Tax Innovation: The Path to Long-Term Prosperity

By Robert Brands and Martin Kleinman We Americans need to wake up – now – and stop acting like spoiled, immature children.  Elected officials need to put aside partisanship – now – and do what’s in the best interest of our country and speak the truth to the electorate.  And we all must do this without fostering and perpetuating certain convenient misconceptions and without coddling us like soft, over-indulgent parents afraid to say “no.” We are in an economic... Read more »

Finding and Applying Serendipitous Innovations

Innovation is all around us, and if you see it, observe and learn from it so that you can use the idea elsewhere. A classic example of serendipity or success after failure is the story of 3M Post-it notes. In 1974, Stephen Silver at 3M research laboratories was trying to develop a strong adhesive and instead created a new adhesive that was not too strong, could stick on all surfaces and be removed easily without causing damage or leaving residue. Not knowing what to make of this, it was four years... Read more »

Five Key Innovation Questions to Ask

There are plenty of reasons to innovate. Especially now more than ever before, sustained Innovation is the means to developing marketplace showstoppers that lead to profitable growth. Innovation is not a luxury that can be placed on the back burner, even for today’s successful companies. So before beginning your next innovation effort, here are some key questions to consider for mapping out an effective innovation plan. 1. What type of innovation does your organization need? The key to implementing... Read more »

Creativity Does Not Equal Innovation

Innovation and Creativity are words that are at times used interchangeably in the research and development process, but they have two distinct meanings. While creativity is about coming up with the big idea, innovation is about executing the idea and making it a business success. Do not confuse the two. An organization can certainly have creativity without the right steps to implement innovation. Innovation implementation calls for a robust, disciplined strategy. It can not be a one-time process,... Read more »

Three Issues that Stifle Innovation, and How to Overcome Them

As an innovation leader, you know how important a culture of sustained innovation is to the survival of your organization. However, there are many factors that can challenge the innovation process. These issues may come from team members, executives, or the general culture of the organization. Here some common challenges that companies deal with, and solutions for overcoming them. 1. The culture of the company is to keep doing things the way they’ve been done in the past – there... Read more »

Small Biz Radio Host Jim Blasingame with Robert Brands

Robert Brands joins Jim Blasingame on the Small Business Advocate radio show to discuss how to inspire Innovation. As the life cycles of innovations get shorter and shorter each year, it is truly an “innovate or die” world for businesses everywhere. Consumer expectations drive the need to innovate, and Robert Brands shares the best practices for bringing about that change in an organization. Innovation is all about passion, and is not for the faint of heart. As an innovation leader, you... Read more »

Managing the Uncertainty of Open Innovation

One of the hottest topics in business management today is open innovation. The concept uses an open business model for companies to “co-innovate” with their partners, suppliers, and customers – in order to accelerate the rewards of innovation. For example, a small or midsized company develops a game-changing new idea and works with a larger company to bring the product to market. Through the collaborative relationship of open innovation, companies are able to leverage new ideas... Read more »

Top Ten Tips for Selling Your Idea to Executives

Besides possessing creativity and resilience, the best innovators are the ones who can effectively communicate and “sell” their ideas to upper management. Innovators often have to get executive approval for support on a new product or venture. No matter how good an idea is it will not sell itself. The most important aspect of communication is to know your audience. In the case of an organization, know the structure, who the decision maker is, and who their influencers are. An innovator... Read more »

How to Build an Innovation Leader

Every organization needs an Innovation champion. This very important role requires exceptional people skills and communication skills, and the ability to be a master consensus builder among all players in the organization. Innovation champions come in a wide range of styles of interaction. Renowned psychologist Michael Kirton developed the Kirton Adaptive Innovation Inventory (KAI) as a profiling tool to measure problem-solving styles. The general characteristics of innovators are as follows: * Ingenious,... Read more »

Audio Book Release of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation”

“Robert’s Rules of Innovation: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival” by Innovation guru Robert Brands is now available as an audio book in a 4 CD set or downloadable at In his book Robert Brands provides a step-by-step guide to implementing and sustaining Innovation in the workplace. His ideas are distilled from over 25 years of hands-on experience as an Innovation leader. Brands has successfully delivered on his goal of bringing “at... Read more »

