Weekly bits of interest - 28 February 2011

Developments and articles of interest from the last week:

  • Dr John Steen from the University of Queensland writes about the challenges of searching for the right people to talk to in organisations when innovating. "It seems that personal contact can build trust and empathy in a way that electronic communication can’t. If the personal connections aren’t made, then the electronic networks just don’t seem to work very well."[1. This quote is not covered by the Creative Commons licence or Commonwealth Copyright. From John Steen "Are You Too Scared to Ask a Good Question" 24 February 2011 accessed at http://timkastelle.org/blog/2011/02/are-you-too-scared-to-ask-a-good-question/]

  • Innovation expert Michael Schrage looks at the ethics of using unconventional ways to sell an innovative idea. "A small innovation team in a large confectionary company figured out a clever way to "personalize" their company's trademarked candies. Their boss, however, was more skeptical than supportive. Instead of going over his head at work, the team went behind his back at home. His philanthropically active wife was happy to use their technology to customize candy for her charity fundraising. The results delighted her. The project stayed alive. Sometimes, the boss's spouse can be more persuasive than a spreadsheet."[2. This quote is not covered by the Creative Commons licence or Commonwealth Copyright. From Michael Schrage "Unconventional Ways to Sell Your Innovative Idea" 23 February 2011 accessed at http://blogs.hbr.org/schrage/2011/02/the-golden-rule-of-innovation.html]

  • The US publication Government Technology lists its 25 top doers, dreamers and drivers in public sector innovation. Each year Government Technology identifies 25 people in the US from government, academia and the private sector who share a willingness to challenge convention and find new answers to long-standing issues.

  • The UK National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) is looking at how to encourage the take-up of green initiatives at scale. Mark Griffiths writes about the project and what is known about diffusing innovations. "Scale-up, or diffusion, or adoption is tough. But it is ultimately what matters - a good idea that sits in a pocket of glorious isolation is not enough to meet the challenges out there."[3. This quote is not covered by the Creative Commons licence or Commonwealth Copyright. From Mark Griffiths "Spreading green ideas" 23 February 2011 accessed at http://www.nesta.org.uk/assets/blog_entries/spreading_green_ideas]

  • In this post Jeffrey Baumgartner looks at the key factors for successful brainstorming sessions, including asking the right question, no squelching of others or their ideas, and an enthusiastic facilitator.

As always, please feel free to identify any other developments or articles of interest in the comments below.