John C. McGinley on Memorizing Scripts

November 18, 2013

John C. McGinley, best known for his role as Dr. Cox on “Scrubs” was interviewed on The Opie and Anthony Show. He was asked how he memorizes a script. He gave three steps: He writes the entire script by hand. This helps cement the words in his head. In the column, he writes down the “verb” describing his action for that point of the script, such as smirk, listen, assimilate, etc. This allows him to quickly recall the mindset needed at any given moment. Once he has the script memorized, […]

How to Deliver a Boring Presentation

November 14, 2013

Think about the last speech you saw. Think about the structure of the speech. Many speakers use the “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them” model. Using this approach, I might say, “To innovate more effectively, you need to define your challenges properly. Problem definition is one of the most critical steps of the innovation process. Here is how you do it…” I would then share my approach followed by some examples of where this was used successfully. […]

Writing for Forbes

November 12, 2013

Starting today I will be writing a regular column on innovation for As a result, there may be a bit of a slow down on this blog while I write articles for them and the American Express OPEN Forum. But don’t worry. All articles will eventually be posted here too. Stay tuned!

Driving Your Differentiator Down

November 5, 2013

Imagine you are a company that produces products for consumers. It could be toothpaste or soft drinks. You decide that your differentiator is your marketing. (Read one of my articles on “Innovate Where You Differentiate“) Given this, you might assume that the marketing department is the most important part of the business. This assumption would be wrong. There is no “most important” department in any organization. Each contributes to the differentiator in their own unique way. To determine how, you need to dig deeper. What aspects of your marketing sets […]

Stop Being an Order Taker

November 1, 2013

Imagine that I am holding a glass of water. Here’s a question for you (you know this one)… What is the difference between a pessimist, and optimistic, an efficiency expert, and an innovator? The pessimist sees the glass half empty. The optimist sees the glass half full. The efficiency experts says, “There’s too much glass (in other words, fire half the people).” And an innovator asks, “Is someone thirsty? Is there a better way to deliver the water? Is water really the best liquid?” Innovators ask a lot of questions. […]

Look for Purposeful Tangents

October 28, 2013

According to a recent Huffington Post/YouGov poll 28% of Americans did not read a book last year. As an author, I find this both disappointing and yet not surprising. Fortunately most people read. But is what you are reading enhancing your creativity, or just furthering your intellect? Most people who read for business purposes focus on deepening their expertise. They read books, business magazines, and trade journals about their topic. For example, if you are finance expert, you most likely read primarily about money. The training classes you take are […]

Don’t Confuse Popularity with Value

October 22, 2013

A technology expert friend of mine just started blogging. We discussed which topics should be the focus of his articles. He told me that he recently read about another technology blogger whose most popular blog entries (as measured by tweets, comments, and Facebook likes) were in fact the least technical topics. My friend wondered if he should also write less technical blog entries. My response: Don’t confuse popularity with value. Why did my friend want to write? Because he wants to sell more of his technology consulting services. Which articles […]

Diversity Doesn’t Work

October 11, 2013

Imagine two groups of problems solvers. Group #1 is homogeneous. That is, everyone has similar personalities and areas of expertise. Group #2 is diverse and comprises a blend of different styles and experiences. Which group will perform better? In times of crisis and on simpler tasks, Group #1 will always perform better. They “speak the same language” and therefore get things done quickly. Their solutions may not be as creative, but they will be more likely to coalesce. But what about in less time-sensitive situations or more complex tasks? According […]

When You Hire on Price You Pay For It

October 8, 2013

Red Adair, the oil well firefighter, once said, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.” Over the years, I’ve learned this the hard way. When I’ve hired freelancers based primarily on price, the quality suffered. I paid dearly in terms of iterations and rework. Something that could have been completed in a week, might take 2 or 3. Instead of the work being done with limited involvement on my part, “amateurs” require a lot of handholding. I now […]

What to Ditch to Improve Your Life and Business

October 7, 2013

You’ve heard it before: To get more done, work smarter, not harder. One business innovator reveals what 3 things you can eliminate to help you do just that… For the past year, I’ve been experimenting with the concept of working less by telling myself that I only have one hour a day to get things done. This has helped me reduce the number of hours I work from 100 a week to just 20 per month. (If you want more details on how I’ve accomplished this, read my last article, “How […]

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