Corzo Black Book: Designing Change

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THE BLACK BOOK Designing Change Opportunities, Techniques & Strategies

Revised Edition with new material The Innovation Lab 2017-2018

A year-long program, the Corzo Center Innovation Lab introduces first- and second-year students to the principles of innovation and entrepreneurship. Its purpose is to show them how to identify possibilities, discover value and build on what they discover. The Corzo Center for the Creative Economy at the University of the Arts provides programs designed to support entrepreneurship in the creative community. Its programs – many of which are free and open to the public – include short courses on the principles of entrepreneurship, lectures, online support and webinars, free office hours, connections to business, legal, and marketing professionals, as well as a Creative Incubator with preseed funding. Founded in 1876, the University of the Arts is one of the nation’s only universities dedicated solely to educating students in the visual and performing arts, design and writing. With nearly 1,900 students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs on its campus in the heart of Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts, UArts students collaborate across disciplines and benefit from being in one of the nation’s most culturally vibrant cities.

Designing Change Opportunities, Techniques & Strategies

Neil Kleinman With Erica Hawthorne-Manon

For Information about the Corzo Center: @corzocenter

Copyright Š 2017 Neil Kleinman and the University of the Arts Text: Neil Kleinman, Director. Ed. Erica Hawthorne-Manon, Innovation Lab Coordinator

CONTENTS Warning How to Use this Toolkit SECTION: ONE So you want to be an “Innovator” The way of the Innovator Techniques Principles Strategic Approaches SECTION: TWO Opportunities to be found in Chaos Walking the Tight Rope Step One: Identify an Opportunity Step Two: Build Solutions Step Three: Test Your Solutions Step Four: Define the Value Charting the Development of an Idea Conclusion APPENDIX Exercises Approaches to Create Values Learning to Look On the Street & In the Store Constraints Metaphors Rules Learning from Failure Defining a Value A Closer Look: Multiple Points of View Suggested Readings and Viewing

1 3 5 6 7 9 11 14 15 16 19 22 24 25 28

30 32 32 38 39 39 40 41 42 46

Warning To the artist & performer: Although this booklet is written with you in mind, you should not be misled. It is not about creativity. It is about innovation which is an entirely different thing. The primary purpose of “innovation” is to make value. Yes, of course, it’s fun to make something imaginative, cool and creative. But if the “cool” or the “imaginative” doesn’t satisfy a need or a problem, it may be “art,” but it’s not innovation. Art is created through an internal dialogue we have with ourselves and results in a form that expresses who we are or want to be. It results in intrinsic values – the value of the thing itself without concern for the value or usefulness the external world places on it. Innovation is fueled by a compulsion to change the world – for profit or to achieve a social impact. It is the dialogue the maker/creator/inventor has with the external world. Innovators need an audience and start working with an audience in mind. Artists are happy to find an audience but that’s not the primary reason they create. What, then, is the role of “creativity”? It is the ability to imagine the unimagined – to see what others have not yet seen. To artists it is the lens they use to see the world. To the innovator, it is the tool they use to address the opportunities they’ve discovered. An American economist (Theodore Levitt) put it nicely. “Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”


To the non-artist and performer: Being innovative is a talent open to all. It requires primarily that you keep your eyes open and think about what you are seeing and doing … and most importantly, it requires that you wish to challenge and change the world, even modestly. To all: Innovation is not a passive sport. If you want to watch the world while others act in it, you’d be better served finding a comfortable chaise lounge and enjoying a good drink. This little book invites you to get up from the chair, do the exercises, make up your own, and test your ideas. Finally: You’ll not find here a discussion of how to start a business or learn about entrepreneurship. You’ll not learn to brand or market a product, to define your value proposition, nor to decide on a business structure. That’s all for another time. Here you start at the stage before creating a business: learning how to spot an opportunity.


How to Use this Toolkit Like any good craftsperson, innovators have a host of tools they’ve learned to use. In Section One, you’ll be introduced to some of the basic tools used to generate ideas. While critical, learning how to use these tools is not enough. You may know how to sharpen your pencil (or use a word processor) but knowing that doesn’t mean you’ve learned how to write a story. For that reason, after a brief listing of the tools innovators use, in Section Two, you’ll learn about ways to identify opportunities, build solutions, test them and define the value offered by your solutions. In the Appendix, you’ll find exercises and illustrations of some of the principles discussed earlier. The strategy of this booklet is to present ideas briefly, reinforce them with illustrations, and then return to them, drilling down to show how they can be applied. Throughout, there are exercises to do. They will make the discussion more concrete and the experience more personal. This is meant to be a “workbook” and if you don’t “work” while you’re reading it, you’ll be wasting your time.



SECTION ONE TOOLS TO GENERATE IDEAS So you want to be an “Innovator” The most frustrating challenge someone can throw at you is – Make something new, something novel, something innovative… After all, you’re creative. Starting is always hard. The page is blank. The stage empty. The canvas is yet to be touched, and the screen remains dark. And worse is the pressure of the challenge…”After all, you’re creative.” The following pages provide a tool kit that you can use to get a fast start on innovation. Whether you strive to create the next great artistic masterpiece or the next new “big thing,” these tools can help you get started. And, yes, the tools may also help you rethink how you can make a living or make a business. You’ll find that there is a joy that comes from living in a world in which all that one sees is new, refreshed, and exciting because you’ve discovered connections for yourself – because you’ve found new uses and possibilities for things others have thrown away. Remember, though: don’t let the great become the enemy of the good or the doable. If you try to hit to the outfield, you’ll likely strike out. A bunt may get you to first base. Slow and patient.


