test & Prototype, Reflection & Integration, Ideation & Brainstorming, Leadership & Organization, Storytelling, Empathy & Inspiration, Examples, Innovation Capacity, Mentoring

Innovation Begins With An Eye: Empathy & Design Thinking

Posted by Scott Underwood on 10/3/14 11:55 AM

In this post I connect the concept of the "empathic practitioner" with the concept that "innovation begins with an eye" — a phrase Leon coined and Tom Kelley reused in his book The Art of Innovation.

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Topics: Defining & Framing, History, Empathy & Inspiration

An Innovation Agent's 9 Essential Skills

Posted by Scott Underwood on 9/25/14 9:00 AM

The capacity to innovate comprises a set of skills that are learned, and earned, through rigorous practice and expert mentoring. Skilled individuals — we call them Innovation Agents — use their new knowledge to instigate a revolution. Below is an excerpt from our booklet Building Agents of Innovation, that discusses their essential skills.

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Topics: Leadership & Organization, Innovation Capacity

Innovation Mentoring Offer to Debut at NBIS

Posted by Leon Segal on 9/18/14 4:27 PM

At the North Bay Innovation Summit this week, one prize for competition winners is use of our Innovation Mentoring service. Other companies can use it to drive business innovation, too.

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Topics: Leadership & Organization, Innovation Capacity, Mentoring

Jim Yurchenco and Isaac Newton

Posted by Leon Segal on 9/10/14 10:44 AM

Attending Jim Yurchenco's retirement party a couple of weeks ago reminded me of a time I watched him work with a brilliant inventor. Here I'll try to relate the story.

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Topics: Examples