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Archive for the ‘Crowdsourcing’ Category

Lessons in Innovation From Songwriter Eric Carmen

Posted by Plish on May 4, 2014

I was listening to classical music the other day, Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Opus 18 to be exact.  One passage struck me as familiar….very familiar.  That’s when I realized: All by Myself by Eric Carmen.  It was a song I had heard in my youth.  I don’t particularly like it, catchy as it is, though I’m in the minority.  All by Myself reached number 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100.   (In 2011 it even made it into an episode of Glee!)

Anyway,  I thought that it was an amazing coincidence that this song had classical echoes, and then I read on how the song was written.  All by Myself does indeed contain the passage from Rachmaninoff.  It also contains parts of a song called Let’s Pretend that was also written by Carmen. Said Carmen, “I just took those notes and took it from there. I thought, ”Let’s Pretend’ was a nice melody.’ The song didn’t go quite as far as I thought it should have. I’ll go back and steal from myself for this.”

“Steal from myself.”  I love it.

He wasn’t afraid to take  a good thing and reuse it in another context – and in fact, the new creation was more successful.  Keep journals and notebooks of your ideas and inspirations.  Even if you use something, don’t be afraid to leverage it again – perhaps it can be used more effectively somewhere else.

Carmen didn’t stop with that inspiration.  He also borrowed from the Rachmaninoff piece.  Being that it was a classical piece, Carmen assumed the music was already in the Public Domain, meaning he could use the song for free.

He was wrong.

The Rachmaninoff Estate heard the tune, contacted Carmen and a deal was reached.  Carmen would give up a hefty 12 percent of what the song made as royalties.

There are multiple takeaways here.

First, Carmen  took something that was in the realm of Classical music and transformed it into a pop song.   That’s a pretty radical stretch.   This highlights how it’s important to look to other industries and technologies for inspiration.  After all, if an innovation existed in your own industry then everyone would already be using it, right?

Second, as the world becomes more and more ‘open source’, don’t make assumptions about ownership.  Lawsuits are very real.  This story has a happy ending.  All parties involved got something out of the deal.

But I still don’t like the tune…

Maybe you will.  Give it a listen…

 

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Posted in Case Studies, creativity, Crowdsourcing, innovation, Innovation Tools, Musical Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Getting Naked…Innovation!

Posted by Plish on November 5, 2013

If you’d like to read a comprehensive, yet very readable book on the innovation process and the tactics of designing for people, I highly recommend the book Naked Innovation by Zachary Paradis and David McGaw.

How much does the book cost?  Right now it’s less than I paid for it when it first hit the shelves of an IIT Design Conference.  In fact, it costs nothing!  That’s right – it’s free.  The authors want to make an already good book even better, so they are re-releasing it for free, one chapter at a time, and asking for feedback from the readers.

What do you need to do?

First step: Head to  NakedInnovation.com.

Second step: Download individual chapters of the book.

Third step: Read…

Fourth step: Give your feedback.

This book is an excellent addition to your innovation library, and now is the best time to pick up a copy and contribute to making the next version even better!

Let me know your thoughts when you read it.

Posted in Books, Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Design, design thinking, innovation, Innovation Tools, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Highlights from IIT’s 2013 Design Research Conference

Posted by Plish on October 10, 2013

Once again the IIT Institute of Design has put on a provocative and stimulating conference.

Under the theme “Exploring Creative Balance in Design“, the conference was a potpourri of glances at the past, understanding of the present, and flashes of future.  It was held at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History, a stimulating change from the Spertus Institute, where it’s usually been held.  There was an interesting ‘negative’ about the location in that electrical outlets were few and far between. Charging phones and laptops was a challenge.  (Personally, while on my quest to find outlets, I found some really cool nooks in the museum that I didn’t even know existed)

Some highlights in no particular order:

Mickey McManus of Maya inspired awe.  A trillion connected devices is just around the corner.  A trillion!  Think of what is possible (good and bad) when those devices interact with each other!  Think of how nature communicates with itself!

Mel Lim talked about keeping Ego in check.  A wonderful challenge to becoming better people to create a better world.