Sketch out the idea, test it and then build it…incrementally. “Great” will come but only after a lot of tries.

The Way of the Innovator How do they do it? The inventors, creators, leaders, and entrepreneurs? How do they come up with ideas and strategies that seem to defy all odds to produce something the world needs? They have their techniques – a way to get the first line down on the crisp, white, but oh so empty paper. They have principles – a way of squinting at the world to see it from a different perspective. And they have some strategic approaches – a way to consider a problem by stepping back and thinking about it in terms of the “larger picture” -- the trends around us that provide new opportunities, as they disrupt older traditions. Don’t assume you’ll only use one tool, one technique, one principle or one strategic approach. Innovators are nimble, something like jugglers on a tightrope. They balance one plate and then another and sometimes several. They know where they want to go but there’s a great deal of unpredictability – even for them – in how they get there. To give you a sense of where this little book is going, here is a short list of the techniques, principles and strategies that will be covered.


Techniques The good thing about techniques is that they can be employed rather mechanically and that’s good when one is anxious about “starting.” Learn the technique and begin. As you begin you’ll become aware of some possibilities. Use Constraints. Constraints simplify a problem by limiting the number of elements you need to take into account. Materials, money, space, time, etc. Constraints not only simplify a problem, they enhance our ability to be imaginative – to bring together possible connections that would not be apparent in a larger, more complex system. Imagine what you can do with less and you’ll see what you could do with more. The good news is that by starting with limits, you’re free to throw away what doesn’t work because you’ve not invested much time or money…or, for that matter, much of your ego. Make Metaphors. There’s probably no better tool and technique. Metaphors require that you connect things that are not normally connected, and by doing that you find new elements in both. They can serve as a form of focus as well as a way of creating something new. An example: “A ship plows the water.” A ship is like a plow and the water is the field. By linking dissimilar elements like this together (ship + plow), the metaphor requires that we rethink a set of relationships. As we do we find new ways to think about the commonplace and what we take for granted.


Connect Opposites. A form of metaphor making, connecting opposites reveals important elements in each. Love and Hate, White and Black, Hot and Cold. Each defines and extends the other. Change the Rules; Make New Rules. To change the rules, you need to know what the rules are. Making a new rule redefines a problem or an institution. AirBnB broke the rule that travelers wanted a destination hotel to provide service and instead focused on price, access, personal service, and location. Home Appetit, HelloFresh, GrubHub and others broke the rule that, if we wanted a chef-cooked dinner, we’d need to eat out: instead they offered a chef-designed dinner that we could eat at home. General Nathanael Greene used a form of guerilla warfare (hit and run) that broke from the practice of troops lined up in formation facing each other, a tactics that surprised the British and set the stage for the American success at Yorktown. Redefine “value.” Everything has a value to someone. If the value is material and economic, changing the value to a social or moral value (or vice versa) will change what we think of the product or service. At the beginning (1976), Apple was a technology company and sold its computer as an efficient way to do calculations (VisiCalc). By 1984 Apple had changed how it described itself. In its famous ad, Apple’s Mac Computer was being sold as a form of personal liberation. In 2007, Apple Computer changed its name to Apple,


changed its description once again and morphed into an “entertainment company.” In each of these, Apple changed its description of itself – from efficient tool to people’s machine to a creative life style to a form of entertainment – emphasizing a new value in order to broaden its market. Efficiency to autonomy to consumption and pleasure. These and other techniques will be discussed in more detail below (pp 20-23).

Principles We are told that there’s a virtue in making things “transparent.” The problem with that is we see through transparent things and don’t know they exist. Transparency is no help to an innovator. David Foster Wallace got it right in a speech to a Kenyon College graduating class. His story: There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, ‘Morning, boys, how’s the water?’ And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?” The water is transparent to those fish. They don’t know it exists in the same way they don’t know they’re wet. Our mantra needs to be – Make the world “opaque” so we can see it and then reshape it. How do innovators handle the problem? They learn to squint.


Change the process. If you are right handed and start to write with your left hand, you’ll begin to rethink the skill of writing. You won’t take it for granted but more importantly you’ll begin to see how handwriting works. Most of the time we do what we do on automatic pilot – drive, eat, walk down a street. That means we don’t see what’s about us nor how the world and the people in it are behaving. Think Absurd. Sometimes this is called imagining the impossible, the inconceivable, or, simply, speaking nonsense. As you can imagine, it’s not easy to think absurd. You need to construct an upside down world in which every “sane” rule or accepted principle is reversed. Einstein imagining the 4th Dimension. Copernicus drawing a heliocentric universe. Lewis Carroll writing about Wonderland. The idea of selling bottled water in plastic containers when it’s free and good at public fountains. An online news and social media network (Twitter) in which users are restricted to 140 characters. What do you think people thought when they first heard those ideas? Absurd! Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? This is a classic series of questions that allows us to peel back the layers of what we think we know or believe. “Why do you do that?” We answer. And then we’re asked, “So why do you do that?” And again, and again, and again. Avoid looking for the symptom of the problem, but look, instead, for the root cause, that the underlying cause of the problem. The deeper you go, the more insight you’ll have about a possible solution. Making Theater of a Situation. “The play’s the thing.” To see the water, not merely swim in it, to make action and events


