Posts Tagged ‘observing’

Mastering time elasticity

August 1, 2011 1 comment

In the much commented Art of War, Sun Tzu said: “The general who is skilled in defense hides under the ninth earth; he who is skilled in attack flashes forth from the ninth height of heaven.” Biding his time in some circumstances, acting in the shortest time with all his might in other circumstances.

As I walked along the cliff this morning, between sea and land, the smell of fennel suddenly hit my nostrils. Literally two seconds later, it was gone. Only then did I realise how fast I was walking, deluding myself that I was observing the landscape waking up in the early morning. Sure enough, I could see, hear, smell, but that was not observing.  Read more…


Don’t ask the analytical mind to spot innovation opportunities

November 24, 2010 1 comment

Let me start with a confession: I was tempted to write ‘why the analytical mind cannot innovate’. That would have been a more provocative title, something crisper and more catchy when it goes on twitter, but it would have been contrary to my beliefs and values. For I believe that there is a place for the analytical mind in the innovation team.

Yet, there is also little doubt that the analytical mind may indeed struggle with one of the roles at the forefront of the innovation endeavour: the observer. Read more…

Innovation by observation: the rise of the biomimetist

July 25, 2010 1 comment

One of IDEO’s ten faces of innovation is the anthropologist: the one who observes human behaviours and actions to discover wasted effort that could be turned into an innovation challenge. In the past decade, an eleventh face has been quietly but steadily rising to prominence in the innovation team: the biomimetist, Read more…

Cooking with the seasons: chef’s creativity insights

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Back from a great two days of conferences at La cité de la réussite 2010 event in Paris, on the theme “Re-inventing everything?”. At one of the conferences, Michelin-starred chefs Alain Passard and Ferran Adria shared insights about their creativity.

Creative challenge

Passard uses cooking with the seasons as a way to frame the creative challenge in a natural and meaningful way. In a world where globalisation Read more…

Learning innovation in the Digital Natives age

February 20, 2010 Leave a comment

I recently returned to Marc Prensky’s Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants landmark article, which features a now-classic example of learning innovation: creating the Monkey Wrench video game to get mechanical engineers to master a complex computer-aided-design software. While we can’t build a video game for every bit of teaching we need to do, there are some simple underlying lessons that we can draw from Prensky’s observations. Read more…

Local free-ad website forces eBay to react

February 6, 2010 1 comment

Visit and next to the traditional ebay homepage building blocks you will see a map of France that you can browse regionally to find local ads from sellers close to your home. If you fancy something, you can then contact and meet the seller face-to-face to see the item and agree a price. This looks completely at odds with eBay’s core values of driving price transparency through online auctions and virtually connecting buyers and sellers across the global village.  Are ebay prototyping a new offering? Not quite. Actually, they are merely reacting to an unexpectedly powerful local threat. Read more…

The innovation gardener stands the test of time

February 5, 2010 2 comments

McKinsey Quarterly publishes an interview of Alberto Alessi, CEO of a leading Italian design firm specialised in kitchen ustensil, that has been on the innovation front for decades.

Two of Alessi’s answers struck a cord:

1. In response to a question about the downturn Alessi says: “It does not change anything for myself, personally. My future is to continue to be a gardener. Read more…