Where Science Meets Muse

Archive for January, 2010

5 Lessons on Designing Innovation from Basketball’s Shot Clock

Posted by Plish on January 30, 2010

The other day I was watching a college basketball game and was stunned there was a shot clock. (I know,  before you think I live under a rock, realize that I really don’t follow college hoops.  I’m a hockey person, remember?)

“When did they introduce it?” I asked my wife.

“It’s always been there as long as I can remember.”

“I just don’t remember it from when I was a kid.  I remember guys passing the ball around wasting time…”

I got home and did some research through our buddies at Wikipedia and found out the story of the shot clock.

It actually is an example of some best practices regarding designing innovations.

The idea originally came from Coach Howard Hobson (University of Oregon and Yale) and was tried by Owner Danny Biasone’s, Syracuse Nationals during a scrimmage.  Seeing that it worked well in the scrimmage Biasone proposed the idea to the NBA and it was tried in the 1954-55 season (and in college in 1985). 

It stuck.

Now it’s almost hard to imagine basketball without the excitement of a shot clock.

Why 24 seconds? 

Says Biasone,  “I looked at the box scores from the games I enjoyed, games where they didn’t screw around and stall. I noticed each team took about 60 shots. That meant 120 shots per game. So I took 48 minutes – 2,880 seconds – and divided that by 120 shots. The result was 24 seconds per shot.”

What are some of the lessons here?

1. PROTOTYPE! TEST! PROTOTYPE!  The idea was tested in a scrimmage first.  Even after its adoption various times were tried in other leagues.  The idea is to start small, experiment and modify accordingly.  Use the results of the test to determine future directions.  In this case, it was clear this was a step in the right direction (See point 3 below).

2. Find what works  best and figure out how to make it repeatable – Don’t be afraid to dream!!  To arrive at the time alloted for the shot clock Biasone looked at the best, exciting games and used that to calculate the length of time alloted for the shot clock.  He thought every game should be exciting and believed the shot clock was the way to do it!

3.  Tired of seeing something destroyed? Take ownership and fix it!!  Emotion was a reason for changing and it was a reason for keeping the change.  Biasone (as well as many fans) thought basketball was boring and being destroyed by the techniques  teams used to stall when they took the lead.  The use of the shot clock may  well have saved basketball.  Attendance improved by 55%  the first year.

4. Find ways to measure the results from multiple points of view!  As mentioned in Point 3 above, it was clear that fans liked the shot clock as attendance improved tremendously.  A Syracuse player, Dolph Schayes, said  the use of 24 seconds was “genius” in how it controlled the flow of the game.

5.  Nothing should be above attempted improvement!  Maybe the changes won’t work.  That’s okay, you can always go back.  But maybe, just maybe, the changes will be what keeps something from becoming obsolete, or moreso, helps it to become a multi-million dollar business.

Posted in Best Practices, Case Studies, Design, innovation, invention, Sports Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Let’s Design Healthier Hearts – American Heart Association Takes an Innovative Step

Posted by Plish on January 22, 2010


In an effort to increase cardiovascular health in the US and promote prevention of heart disease, the American Heart Association has taken an innovative step and defined ideal cardiovascular health using seven easy to understand measures.  In concert with this definition they’ve also created an aid to help people in understanding their cardiovascular health by launching a monitoring tool over at My Life Check

“A simple step-by-step approach has now been developed that delivers on the hope we all have – to live a long, productive, healthy life. We call it Life’s Simple 7,” said Dr. Clyde W. Yancy, President of the American Heart Association.

What are the seven things we should all be monitoring?

  1. Never smoked or quit more than one year ago;
  2. Body mass index less than 25 kg/m2;
  3. Physical activity of at least 150 minutes (moderate intensity) or 75 minutes (vigorous intensity) each week;
  4. Four to five of the key components of a healthy diet consistent with current American Heart Association guideline recommendations;
  5. Total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dL;
  6. Blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg;
  7. Fasting blood glucose less than 100 mg/dL.

Any improvements in any of these will help people to have healthier hearts and prevent heart disease.

Continues Dr. Yancy,

“Prevention should be a cornerstone of healthcare reform, a priority of our state and local legislatures, incorporated into our workplace policies, in our schools and our community environments, and a big part of our everyday lives. The American Heart Association is clearly focusing not only on reducing the burden of disease but, importantly, on prevention of disease. That should matter to everyone.”

Hmmm…there could be the makings of a problem here…actually two problems. 

First, we all know that heart disease can put heavy burdens on society, but we also know, though we don’t like to admit it, that prevention brings its own burdens.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Customer Focus, Design, Disruptive Innovation, Health Concerns, innovation, Science, The Human Person | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Boliven Innovation Network™ – Patents, Drug Trials, News and More

Posted by Plish on January 16, 2010

Came across another mind-blowing database and  social networking site.

The Boliven Innovation Network™

Search for patents, medical devices, clinical trials, SEC filings, news reports, and more.  All in all,  over 100 million peer-reviewed documents are part of this network. 

The searches can be done in text form or even more beautifully depicted in interactive, graphical form.

I could walk you through the site but, trust me, go there and play with some searches.

You won’t be disappointed.

Posted in Information Visualization, innovation, Innovation Tools, patents, Research, Social Networking, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Eight Principles of Fun – Authenticity at the Heart of Innovation/Creativity

Posted by Plish on January 9, 2010

Was turned on to this video by the folks over at the Heart of Innovation.

Innovation and creative thought is inextricably tied into our abilities to embrace our humanness and live passionately. 

Reflect on this and Enjoy!

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, Creativity Videos, culture of innovation, games, innovation, Nature of Creativity, Play, The Human Person, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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