Is Lack of Innovation Keeping You Stuck?

July 6, 2011  

I was recently interviewed by Lisa Earle McLeod.  The resulting article has been published in a number of newspapers and online sites, including the Huffington Post.  Here’s the first half of the article…

Do you ever find yourself trapped inside the same issue over and over again?

Maybe it’s because you’re looking at it through the same lens. Whether it’s a business challenge or a personal one, the way we frame problems can limit our ability to solve them.

Innovation expert Steve Shapiro says, “If you are working on an aerospace engineering challenge, and you have a 100 engineers, adding another engineer to make it 101 won’t increase your likelihood of solving the problem. But if you add a biologist, a musician, a nanotechnologist or someone from the movie business, you might find some different solutions.”

The secret, says Shapiro, is to get a different perspective.

Shapiro ( tells the story of an engineer who was trying to figure out a better way to plug leaks in the Alaskan pipeline, where it’s sub-zero and repair guys aren’t just down the block.

One day the engineer got a paper cut. As he looked at his finger he realized, my finger has the same problem that a gas pipeline has, but I don’t have to go to a surgeon. The cut heals itself. The question then became, how do I create a self-healing pipeline? He didn’t need a band-aid; he needed a clotting agent.

Innovation is not just about creativity for creativity sake, says Shapiro. And it doesn’t just apply to engineering challenges.

Innovation is about harnessing good ideas that solve very specific problems for a very specific opportunity.

If you want to make innovation a repeatable and predictable process to solve your most pressing challenges, Shapiro ( offers three strategies…

Read the rest of this article on The Huffington Post

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