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Make this a year of great ideas

Use questions to create big insights this year.

The innovation world is filled with tools to create ideas that could solve the challenges we face. I find that the best tool involves a simple question that cracks open a problem. Questions are powerful tools if we explore them. Some times a simple yes or no provides the extra push to act on something. Other times, a question makes you say, "I never thought of that before!"

Here are some of the important challenges you will face. You can download extra articles to learn about what it means to be innovative. Some say innovation is a journey rather than a destination. Perhaps it's a journey but I prefer to believe it can be a destination as well. The sooner you can become an idea factory, the sooner you will able to solve the challenges you face with the conviction to act on your ideas. If you are ready to act you can order some of the unique books and navigator journals produced by The Idea Factory. Here are some questions to start your journey toward being a more innovative thinker.

How do you manage your ideas?
Idea Journals or electronic or online tools?

For the past ten years, I have created idea journals to help people become effective idea managers. Thousands of people have used the Conference Navigator Guide to find more and bigger ideas at conferences and doing something with them afterwards.

There is overwhelming research that tells us that a lack of time is our biggest challenge for being more innovative in our thinking. Despite all of our technology, I am still a believer in idea journals.

To put this challenge in context, download "When do you make time to think?" to review research that suggests that most of us do not find our offices to be great places to think. We tend to think while commuting, when waiting for others, at home, or over coffee with co-workers and customers.

You are an educated and sophisticated thinker, yet do you still use a blank pad of paper? Even if your basic journal has beautifully embossed leather covers, it's the same tool we used in school. The Navigator Guides are a new generation of knowledge tools designed to be used whenever and, more importantly, wherever you do your thinking.

Oh, yes. There is one more benefit to an idea journal. If you spill coffee on it, it still works! Try that with your computer, like I once did! Here is the lineup of Idea Factory books and Navigators to help you manage your ideas more effectively. You can link to each for more information and to purchase your copy of these unique publications.

Be innovative: become an innovationalist!

Sometimes the hardest step is the first. Regardless of your position in your organization and no matter how hard you think this challenge is, you can adapt a philosophy of an innovationalist. Read this page to begin your journey.

I am an Idea Factory!

Everyone needs new ideas on the job. This 48-page mini book is designed to help you understand what it means to be innovative. It's short, graphic and inspiring. It's an ideal incentive gift for staff workshops.

I am an Idea Factory! The Leader's Guide

Many great ideas already exist in our organizations yet few create the processes and tools to systematically harness and use the ideas of staff. This practical guide is designed for people who lead others. Its 160 pages are packed with ideas to get started right away. It is jargon free.

Yearly Idea Leadership Navigator Guide

Everyone has 12 months each year to achieve results. This Navigator combines a 12-month calendar with a toolkit for innovative thinking. Innovation Tools called it "a unique workbook designed to help you keep creative problem-solving at the forefront of your thinking and planning on a weekly basis throughout the year."

Idea Navigator Journal

We are in a knowledge age yet most of us still blank notebooks. The Idea Navigator Journal combines eight editorial pages to prompt your thinking with 25 note pages to help you make notes and manage ideas more effectively in meeting and on the job.

Conference Navigator Journal

Do you attend conferences, take notes and never look at them again? This Conference Navigator Journal combines eight editorial pages to help you find more and bigger ideas at a workshop or conference with a journal for your notes. It includes a pocket page to ensure you don't lose any important handouts.

Conference Navigator Guide

The Conference Navigator Guide has proven its value to change the way people participate in conferences. It includes 20 editorial pages to prompt and challenge you to get more value from a conference plus a journal for notes and ideas. It is a complete toolkit to get more value from a conference.

Seven Rules for Designing More Innovative Conferences

Canada's Globe and Mail said, "Seven Rules for Designing More Innovative Conferences is a short, simple and plain book that offers some terrific and long-needed ideas for improving conferences" and placed this book on it list of top management books of 2007.

Does your organization kill Ideas….and the people who create them!

If 'kill' is too strong a word, replace it with 'suppress', 'stifle' or 'smother'. Admit it. How effective is your organization in harness the diverse nature of people's ideas? The most interesting aspect of my innovation journey involves the work of Dr Kirton and his study of differing styles of solving problems with the KAI Centre.

The challenge is: while it's easy to work with people who think like you, can you work with people who don't think like you?

This is about managing cognitive diversity. The Idea Factory offers a full day workshop on this tremendous insight for building more effective teams: engage people in a way that best fits their style, not necessarily the 'bosses' style. You can read these articles for insights. Afterward, you can book a full day Diversity Workshop and Strategy Session.

If Manufacturers invest in R&D for new ideas, what does your service organization invest in for new ideas?

The Idea Factory is creating new tools to make service organizations more innovative in how they provide services and manage staff. It will launch a new program based on helping service organizations to foster innovation by creating an equivalent to the traditional "R&D" department. If the purpose of R&D is to create new profitable ideas for manufacturers, what is the equivalent function in the service sector? This means building a capacity to innovate defined in terms of three phase of service innovation: Insight, Design & Execution. In brief, the three elements of the capacity to innovate are:

  • Harnessing Insights - great new ideas start with great insights into your many stakeholders.
  • Designing Solutions - with a base of great ideas, design a complete experience and solution for your stakeholders.
  • Execution for Results - great ideas need great execution to become innovations for an organization.

This model can be used for a basic workshop or to establish a multiyear innovation strategy. This is the essence of a new book expected in 2008. To get more insights on innovation for the service sector, you can link to these newsletters, read:

  • Lessons from the Idea Factory Issue 3: Public Sector Innovation.
  • Lessons from the Idea Factory Issue 4: Service Sector Innovation.

For a FREE poster to stop killing creativity, download BANNED Creativity Killers

Ed Bernacki

The Idea Factory

If you want to talk about these initiatives right now,
call (1) 613 263 0046 or email

Link to an overview of Ed Bernaki new book: I am an Idea Factory!

Link to an overview of Ed Bernacki new book: 7 Rules For Designing More Effective Conferences