My Interview for Enterprise Leadership

March 23, 2010

A while back I was interviewed by Tom Parish at  On their site, you will find the following description:

In this podcast, Steve Shapiro, InnoCentive’s vice president of strategic consulting, talks about how InnoCentive’s open innovation model has helped companies solve the most challenging problems.

When the Oil Spill Recovery Institute in Alaska wanted to find out how to pump out the almost solidified oil at the bottom of Prince William Sound from the Exxon Valdez spill, the Institute did not turn to its researchers. Instead they posted a challenge to InnoCentive, an emerging company that specializes in open innovation also called crowdsourcing. According to The New York Times, the Institute paid John Davis, a chemist from Illinois, more than $20,000 for his idea. Davis, an expert on cement, figured that if vibrating cement can keep it from hardening, then a similar concept can be adapted to keep the oil in the tanks from freezing.

Founded in 1998 by three scientists working for Eli Lilly, the major pharmaceutical company, InnoCentive became an independent company in 2001. To date InnoCentive, companies, such as Dow Chemical and Procter & Gamble, and not-for-profits have posted more than 1,000 challenges on InnoCentive. Research areas include everything from business processes to chemistry. Steven Shapiro, InnoCentive’s vice president of strategic consulting, says that today corporations cannot depend on their internal research and development departments to solve their toughest problems. “They need to look at external resources. InnoCentive’s enables these organizations to tap into a global network of 200,000 solvers who enjoy the challenge of competing for a cash reward. Our partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation is helping to solve problems posted by not-for-profits working in poor countries.”

In this podcast, Shapiro explains the reasons for using open innovation to solve tough problems, InnoCentive’s business model for generating revenue, some of InnoCentive’s most successful challenges, the benefits of using InnoCentive, and the challenges this company faces in this economy.

You can listen to (or download) this podcast here.

Podcast on The Brain Advantage

March 10, 2010

Brad Kolar is one of the brightest guys I know.  He and I worked together in Accenture back in the mid-90′s.  He has been a contributor to all of my books.  And now he is the co-author of a fascinating book called “The Brain Advantage. ” I had the privilege of receiving a review copy and loved it so much, I provided an endorsement.

“For years, experts have been teaching leaders so-called soft skills. To date, there has only been anecdotal evidence to support their theories. Finally, The Brain Advantage turns these theories into hard science. Anyone with half a brain would buy copies for their entire organization.”

Recently I interviewed Brad for a podcast.  What you will hear are 40 minutes of fascinating dialogue about the brain, leadership, and innovation.  By better understanding the brain, you can help unleash the full creative potential of your organization.

Stream the interview…

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Or download the mp3

Small Business Radio Interview

May 11, 2009

Today I was interviewed on “The Small Business Advocate” with Jim Blasingame. This internet radio show address a wide range of topics of interest, no surprise, to small businesses. This was my 4th time on his show, and I honestly believe that Jim is one of the best interviewers out there.

On this morning’s show, I spoke about Innovation Personality Poker. And in particular, I spoke about how to create high performing innovation teams by getting each person aligned with their innovation strength.  Be sure to listen in…

Podcast with Inventor Brooks Lambert

August 27, 2008

No guy wants a beer belly. Right? Most would rather have a “six-pack.” Of course. But what if you could have a six-pack AND a beer belly at the same time? Well, now you can. The Beerbelly is a “removable spare tire” that holds 80 oz of beer (more than a six-pack), allowing you to bring your favorite beverage into any event. A while back I spoke with the product’s inventor, Brooks Lambert.

And now, you finally get to hear the podcast.

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Download the mp3 (right click and “save target as” to download to your computer)

Brooks told me that his company, Under Development Inc, was born to help others develop their ideas. His most famous invention – The Beerbelly – started out more or less as a joke that took on a life of its own. “We let the group choose a problem to solve, and then brainstormed ideas about solutions. The next thing you know, a buddy and I are cutting up a wetsuit and stuffing a CamelBak (a hands-free hydration system used by hikers) bladder in as an example of rapid prototyping.” That day, the Beerbelly was born. Their latest invention is the female version, called the Winerack. I’ll let you guess what that is.

Although these are fun products, Brooks’ main interests lie in more “socially redeeming” ventures. One day, Brooks and some buddies were brainstorming ideas. “We thought it would be cool if we could make a surf chair for the kids who can’t hold themselves up. The next day I made some calls and we found a race car seat manufacturer who was willing to make a custom shaped aluminum seat. We then got one of our local surfboard shapers to build a custom board to accommodate the chair, crossed our fingers, and voila, the surfchair was born. It works way better than we imagined and now it gets used on a regular basis.” This invention is used as part of the Ride-A-Wave charity, a 100% volunteer/nonprofit group that takes kids with all kinds of disabilities out surfing for the day.