opaque, innovators treat situations as moments of theatre. It is as though we are witnessing a scripted play, a performance in which those in it are characters; the actions are pre-defined; the environment itself a set. To achieve this distance, innovators will sometimes photograph or videotape the space they are working in, draw and map it, or write a narrative story as though they were writing a script. Designers will recognize here the techniques of “design thinking” in which situations are observed and then mapped. Those in theater will recognize Bertolt Brecht’s principle of “the alienation effect,” in which the “familiar is made strange.” In both, the distance provides observer (audience or designer) distance which provides a way to understand the rules at play, change them, redirect elements and redefine the values. This approach helps us see things differently because we are outside of them, looking in. As a result, we can analyze, rewrite, redirect and replay the moment: everything is tangible; everything is malleable; everything is apparent and conscious.

Strategic Approaches Folks who take a strategic approach are looking at the “big, big picture.” They are looking at the big trends that are reshaping the world, both short and long term. Such a view allows them to take advantage of external forces without requiring them to “invent” new things. Disruptive Innovation. In the last 40 years, we have been overwhelmed by waves of transforming media and technology – from the personal computer to the cell phone, from floppy disc to


DVD, from ATM to online banking, from broadcast TV to cable to online streaming, etc. Each of them and others has spawned a host of new businesses – day-to-day, minute-to-minute. The characteristic of each: improved access and reduced cost. Think about the impact of previous disruptive innovations— printing, telegraph, airplanes, automobile, television, or the personal computer. Imagine the potential of new disruptive innovations – robots, drones, nanotechnology, universal information sources, virtual and immersive reality, 3D printing, DNA technology, or artificial intelligence. Incremental Innovation. One need not take advantage of the most recent disruptive technology to innovate. New technology provides a way of adding improvements to already existing products and services. The incremental sharpens a brand identify while limiting the risk of being ahead of the marketplace. And there’s the added virtue: inventing and testing is work already done by someone else. Examples. Uber is little more than a business model that combines a mobile app with the process of calling a “cab.” While Uber’s use of technology is not disruptive, its business model is: eliminating the middleman, it directly connects user with service provider. And then follows Lyft. Starting after Uber, it learned from Uber, what it did and how the model could be improved. Uber was doing the work and the testing that Lyft relied upon. Regressive Innovation. There is a simple model that requires no invention. It only requires that one understand how an old product or service (a disregarded technology) can be used by a new audience or market for a new purpose.


Take the bicycle: in the US, for most of the 20 th Century, the automobile was the primary tool used for personal travel. The bicycle was for children. But in the last two decade the bicycle has been rediscovered by adults. It is now the machine used by urban Millennials and makes possible enterprises like Bike Share to service them. Or consider the windmill: Nearly 2000 years old, used in agriculture and in pumping water, it is now at the center of a new economy designed to provide cheap and non-polluting energy.

LET’S PRACTICE! EXERCISE #1 – Principles & Strategic Approaches to Create Value - page 31




SECTION TWO: IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES, BUILD AND TEST SOLUTIONS, DEFINE THE VALUE The Opportunities to be found in Chaos Your grandparents or great-grandparents could live out their lives in a quite predictable way. What they learned as a child lasted them a lifetime. If born in the United States, they were likely to die close to where they’d been born. Once they started working, their first job (or first career) would last their lifetime. But now things are quite different. Those who are Millennials will have between 15 to 20 jobs over their working lives, each about 3 years long, and they’ll move about 11 times. The change is the result of new technologies and new business models (automation and the “gig economy”). These are happy times for the innovator and entrepreneur. As the saying goes, innovators and entrepreneurs love a time of chaos and confusion with a tomorrow unlike today and certainly not predictable. They thrive in the disruption, in the breakdown of the standard norms of behavior and doing business. The takeaway: What you learn now will not be what you need to know tomorrow.


Consider one of the following: 1. What business might you start if the impact of global warming were apparent in the next five years? 2. What might be the shape of a new educational system (higher education or K-12) that takes advantage of developing technology? 3. What business might you devise if “traditional” jobs and careers disappeared but you had guaranteed wages?

Walking the Tight Rope – Above the Chasm of Inspiration We’ve all had the experience – a flash of an idea that seems marvelous but disappears by the time we walk across the room. We’ve just dropped into the chasm of inspiration. Oh so many possibilities that vanish by the time we try to write them down. Shakespeare’s Lear expressed it well. “I shall do such things – what they are yet I know not, but they shall be the terrors of the earth.” Of course, Lear was about to go mad. To avoid that state, innovators work with care. There are steps that they use which help them proceed in an orderly fashion. 1. 2. 3. 4.

They identify an opportunity, a pain, or a problem that needs solving. They build a solution – in fact, not one but several. They test each one to see what will work They determine the value to see how well their solution solves the problem and appeals to their audience.


