What Are You Doing EVERY DAY?

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How long would it take you to write twenty monolog jokes for The Tonight Show?

For some of you the answer might be, “Maybe a day.” For others, it might be, “A million years.”

I used to be able to do it in roughly 30 minutes.

And these are real jokes, for the real Tonight Show.

It was back in the Jay Leno days, when I was producing my own comedy TV show in Seattle. Jay was a friend of the show, and he ...

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Feeling A Little Uncertainty? Good!

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Quick: What single word do you think best sums up the zeitgeist of today?

I think a good case could be made for the word “uncertainty.”

We’re all feeling it, to one degree or another. Uncertainty about the economy, uncertainty about U.S. democracy, uncertainty about global conflicts. There’s plenty of uncertainty to go around.

Bottom line: we don’t know what the future will bring. And how do you prepare for that?

You prepare for it by learning how to innovate.

When you have the ability ...

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What You Want Your Competitors To Be Thinking

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Here is what you want your competitors to be thinking right now:

“Boy, things are really uncertain. The economy is topsy-turvy, flights are being canceled right and left, and the country is reeling. We should probably hold off on any ‘frivolous’ expenses—like innovation—until things settle down.”

That’s what you want your competitors to be thinking right now.

Because right now is exactly when you should be doubling down on innovation.

In uncertain times, the innovative companies win. In fact, it’s often a double win, ...

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What Successful Innovation REALLY Is

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Successful innovation is not an event.

Successful innovation is not even a process.

Successful innovation is a mindset.

Here’s what the progression looks like:

1.    “We are widget-makers.”
2.    “We are widget-makers who innovate.”
3.    “We are innovators who happen to make widgets.”

It’s the difference between having “innovation” in the third paragraph of your mission statement hanging in the break room—and having innovation in your corporate DNA.

When innovation is in your corporate DNA, you are essentially bulletproof. You are no longer paralyzed by disruption because:

·     You now see ...

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How Dissatisfied Are You?

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I came to a bit of a revelation this morning, and I want to test it out here to see what you think. Here it is:

The core of innovation is dissatisfaction.

I know—sounds pretty negative, right? And now you’re thinking, “Gee, Bill, you’re really a ‘glass half empty’ guy, aren’t you?”

Well, I’m not. But I stand by my statement, and here’s why.

It’s because the innovator is constantly looking for problems to solve. The innovator is proactively seeking out the things that ...

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Are You One Of The “Cool Kids” In Your Industry?

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Are you one of the “Cool Kids” in your industry?

You: “I dunno, Bill. What do you mean by ‘Cool Kids?’”

The “Cool Kids” (CKs) of an industry are those people and businesses that you (and the marketplace) look at and say:

·     “Wow! They’ve really got this figured out!”
·     “Oh my goodness—they just changed the game…again!”
·     “I wish I were sitting at their table!”
·     “I wanna work for/with them!”
·     “I wanna be them!”

The Cool Kids are the leaders. The Cool Kids are the ...

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Are You Listening To The Quiet People?

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Here’s a great time-saver for all of you leaders who are looking for innovative ideas from your team. Don’t bother listening to:

·     the quiet people
·     people who are new to the organization
·     lower-paid team members
·     lower-ranked team members
·     interns
·     introverts

These people never have good ideas. At least, that’s what you might conclude if you were a fly on the wall in a typical corporate team meeting.

If you were that fly, you’d be forgiven for concluding that the only ideas that matter ...

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Innovation: It’s Not Just For Innovators Anymore!

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Innovation: It’s not just for innovators anymore.

When I worked in a large TV station, we had a department that was called “Creative Services.” I always thought that was a bit strange. This was television, after all—aren’t ALL of us in “creative services”?

But so many people (and so many companies) go through life believing that “creativity” and “innovation” should be relegated to the “wacky few.” So many leaders seem to have an attitude of, “Don’t talk to me about innovation; that’s ...

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Let’s Eliminate the Word “Failure”

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I’d like to start off the day with a bold proposal.

I propose we eliminate the word “failure” from the innovation equation.

Oh, I know. I can hear it now. “Failure is a necessary part of innovation.” “If you want to be a truly innovative company, you have to be willing to risk failure.” “If you’re not coming up with breakthrough innovations, it’s because you’re not failing enough.”

It’s maxims like this that make innovation, in the minds of many, practically synonymous with ...

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Innovation LOVES Contraints!

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It sounds counterintuitive, but creativity and innovation LOVE constraints!

I discovered this first-hand during the 15 years that I produced the longest-running, highest-rated, and most award-winning regional comedy TV show in the United States. Here’s just one example: One day, we had the opportunity to tape a comedy sketch with Michael Jordan (this is when he was still playing with the Bulls). But there were some constraints: we had only a 5-minute window with MJ, the sketch would have to be shot ...

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