John Doyle gave an amazing talk of the limits of systems, how the same concepts govern phage evolution. Fast and specialized systems or slow and flexible?  How to walk the line?  What about feedbacks in our systems?  How do we design for that?  There was also a cautionary bent to his talk, but he emphasized the need for people to adopt new ways of looking at systems in the world.  He mentioned to me afterwards how essential it is that the design world gets involved.  The research needs to be made accessible to more than just mathematicians to be able to impact the world in its most profound way.

Darlene Damm spoke of her DIYROCKETS project.  Open Sourcing the Space Industry.  Amazing and disruptive innovation!

John Payne talked skeuomorphs and more,  Ultimately it’s about understanding our culture so we can communicate through design more effectively.

Panos Papalambros spoke of optimizing designs using algorithms that are automatic as well as human assisted. Discussed the benefits of crowdsourcing this process as well.

Liz Sanders and co-creation.  There truly is power when individuals create together as a communal entity. She’s got a great resource at Maketools.com that I’ve personally used.  This is exciting work and it’s only going to mature more.

Matt Jones and Richard The of Google Creative Labs showed the power of video in prototyping.  “All design is fiction.”  Love that quote because everything starts as an idea – a fiction – and it becomes reality.

Lucy Kimbell talked about the various types of empathy using Star Trek’s Deanna Troi as the research subject.

There was also everyone’s favorite “curmudgeon”, Don Norman.  He emphasized the need for design research to be more effectively integrated into corporate product development processes.

Matthew Clark and many others gave amazing talks.

If you’d like to see more from the conference check out #DRC2013 on Twitter.  You can also go to Seen for a timeline of twitter posts about the conference.

Lastly, but in no way least, I met old friends and made new ones.  When all is said and done, that’s what makes these conferences so valuable.

I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts and looking forward to next year!

Posted in Co-Creation, creativity, Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Design, design thinking, innovation, Innovation Tools, Maker Movement, Open Source, Research, Social Innovation, Sustainability | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Makers – The New Industrial Revolution (Book Review)

Posted by Plish on February 7, 2013

The other day I picked up a copy of Makers – The New Industrial Revolution, by Chris Anderson.

It’s an exploration of the Maker movement and its place on the world-wide stage.

If I could sum up this book with one word it would  be:

Inspirational

Yes, inspirational.

He makes a good case for the argument that the Maker movement is here to stay and it’s buttressed by enthusiastic people who are empowered by the democratization of manufacturing technologies worldwide.  Indeed, as one chapter is entitled, “We Are All Designers Now.”

We can all take part in designing and manufacturing products, and even help each other in the process.  The internet is the great equalizer and it enables people to reach each other, and niches that, while perhaps not in the millions, are substantive enough to enable the development and growth of business.  The internet also gives access to manufacturing methodologies such as 3-D printing, laser cutting, and CNC machining, making the machine shop as close as your laptop.

He cites multiple case studies of companies (including his own) that leverage technology and the power of crowds (which is also the power of individual dreams) to build sustainable businesses.

The book is an easy, clean read.  There is some minor redundancy in writing style but it’s not off-putting.  Also, if you already are familiar with manufacturing technologies like 3-D printing, there are small chunks of the book that won’t give you any new information.

I’ve already shared this book with a friend who is involved in artistic co-creation, and this book excited him as well.

If you’d like to learn more about the Maker movement, if you’d like to be inspired by stories of how Makers are redefining manufacturing business worldwide, if you want to understand how Maker businesses have the potential to expand and become disruptive economic machines, you do want to read this book.

Ignore it at your own risk.

 

************

There’s a great interview with Chris Anderson, about the Maker movement, over at Wharton.

 

Posted in Arts, Books, Case Studies, Co-Creation, creativity, Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Design, Disruptive Innovation, Entrepreneurship 2.0, Innovation Tools, invention, Open Source, problem solving, Reviews, Social Networking, Start-Ups, The Future, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Empowering the Co-Creation of a Better World – Check out the “Shaping the Future Global” Web-Based Conference

Posted by Plish on December 6, 2012

Today I pre-recorded my interview for the Shaping the Future Global Conference. The talk is entitled, “Empowering the Co-Creation of a Better World.”  It will go live at 9pm EST on Friday, Dec. 7.  You can listen below.