STEP ONE: IDENTIFY AN OPPORTUNITY What’s the trick to identifying an “opportunity”? Innovators (and entrepreneurs) look for the under-used and move it to where it will have value or a better use. For example: They mine trash. My junk may be your gold. Old refrigerators may only have value as junk in the US but in a developing country they may be worth their weight in gold. G-Star RAW worked with Bionic Yarn to create a line of denim clothing from plastic debris cluttering our environment. Or They make useful what others don’t use. Who would have thought that there’s value in a spare room or an air mattress? AirBnB did. You’ve got time on your hands and a car? Uber found a way to leverage that capacity. Your closet is full of things you want to throw out – but don’t want to waste time with a garage sale. There’s always eBay. Or They look for a problem – small or big – that irritates. (Call it the “pain” that requires a solution.) Too many receipts stuffed in your pockets? Neat Receipts created a receipt scanner and software that organized receipts. Want to tell others how awful (or good) the service was at the last store you shopped at? Yelp found a way to help you vent (or cheer). Can’t find parking? Travel around the city on a bike. Can’t put a bike in a small city apartment three flights up? Philly Bike Share rents bikes.

LET’S PRACTICE! Exercise #2 – Learning to Look - page 33


How to find opportunities Think of yourself as a problem solver, someone with lots of tools at hand – visual, verbal, performance-based, digital etc. You’ll use these tools after you’ve figured out the problem. Once you start to solve the problem, you’ll find there’s time enough to be “creative.”

Observe Observation is the beginning of innovation. One thing that all innovative thinkers have in common is a priceless ability to pay attention to the world around them. They see what others see daily but may not pay attention too. Most of us are too easily distracted while also being constantly engaged. Our heads are down in our iPhones. We walk the same old streets out of habit and see nothing. The ability to look up, look around and look more deeply and inquisitively at the world around us, separates everyday people from innovative people. Your ability to pay attention to the mundane (i.e., walking to class) to the specific (things you learn in class) to the creative (your art) can make the difference between creating a general idea and an innovative one.

Look at a problem from multiple points of view As you observe, remember that your point of view is different from someone else’s. And that’s a good thing: Learning how to observe and switch point of view is a first step towards innovation since it provides you new perspectives and allows you to see situations and problems in surprising ways.

Take A CLOSER LOOK Read “Multiple Points of View” - page 43


Know your audience Different audiences see situations differently and the solutions we design for them must also be different, even if ultimately there is an overlap. In any case, the problem – and the opportunity – will depend upon the audience. Don’t be misled by the notion that what you’re making will work for “everyone.” You should be able to describe your audience with specificity. a) Who they are – age, education, gender, occupation, etc. b) What they need and why. What they are attracted to and anxious about. In short, what’s their emotional profile?

Takeaways on Finding Opportunities 

Identifying a problem requires that we look and listen – pay attention – to the world about us.

Every situation should be considered from at least two (or better, more) points of view. The more point of views you use, the more opportunities you will discover.

The meaning of a problem is determined by the audience with the problem.

LET’S PRACTICE! Exercise #3 – On the Street & In-Store page 33 - 38


STEP TWO: BUILD SOLUTIONS Often you’ll come up with a solution when you listen to your audience. College graduates want to get out of their parent’s basements and want to connect – as they did in college – with others working on similar projects. And the idea of a co-working space emerges – a coffee shop that becomes a community with space to meet, work, and share ideas. Sometimes, though, you’ll not be able to build on a model (the coffee shop and the college cafeteria & dorm room). You’ll need to start from scratch. Let’s now return to the tools discussed in Section One.

How to build solutions Establish constraints. These constraints can be real (little money, little time, little space) or they can be arbitrary. You’ll learn that when you ask for too much, you’re likely to get nothing. Simplify your needs and your request. Constraints help you focus since they cut away elements that distract. If you’ve too much time, you’ll think of lots of things you might do. If you’ve lots of space, you’ll overbuild. If you’ve lots of money, you’ll not learn how to be efficient and effective, nor how to focus on the problem at hand. As Samuel Johnson (18th Century writer and wit) observed, “When a man knows he is to be hanged …it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” So it is with most constraints – whether deadlines, little money, or limited space.


LET’S PRACTICE! Exercise #4 – Constraints - page 39

Take A CLOSER LOOK Read “Constraints, Reductionism and Creativity.” - page 45

Make metaphors. Metaphor making is a way of connecting two unrelated things. You can start by asking yourself a question -- how is a class like a prison, a day in the country, a factory, or a long trip on a hot day with only a small bottle of water? Or how is my love like a rose, a hurricane, or an empty balloon? Each of these metaphors will give you a different way of seeing and provide you with a new approach to the experience. You can also make connections between different fields of study. How is a traffic pattern like a circulation system? How is a streetscape like a theater set? A meteorological cloud like cloud technology. By being willing to connect one field with another, you’ll learn a good deal about each as well as discover new opportunities. Connecting different items will provide insights about the problem you’re working with as well as provide you with solutions. Asking the question helps you think unpredictably and gives you some surprising ideas.