2012 Innovation Resolution: Turning Ideas Into Money

Innovation is an indispensable force that turns ideas into money. It is the lifeblood of any organization. In order to implement sustainable Innovation in 2012, you need to define innovation in a manner that makes strategic sense for your organization, and have the know-how to properly construct and use a process, plus the will to keep the process on course. The task may seem daunting at first, but it’s possible to develop a disciplined strategy that delivers Innovation time and time... Read more »

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays!  Read More →

Innovation & Best Practices, Then & Now

Antarctica Thrives as Hub of New Thinking Exactly 100 years ago December 17, an explorer found glory upon the Antarctic continent. One month later, his rival met a bitter, sad end. Yet, both share lessons in the power of innovation built on best practices – and the pitfalls borne of haste and poor planning. Today, for those looking for rationales behind the need for innovation in pursuit of excellence, the race to the South Pole offers both cautionary tales and textbook examples of success... Read more »

5 Tips to Innovate in 2012

Essential elements to get Innovation going As the New Year approaches, it is the perfect time to reexamine the Innovation efforts for your organization. A strategy for sustainable innovation is key to any company’s survival, and if executed successfully, will lead to profitable growth and increased shareholder value. With a new year and starting with a blank slate, it’s important to set your goals for 2012. What changes would you like to see within your organization? How do you plan... Read more »

Innovation Democratization: How to Get the Most Out of Your Team

One of the first steps of achieving Innovation in the new product development process is to assemble a team. While the organization’s leader may be tempted to call in “the usual suspects”, people with a history of success in that field, it is important at this point to include fresh faces in the group. Dr. Harlan Weisman, chief science and technology officer of Medical Devices & Diagnostics at Johnson & Johnson suggests connecting people who wouldn’t normally work together* – people... Read more »

Set the Stage for Action: The Innovation Audit

As a leader in your organization, you know how important sustainable Innovation is for increasing profit and shareholder value. It is time to take action and begin building that culture of Innovation – especially when there are competitive forces in the picture. Some signs that it may be time for an Innovation Audit The percentage of total sales from your new product introductions is stagnant or has slipped. Profitability has softened and/or costs are spiraling. Recent product development... Read more »

The Innovator’s DNA

Are Innovators born or made? That is the question authors Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton Christensen address in their new book, “The Innovator’s DNA”. Through an eight-year study with data collected from 500 innovators and 5,000 executives in 75 countries including leaders from Amazon, Apple, Google, Skype and Virgin Group, the authors attempt to find the common denominator of what makes an Innovation leader. They unearthed a key finding: that innovation is not just a product... Read more »

Innovation Failure is a Learning Experience

Nearly every attempt at success is met with failures along the way, and properly managing those failures can actually benefit the Innovation process. As an Innovation leader, do you celebrate failure and risk-taking in your organization? Doing so will broaden horizons and lead to more valuable ideas towards a culture of sustainable Innovation. Innovation = Creativity x Risk-taking. And more likely than not, the bigger the innovation means the greater the chance of failure. In the pharmaceutical industry,... Read more »

Customer Input Essential to Innovation

Innovation is not a luxury to be placed on the back burner, but rather the lifeblood of any successful organization. Innovation builds brands, which leads to profitable growth and marketplace success. An important part of attaining that success is through creating value in the minds of customers. An example of a technological breakthrough that gained customer appeal is the Rexam Airspray mechanical foamer. Since the invention of bar soaps in the early 20th century and liquid soaps in the 70’s,... Read more »

Patently Obvious – Sept 2011 Update

A new law signed by President Obama this month could mean a speedier patent approval process for inventors across the country. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, regarded as the most sweeping patent law in 60 years, was passed on September 16, 2011. The law awards patents to the first person to submit an application, adopting the first-to-file over the first-to-invent system. The objective is to reduce lawsuits and streamline the patent process. “Somewhere in that stack of applications could... Read more »

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