The rest of the schedule, with the archive of the previous two days’ worth of presentations is here. There are some amazing presentations there on health, education, wellness and human rights.

It’s free.

It’s exciting.

It’s a chance to join a global conversation.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Posted in Authenticity, creativity, Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Customer Focus, Design, Entrepreneurship 2.0, innovation, Interviews, Play, problem solving, Social Innovation, Society, The Future, The Human Person, Web 2.0, ZenStorming | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Want to Make a Difference as a Volunteer, Without Leaving Home?

Posted by Plish on February 7, 2012

I recently was followed by @benrigby over on Twitter.  I checked out his profile and was  intrigued to say the least.

You see, Ben is the CEO of Sparked.com, a microvolunteering platform.  I had heard of microfinance, but microvolunteering?

So, I went over to his site, checked it out, and was thoroughly impressed.

Such a simple idea and such an elegant solution.

I joined on the spot and began reading about the challenges people have…and shared some proposed solutions.   The best thing about this site is that once you start reading about what people need, it’s almost impossible not to help and give your two cents, because Sparked.com has made it so simple. (The only thing that I can’t find, but that would be really helpful, is a way to bookmark individual challenges that catch your eye but you can’t get to at the moment.)

You can also use the Sparked platform to engage your employees  or your customers in volunteer causes.   What better way to build a esprit de corps or brand identity, than through volunteering?

Check it all out for yourself.  You’ll be glad you did!

Posted in Crowdsourcing, Design, Funding Innovation, innovation, Innovation Tools, problem solving, Social Innovation, Social Networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Interested in Open Innovation Models? Check This Out!

Posted by Plish on September 4, 2011

***

I was lying on the couch in the wee hours of the night/morning, flipping through various channels.  I came upon a program  on the Sundance channel and saw designers brainstorming, sketching, prototyping….

….cooool….

I had stumbled upon: Quirky.

Part open innovation, part reality TV, part design, all seething with entrepreneurship.

Started by entrepreneur, Ben Kaufman, it’s a show worth checking out. You can read about the company in this article.

Even more importantly, if you have any ideas of your own, or even if you want to comment on other people’s ideas, stop by Quirky .

You’ll definitely have fun, and maybe even make some money.

Posted in Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship 2.0, innovation, invention, problem solving, Start-Ups | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

5 Tips for Building Sustainable, Innovative Communities (Chainsaws Included)

Posted by Plish on August 3, 2011

Pic Courtesy of coloradoouting.com

What do you do when the trees in your city park are diseased and need to be cut down? 

You could cut them down and dig out the stumps…

Or…

You could have chainsaw artists come out and convert the stumps into art. That’s what the folks of Craig, Colorado did in 1999.

The event was so successful it became an annual festive event.  (However, due to limited diseased trees (thankfully), stumps are now brought in and sunk into the ground for the artists to work on. )

I bring attention to this festival because it highlights 5 tips for building and sustaining innovative communities:

  1. There are no stupid ideas when brainstorming. If City Employee, Mike Shelton, didn’t suggest this in the first place, something special for the community might never have happened.
  2. The process of creating seems to naturally brings people together.  Don’t miss opportunities to bolster community around  creative output.
  3. Just because people aren’t directly involved in the creative process doesn’t mean that they can’t, or won’t have fun. Creativity breeds interest, and eventually, creative output.  Make creativity visible!! Then let people follow their curiosities.
  4. People take pride in who they are as a community.  Give people opportunities to revel in their commonality and it’ll create esprit de corps.
  5. Share who you are as a community and others will want to be a part of what you’re doing.

What else would you add?

Posted in creativity, Crowdsourcing, Design, innovation, Social Innovation, Team-Building, Workplace Creativity | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Free, New Tool for Online Meetings/Collaboration – Try Zipcast!

Posted by Plish on February 18, 2011

Slideshare has just launched a really slick, new service called Zipcast.  It’s an online meeting tool.  It’s free and it’s simple.  Simply set up a free account through Slideshare and you get a free meeting room.  Call a meeting and broadcast it on Twitter or Facebook, or keep it private and only invitees can participate.  The fact that it’s spontaneous and doesn’t require any planning is great for initiating discussions on the fly.  Zipcast does require that your meeting centers around a Slideshare ‘presentation’ (yours or someone else’s) that is already uploaded but this isn’t really negative – after all, most meetings are centered around documents anyway, right? 