LET’S PRACTICE! Exercise #5 – Metaphor - page 40


Change the rules. Nearly all innovative companies change the rules being used by the companies they want to compete against. Old Rule: We’re not supposed to read books we don’t own while we’re eating food and drinking coffee. New Rule: The customer wants to connect the pleasure of reading with the pleasure of eating. Solution: The coffee shop in Barnes & Noble Old Rule: Bankers thought their customers would only deposit their money with a teller. New Rule: The customer wants convenience and 24/7 access to money and has little concern for privacy. Solution: Bank ATMs and online banking. Old Rule: People want hard copies of the books they read. New Rule: Convenience, built on an easy to use technology, providing cheap access to a product wins the customer’s loyalty. Solution. Kindle and the eBook. Consider the “hidden” rules of a business and then change a few of them. What do you come up with?

LET’S PRACTICE! Exercise #6 – Rules - page 40

Shift beliefs or motivation. Assumptions – what’s the purpose of a business? Do you go to a university to get a degree and a job? Or might you go to a


university to build a portfolio and a network of connections. If the latter, what kind of university might you design? Incentives – what is the “reward” system being used and how can it be different? What if doctors were paid by the number of days we are “healthy” and not the number of times we visit them? If the latter, what kind of health system would we design? Metrics – how do we measure “success”? What would be the way we evaluate our lives if everyone received a guaranteed income? What would we do then?

STEP THREE: TEST YOUR SOLUTIONS One of the best ways to determine if your idea can work, is to go out and try it!

Go to your audience. We have to learn to get out of the building to go to our audience. Don’t ask family, friends and roommates what they think of the idea. You want to find the people who will use what you are making and have no reason to be kind. Example. When the developer of Neat Receipts – a system to organize paper receipts – wanted to test its appeal and practicality, he went to the Philadelphia Airport. Where better to find travelers with pockets stuffed with crumpled receipts who want to get them processed quickly so they can get their refunds? He set up a table and provided business travelers free print-outs. He watched them to see where they had problems, went back to the workshop and redesigned to address the problems they had, and then went back again to test them.


Plan failure (Getting it wrong to get it right) As they say, the great is the enemy of the good. Start by giving yourself permission to fail but plan the failure (what is it that won’t work, how will you know when it won’t work) and then consider the reasons why your idea will fail (or might fail). A planned failure may lead to unexpected results. Or, it may help you discover the assumptions behind your idea – both the valid and invalid assumptions. Example. In science, this means overloading the system in defined ways to test how much stress the system can take. Put more current thru the wires to see when the fuse burns out. In developing a new idea, push the idea to the extreme to see when it doesn’t make sense or when the potential customer finds it unattractive.

LET’S PRACTICE! Exercise #7 – Learning From Failure - page 41 A good rule in developing innovations, at least in the beginning, is to use the principle of “belt and suspenders” One of the systems is what the customer is used to, while the other is the new one. For a while, Netflix offered videos both through the mail and online. offers the customer a chance to get hard copy of a book as well as a download copy. Toyota first produced a hybrid car that used both electric and gas. Each of these were tests to see which option customers would be most interested in using and their experiences in doing so. Testing allowed companies to learn ways they could expand or


improve either option -- or in cases like Netflix, who ended videos by mail -- prove when one option is no longer profitable.

STEP FOUR: DEFINE THE VALUE You’ll find that, beyond a few measures (cash received, number of users, audience or followers, etc.), this is one of the most difficult tasks innovators have to confront. Of course, if there’s a market and monetary value of a product or a service, the marketplace can define the value. But innovations often defy easy monetary valuation. Since they are “new” and “novel,” there’s no defined market for what they offer. When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started working on their version of the personal computer, few thought it had any market value. At best it was a hobby toy but certainly not a venture worth taking seriously. The president of IBM famously said – “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Since there’s no ready way to measure the value of new innovations, the innovator must develop their own metric – and that’s done by working with a small group of early users. What do they feel are the important values of this innovation? Watch them use it? Listen to their questions? Figure out why they stop using it and when they tell other people about it. That requires careful analysis. (Suggested Reading: Eric Ries’ The Lean Start Up.)

LET’S PRACTICE! Exercise #8 – Defining a Value – page 42


Charting the Development of an Idea In the following chart, you’ll find a summary of the steps and tools discussed in the last section along with questions you should be asking yourself. The first two questions are important: who is your audience and what is its problem? They should be your north star what you turn to as you move ahead and what you return to when you get lost. Equally important is the last question: how will you know when to stop? Knowing when to stop is as important as knowing when begin. Set yourself a constraint – time, money, some benchmark – and when you’ve come to it, stop. STEPS




Observe Audience Use Multiple Points of View Recycle/Reposition Products/Services

Who is the audience? What is the problem? What technique or strategy might help you think through the problem?


Make Metaphors Use Constraints: Lean Model Change the Rules Redefine Motivation Change the Values

What service/product will you offer? What benefits do they provide? What weaknesses do you envision for your solution?




Use Small Samples from Target Audience Plan Failures: Overload or Exaggerate

Where are you going to test it? Who is your test audience? How will you take into account feedback & failure? How many tests are you planning?


Develop Metrics for Measuring Success

Will you use quantitative and/or qualitative measures to 1) collect data and 2) to determine the success or failure of your prototype? Is the value based on social impact and/or revenue? (Try to identify both.) How will you know when to end the project because it doesn’t work? RESULTS: Defined Values

FINAL STEP Can you describe your idea to a total stranger in three minutes – what it provides, who will like it, what benefit it offers?




