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Innovation at Ground Zero

Ground Zero Discovery Channel

Last night I watched the amazing Discovery Channel documentary Rising: Rebuilding Ground Zero chronicling the reconstruction of the World Trade Center after the tragedy of 9/11. The show is an awe inspiring mix of engineering marvels, construction complexity, and a healing nation. The documentary, directed by Steven Spielberg, chronicles the entire span of the project, from the initial visions of the architects, to the planning and coordination of the supervisors, to the steel, concrete, and iron workers erecting the skyscraper at jaw-dropping heights.  The new World Trade center is designed to be both a memorial honoring the past, and a beacon of hope looking toward America's future. No matter what project you are working on, there are some impressive takeaways you can apply to your own work.      

Defining Innovation

iStock 000009981285XSmall

What is innovation?  Webster defines it as the act of introducing something new.  A bit nebulous isn’t it?  By this definition, every time someone lobs a random aside into a conversation that is spontaneous verbal innovation.  I’m not ready for that to be a thing.  So, what is it? 

Business Model Mapping (1 of 3)

business model mapping

The world is constantly changing. As it does, business models and business processes, need to be reviewed holistically in order to ensure they are optimized for the current state of the world. In spite of this obvious need most business models either remain static until dramatic change is needed, or they evolve piecemeal, with elements bolted on to serve some particular need of the moment. Over time, business models can become cumbersome, inefficient and laden with redundant costs and/or aspects that add cost, but that no longer add value. When seeking to become more competitive or to reduce costs while maintaining value for the customer and consumer, the business model needs to be re-examined. A visual map helps to clarify the individual elements, the process flow and the value chain of a business.

The Art of Championed Teamwork

decision-making pendulumEven though ours is a team-based model for creative problem-solving, we also know that team-based, consensus-oriented decision-making results in lowest-common-denominator creative ideas. At the same time, autocracy doesn’t work either. Instead, a paradoxical kind of decision-making is needed to insure that creative new ideas get implemented.

Here’s a brief history of decision-making as it has evolved in the practice of creative problem-solving. We describe it as a pendulum, and it began with a decision-making model based upon autocracy.

The Lighter Side of Innovation


Here at Creative Realities, Inc., we like to have fun. It's our mantra ("You get what you play for"), our cabinets are chock full of toys and pipe cleaners, and anyone who has ever worked with us knows what we mean when we say "bazooka".

Ideas are great...then there's that darn thing called execution...

making ideas real

There's been a lot of talk around Creative Realities lately about "The other side of innovation", both a compelling read by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble and a euphemism for the part of the innovation process that focuses on making real value out of great ideas.

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