Features of Zipcast are:

Free

  • Use any presentation: yours or someone else’s
  • Personalized meeting rooms
  • Streaming live video
  • Group chat
  • No downloads
  • Unlimited meetings & participants
  • Facebook & Twitter integration
  • Private or Public

Pro

  • Password protection
  • No ads
  • Conference call number

What does Zipcast claim it can be used for?

  1. Share ideas with remote colleagues.
  2. Launch your next product
  3. Talk at a conference remotely
  4. Teach anyone, anywhere
  5. Pitch a client
  6. Walk people over your sales deck
  7. Support your customers
  8. Run a non-profit fundraiser
  9. Share your photo albums
  10. Have fun sharing presentations

Personally I can see this being used as a great way to teach people, to give webinars for free, or to work on social innovation projects.  People could contribute to a discussion, a new presentation could be made based upon the feedback, another meeting held, and so on.  I could see this becoming a platform for online Pecha Kucha, which I would really dig.  Think about it.  You could tune in to a Pecha Kucha presentation 24-7 and not have to sit through hour long presentations.

This will obviously morph and be taken in new directions as it gets used.  I can already see an artist uploading lyrics/poetry to their Slideshare page and giving a concert/reading for anyone and everyone that will listen.

This seriously has some coolness going for it.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Posted in Conveying Information, Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Customer Focus, Design, Education, Information Visualization, innovation, Social Innovation, Social Networking, Social Responsibility, Web 2.0 | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

10 Suggestions for Getting Healthcare Discussions on Track – We Need Politicians to Be Innovative!

Posted by Plish on August 18, 2009

 

Healthcarewneweyesa michaelplishka2009We hear politicians speak of innovation yet they fail to live innovation themselves; they fail to find creative ways of working together to make the healthcare of this country better, of designing systems of healthcare that meet the needs of the most (that incidentally cover the politicians as well as the people) in the most sustainable ways possible.  Oh, as a point of clarification, the status quo is also not sustainable so it is not a solution.

To that end here are some suggestions for getting the healthcare debate on the right track:

1. Hold brainstorming meetings on Capital Hill with bipartisan groups.  One condition exists: NONE of the proposals thus far penned are allowed in the discussions. (I’ll be happy to moderate)

2. All legislators are required to work for one month minimum finding ways of meeting the needs of the constituencies on the other side of the aisle.

3. Instead of reinventing the entire system, find the gaps in the current healthcare system and fill those.  One way to find the gaps is to write an obituary for 5 years down the road for the US and its healthcare situation.  Chances are the things that bring about our demise are due to gaps of some type.

4.  The 102 Idea webpage in Illinois is something that every State should be implementing.  Ideally though it should be bi-partisan.  Rule #1 on those pages: NO Complaining about a situation or about what others are doing.  Rule #2:  No patting your Party on the back.

5. Create a list of the best things that other Countries and States do related to healthcare. Combine them to create something new.

6. Create a list of the best programs in other States/Countries not related to healthcare.  What can be learned from these programs and applied directly or modified to the healthcare situation in the US?

7.  How would a poor Third World Country solve our healthcare crisis? Use this exercise to generate ideas.

8. Create a list of the strengths and weaknesses in our current system.  Come up with solutions that maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses.

9. Create a list of the facts regarding healthcare and stick to these at all times.  An orthopedic surgeon does not make $40,000 per procedure to amputate a foot.

10. Last but not least, the beginning of the solution: Agree on a problem statement.  The problem statement is not: “Health care is running us into the ground,” or “Insurance companies are making too much money.”  A working problem statement invites solutions; they are phrased positively as in: “In what ways might we….” 

It might also help to keep in mind what John F. Kennedy said: “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

Let’s get to work!

Posted in creativity, Crowdsourcing, culture of innovation, Design, Health Concerns, Human Rights, idea generation, imagination, innovation, Politics, problem solving, Sustainable Technology, Traditional Brainstorming, ZenStorming | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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