CONCLUSION Creatives see the invisible – what no one else sees –and then help us to see it. That too is what innovative people do. For both, it’s not only a question of “seeing,” it’s a question of representing what one sees. And making visible the invisible will not come all at once. One must sketch it out, look at it as other would look at it and then sketch it again. You’ll find that the strategies and tactics outlined here will help start the innovative process but that’s not enough. You’ll need to do more than “see” it and then “express” it. You’ll need to make it work. That’s what it means to be an “innovator.” Innovation requires that you put a model of your idea into practice, test it, and then make changes as you get reactions, redesign it, and then test it again. Above all, don’t get seduced by the “beauty” of your idea. Think of the problems (or pains) others have and then create a solution for it. That will be beautiful too.



APPENDIX EXERCISES Exercise #1 Principles & Strategic Approaches to Create Value One of the outcomes of innovation is that it inevitably creates value. It takes something in existence and makes it new -sometimes the result of misuse, challenge or even failure. Here are some examples of how innovative strategy and use of the principles of innovation can bring great value. Example #1 - Recycling the old to find the new” Call it the Robinson Crusoe – syndrome, this is the ability to take the garbage of one society – the left over technology, the used up technology – and find a way to re-use it and re-purpose it. The story of the Windmill Boy in Malawi Africa is a good example. He took the bits & pieces of the throw-away society and created a windmill - bringing electricity, water and a new economy to his village. (For movie fans, the film, The Martian, is another good example.) WHAT IS THE INNOVATIVE STRATEGY USED? _________ WHAT IS THE INNOVATIVE PRINCIPLE USED? _________ Example #2 - Finding value in what people don’t want to do This requires finding the value hidden in the commonplace: the value results in finding a way to help people do something boring or difficult so they can do something they are looking forward to


doing. For example, most of us don’t like to wait in line. Students at Stanford University sold their time waiting in restaurant lines to those who came with dates and didn’t want to wait. The problem/pain was waiting: the value was in selling one’s waiting time. What makes this interesting is that the “wait” was a prelude to pleasure – an intimate evening out, a good dinner, etc. WHAT IS THE INNOVATIVE STRATEGY USED? _________ WHAT IS THE INNOVATIVE PRINCIPLE USED? _________ Example #3 - Forcing a Solution: Problem plus Object Start with the problem. Then pick (arbitrarily) some object and figure out how that object might be used to solve the problem. The principle: limit the possibilities in order to focus on the problem and the solution. What is to be discovered: that there are many commonplace solutions to problems. WHAT IS THE INNOVATIVE STRATEGY USED? _________ WHAT IS THE INNOVATIVE PRINCIPLE USED? _________

ANSWERS: Example #1 - Strategy: Regressive Innovation | Principle: Define/Reframe Value Example #2 - Strategy: Incremental Innovation | Principle: Find the Pain & Need Example #3 - Strategy: Regressive Innovation | Principles: Establish Constraints, Find the Pain, Make Connections


Exercise #2 Learning to Look Pick one and answer. 1. 2.


Look at your “junk.” What use might you make of it? Or how might it become valuable to someone else? As you’ve made your way around the city (or campus), what kinds of things have you seen not often used? Can you think of a re-use or re-purpose for this? Think of a problem you’re constantly facing (example: waiting in a line, looking for parking, waiting for an elevator, etc. How might your irritation be turned into a business proposition?

Exercise #3 On the Street & In the Store Here is a chance to practice your observation skills – first learning how to read the streets and then how to read a business. Example #1 - On the Street Walk down a street, observe and take notes. Start by deciding on one element or section of the street you want to observe. Next select one of the elements listed below (purpose, message, senses, perspective). Give yourself five or ten minutes, to observe and note particular elements of whatever you focus on. Below are examples of questions you may ask yourself as you observe – but don’t limit yourself to these - feel free to come up with additional questions if they come to mind.


Purpose 

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What’s the purpose of the street? To get folks to browse, to interact, and to move? How does the design of the street promote that purpose? How do people use the street? – To walk on it, drive on it, take buses to the businesses on the street? Who is using the street? Women, men, young, old and what social class do you take them to be in – working, lower, upper, etc.? Is there a difference in use and user depending on where on the street you’re focused? Or which street you’re observing? How do people walk? In the center of the sidewalk, near the buildings, in clusters, individually? Where are the pedestrians looking? What speed do they walk at?

Message 

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Why are the windows located where they are? Does their location tell you something about the store or the attitude towards the people on the street? Similarly, what about the entrances to buildings, do they invite you in? If not, why not? What are the messages when you look down? How does the pavement provide a message What are the messages when you look up? Are there banners, posters, signage? What purpose do they serve? What kind of businesses is on the street? How do they fit together? Who is the target market for most/all of the stores, businesses, restaurants, etc. on the street? How is color used? Does it attract you or distance you?


