innovation process

How to identify innovation opportunities

Innovation is a process that stymies many companies. They’re so eager to find their next big breakthrough that they don’t realize that innovation is a simple process that anyone can learn.

It’s not a matter of waiting and waiting till you hit a home run. Successful innovation is all about getting the basics right every day, and hitting lots of singles.

One innovative-thinking technique we use at Spyder Works is the “Rule or Guideline?” game. We ask clients to write down a list of all the rules at their businesses that they know they mustn’t break. These lists invariably include laws, safety rules and industry regulations, but also lots of conventions, rules of thumbs, best practices and bad habits. We then ask the clients to cross off all the rules that have been legislatively imposed – the rules where an authority can actually punish you for violating. You don’t want to break those rules.

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Wisepreneur: An Interview with Ken Tencer

An interview with Ken Tencer by Calvin Bacon, originally published on

After reading The 90% Rule, Wisepreneur writer Calvin Bacon had a few questions for innovation expert and author Ken Tencer. Here are the questions followed by Mr. Tencer’s answers.

Calvin: You use the word “audacity” several times throughout The 90% Rule when you discuss entrepreneurial thinking. Is this similar to the risk-taking characteristic that many people think of when speaking about entrepreneurship?

Ken: The definition of audacity centers around the willingness to challenge assumptions and conventions. So, it is not about risk-taking; it is about refusing to accept “what is” as a given. I think that this is the essence of the entrepreneur, “pushing to create a new, better reality”. Without this essential quality of entrepreneurship, we’d be short more than a few of our modern trappings like cars, planes and, of course, Blackberries.

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Time and money take a backseat when inspiring innovation

All too often, when I speak to companies or deliver keynotes to audiences, I can see that the notion of innovation is both intriguing and frightening.  It brings with it the perception that success somehow hinges on time and money. But, how can it be based on time and money when the most innovative thinkers are entrepreneurs?  When they launch new and innovative products or services often they do so with the sum total hours that one or two people can muster…financed by whatever money is left on their otherwise maxed out credit cards. More →

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