product development

Innovation Insight: “Smooth, uninterrupted airflow with no unpleasant buffeting”

One of a series by Ken Tencer, Spyder Works CEO

With Dyson’s new bladeless fans, generation of kids will be denied the chance to stick pencils through the screen of the household fan to see what happens when they touch the spinning blades. Otherwise, you have to love U.K.-based Dyson, because its innovations are so obvious, yet so breakthrough: safe, bladeless fans that move air without the rumbling and rattling, using technology patterned after jet engines; dual-cyclonic vacuums that suck up more dirt, more efficiently; and airport hand driers that really work.

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Innovation Insight: “Type and navigate with ease”

One of a series by Ken Tencer, Spyder Works CEO

Research in Motion is takings its lumps these days, but I am impressed by RiM’s new 9900 series BlackBerry. Since fully touch-screen phones came out, I have resisted. I am not a short-form, emoticon kind of guy, and I never felt touch-screen phones were conducive to the long-form e-mails that occupy my day.

I always hoped somebody would combine a sturdy keypad with touch-screen navigation. Well, BlackBerry’s done it. Who knows, if the financial pundits would only leave them to their innovating ways, we might see more of the ground-breaking innovation that took RiM to the top for so long.

As tough as it may be, every company needs to block out the noise and keep a focused eye on new and relevant product introductions. Always.

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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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