Senses 

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Think about your other senses – smell, sound, sight, touch. Do any of them help define the street – make it more attractive, less attractive, more memorable, or less? See blind. Try walking down the street with your eyes closed (being led by someone, of course). Do you “see” a different street? See time. How does the street change during the day and evening? What captures your attention? Is there a section of the street you particularly like (don’t like) and why? Is there a window display, a store front, street corner that draws your attention and why? Compare and contrast one street with another. Do you see a difference in pedestrians, use, purpose, etc.?

Perspective 

Consider whether “the look” of the street changes from different perspectives – time of day, from the point of view of others on the street, from the point of view of those designing buildings for the street, with a focus on the street and/or on the sidewalk. Consider whether “the look” of the street changes if you’re trying to describe/present it thru different media -photography, prose, video or audio. Consider whether “the look” changes depending on different speeds you might use – walking, skateboarding running, bicycling, driving etc.


Note: One of the best ways to get a different perspective is to actually experience the space from the actual perspective. Try one or try multiple perspectives and compare. If working as a team, consider having each person try different perspectives and compare experiences. Example #2 - In the Store Walk into two or three shops to observe. Select one of the observation questions below to answer after you observing the shops:  Who does it seem is the target audience for each of the shops?  What is one challenge/problem you observed in the store? Using one of the strategic approaches of innovation (see page XX), how might this store solve this challenge/problem?  What is the “story” the store tells that distinguishes it from other stores like it? (See page xx.)  What mood does the store promote?  What might the store’s owner do to increase its value? (See page xx.) To help in your observations of the shops, consider the questions below. Of course you should feel free to create your own questions, but these will help you get started. List adapted from inGenius by Tina Seelig Before Entering  

What is in the window of the store? Does this store draw you in? If so, how?


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Is the door to the store open or closed? How big is the lettering of the store name?

Environment       

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What is the color scheme of the store? How does this affect you? What type of floor does the store have? How high is the ceiling? How does this feel? How brightly lit is the store? How does this affect you? How loud is the environment? How does this affect you? Is there music playing? What type? How does this affect you? What’s the general sound level? Are people carrying on conversations or do they sit or move through the story silently? Is the store crowded with merchandise, or is it sparse? Does the store appear very organized, or is it cluttered? How does this affect you? Does the store have a distinctive smell? How does it affect you? Where is the cash register located? How visible is the store security?

Personnel 

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How long does it take a salesperson to initiate contact? Or how long does it take to be served or waited on or transact business? How does that affect you? Does the salesperson have a script to follow? What is it? What is the ratio of salespeople to customers? What age and gender are the employees?


Do the salespeople appear to have a uniform?

Product   

Is there a central display table with featured products? Which products are at eye level? Which items in the store are least accessible?

Customers  

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What is the average age of the customers? What is the gender distribution of customers? What do you estimate is the income level of those shopping? What is the educational and professional level of those in the store? How long do customers stay in the store on average? Do most customers appear to be on a mission (have a goal for being there)? Do customers clusters in groups (sitting or walking) or are they primarily alone? What percentage of customers purchase products? Is this store equally accessible to disabled customers?

Brand      

What is the “brand” or logo or motto of the store? Does it fit with your observation? What motto would you use? Who do you think is the direct competition for this store? How are they similar? Different? Where are the most and least expensive products? Are the prices of the products easy to find? Are there impulse items near the cash register?


Exercise #4 Constraints Example #1 – Six words can say a lot When asked to write a story in six words, Hemingway responded: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Other examples: “Stuck on repeat. Stuck on repeat.” “Found on CraigstList, table, apartment, fiancé” “I’m the careless man’s careful daughter.” “I’m not lazy. I’m pacing myself.” “An examined life? Not livable!” -- Oedipus Start with less and build more. Learn to connect. 1. 2.

Write a six word memoirs on a 3x5 card. Explain how it fits you. As a second step, select a card written by friend and, explain how that person’s memoir relates to you.

Example #2 – Editing Down Pick one. 1.

After your next class, write a 140 character takeaway from the class that summarizes the most important point made and then post.



Find 5 to 8 seconds of music from a popular song that captures its theme or would be recognizable to most anyone.


Read a 250 word paragraph on any subject and then edit it down to not more than three sentences with a total of 25 words. Which text reads better?


Make a recipe for a dinner that will feed four but cost less than $8 for all the fixings. (Try not to cheat by looking online.)

Exercise #5 Metaphors Using one of the irritations/pains you listed earlier or come up with a new one, make a metaphor out of it. What does the metaphor explain about the irritation and does it present a possible solution?

Exercise #6 Rules Perhaps as long ago as Plato and Aristotle, we learned that there are two ways of trying to understand the world: [1] Everything connects. It’s what makes metaphors possible. It informs our sense of community, of comparison, and of tradition.


[2] Nothing connects. It’s how we learn to distinguish every idea, how we define individuality, how we develop something that appears “unique” enough to be a competitive value. Depending on “the rule” we decide to use, we’ll see the world differently and describe it differently. For those of us inclined to connect everything, stop for a moment and try to distinguish everything. Similarly those inclined to distinguish everything will learn a good bit by trying to make connections between “everything.” Think about other rules you use but take for granted. Consider, for example, how new technologies have shifted the way we engage with each other. What rules do they create and replace? Do they change our relationships and our notions about ourselves?  Emailing  Dating  Exercising Based on the new rules you listed, what businesses, services or tools have emerged to respond to these new rules? Do you see an opportunity for a new business, service or tool that does not currently exist based on these new rules?

Exercise #7 Learning from Failure: What’s there to learn? Most of what we do won’t work – call it a “failure” or, better, call it an “experiment.” Remember that you can get in the Hall of


Fame if you hit the ball one out of three times. Thomas Edison famously said, “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” The question is not that we fail, but what can we learn from our failure. 1.

Write a short (not more than one page) “Failure Resume,” listing not your accomplishments and successes as we normally do, but listing your failures. Explain what you learned from them.


Identify one failure. It should be a project, job, or assignment – not a general observation, about a personality weakness you have. Describe the project/job/etc. concretely – what did the work entail, what were you required to do and what did you do? Explain why it didn’t work. How would you do it differently?

Exercise #8 Defining a Value Consider any business you visit regularly and try to figure out its “value” -- how it judges its success. (Don’t use the metric of money or profit.)


A CLOSER LOOK Multiple Points of View Here’s are examples showing how the same scene can offer different solutions depending on point of view.

POV 1: Imagine that you’re a university student who waits and waits for the elevator. There are long lines – some people you know – but nearly all are buried in their cell phones avoiding everyone’s eyes. And you wait…and you’re bored. You observe that the elevators are filled with people who get off on every floor – 1st thru 18th – but by the time they get to the 9th floor an elevator is nearly empty since most students are going to programs and studios on the first eight floors. What’s the problem? Waiting is a problem we all face. It uses up our time, which we have little of. It turns us into sullen robots, half drugged with boredom, and it forces us to have meaningless conversations with people we barely know. Most of all, there’s no fun in waiting. What’s the solution? There are many: 

Speed up the process. Persuade the University to program some elevators to go directly to the 9th floor, while other elevators are programmed to go only to the 8th floor. Even better, have one elevator programmed to go directly to the eighth floor since a significant number of students get off there.


Make the wait more fun. Create an interactive wall game which involves a screen that will accept downloads from cell phones. Students who wait can post their art, design videos on the wall, some of which they might create especially for the occasion. It will encourage collaboration and play.

POV 2: Imagine you’re a university administrator who wants to impress parents and potential students visiting the University. You too see the long lines of students waiting to get on the elevator. But you also see the dingy lobby and the rather dreary elevators, and you see potential students and their families waiting, not engaged with blank faces. What’s the problem? It is a truism to say that “curb appeal” is everything – whether in selling a house or selling a university to potential students and their parents. You observe that the visitors wait without seeing, without being engaged, waiting to get to the right floor. Since the entrance to a space is the beginning of the story about the space and what people do in it, lines of restless students in a dreary lobby do not tell a story of an exciting place to attend. And the trip up is indistinguishable from any number of elevator rides they have taken. What’s the solutions? There are many. 

Dress Up the Lobby – Curb Appeal 1. In addition to the interactive wall murals provided by the students, the monitors could include selections of the creative work done by the various programs housed in the building. As visitors wait, they could see examples of performances, graphic


design, as well as students in the midst of creating their work in the dance studios, recital halls, and design studios. 

Create an Experience – Curb Appeal 2. Place monitors inside the elevators programmed to show student work – music, animations, videos, game art, performances -- especially commissioned and selected by faculty and students in each of the programs housed in the building. The effect should be something akin to the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine or Kesey’s Merry Prankster’s Bus of the 60s – surprising and fun. The elevator trip will be an introduction into the spirit of the programs and the art of its students. What an introduction to the story the university will have to tell!

Constraints, Reductionism and Creativity For those interested in art and the creative process, take a look at Eric Kandel’s book – Reductionism in Art and Brain Science – in which he discusses the impact of constraints and reduction in abstract art. For those interested in these principles at play in innovation and entrepreneurship, take a look at Eric Ries’ book -- The Lean StartUp – in which he offers a strategy of focus that simplifies the elements of a new business idea so we understand it better and can thus determine the best model. For those interested in literature, re-read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond. “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”



SUGGESTED READING & VIEWING You should create your own list of books, articles and online sites that you can return to for inspiration and help. The list below is a partial list of what we turn to. It’s here to provide you with a quick start as well as a way to recognize the contributions the authors listed have made to this little book. Books De Certeau, Michel, The Practice of Everyday Life, U. of Calif., 2011. Kolko, Jon, Exposing the Magic of Design, Oxford U Press, 2011. Moore, Geoffrey, Cross the Chasm, HarperCollins, 2002. Osterwalder. Alexander, and Pigneur, Yves, Business Model Generation, Wiley, 2010. Pine, Joseph, and Gilmore, James, The Experience Economy, Harvard Bus Rev Press, 1999. Ries, Eric, The Lean Startup, Crown Business, 2011. Seelig, Tina, What I wish I Knew When I was 20, HarperCollins, 2009. Seelig, Tina, InGenius, HarperCollins, 2012. Stilgoe, John, Outside Lies Magic, Walker & Co, 1998. Ries, Eric, The Lean Startup, Crown Business, 2011. Wagner, Tony, Creating Innovators, 2012. Websites Do Band and others. InGenius. Six Word Memoirs. The Lean Startup The Watermill Boy