As you begin 2014, we encourage you to note all the new & improved ideas you implemented in 2013. A bit of an "innovation review" if you will. You'll likely notice an innovation or two (or twenty-two) that didn't turn out as you expected.  
At New & Improved we had plenty of innovations in 2013 - everything from fresh strategies and improved processes to new offerings. There are two in particular that stand out as having had different and somewhat surprising outcomes.    
Read on for all the gory details - the good, the bad and the ugly. You'll notice we struggle with the same human challenges surrounding innovation as everyone else. We'll call this "The Tale of Two Innovations."
Innovation #1:  The Box
"The Box" was developed to solve the problems associated with the limiting belief that creative thinking has to be "out-of-the-box". What better way to demonstrate that we can think creatively in a box than a tool shaped as a box. Clever, right? We thought so. But did it catch on as we expected? Well, frankly, no - not even a little bit.

But an unexpected result was the popularity of this video featuring, Bob Eckert, CEO of New & Improved, ranting "think creatively anywhere you want - even within a box!"
Think Creatively Anywhere You Want - Even in 'The Box' - Bob Eckert @ New & Improved  
We know that we touched a nerve with this message (our blog "Creative Thinking in-the-Box" was one of 2013's most popular - see side bar) but we haven't yet seen a huge demand for "The Box" as a tool. While we wouldn't call it an all out failure, we certainly would not call it a success.

Key learning:
  • Don't get caught up with the "shiny new object" without a well thought-out strategy.
Hey, you want to do something fun with "thinking inside the box"?  We've got a tool for ya! 

Innovation #2:  12 Strategies for Successful Organization-Wide Innovation
The 12 Strategies for Innovation help organizations evaluate their efforts (from ignore to dangerous obsession) that are essential to cultivating a vibrant innovation culture.

The development of this framework began as a simple way to create an interaction at our booth at the 2012 Back End of Innovation (BEI) Conference in Boston, attended by Bob and New & Improved's Director of Organizational Development, Natalie Jenkins.
Their first step was to turn problems into questions. Of all the possible topics they diverged, they focused on "How might we create a valuable interaction around building a culture of innovation?"
This was the first time that Bob and Natalie had collaborated on such an idea.  They soon discovered that they had different styles. Bob, deeply rooted in all the research and data surrounding innovation cultures, is great at using language to communicate a compelling message.  Natalie is skilled at connecting images with words and pulling out patterns.  They will tell you that they both frustrated, and pleasantly surprised each other, while working on this project. At one time it was actually said, "This is a waste of time, let's just hand out our toy gators. 
They're always a hit." 
Instead, they persevered. To help herself understand Bob's words and, in turn, convey her concept to Bob, Natalie created a visual representation. This sparked Bob's idea that this could become an interactive poster.
Critical to developing this work was not throwing out (or as we like to say "gatoring") any ideas without first looking for the value in them.  It would have been easy for Bob, as CEO, to squash Natalie's exploration since initially he didn't see its worth. Good thing he was able to keep his arrogance in check long enough for the idea's value to emerge.

What they came up with was a mash-up; the best of Bob's words and Natalie's vision. It worked so well at the BEI Conference that they decided to continue to evolve the work and make it even stronger. Watch our video

This project is most certainly a success. It has been responsible for the development of new consulting projects and keynotes as well as a new training program, "Managing Innovation for Results", which produced 20% of this year's revenue. Who'd of thunk? Certainly not us. We had no idea this would generate such interest and new value to the market. 

Our 12 Strategies for Successful Innovation white paper is scheduled to be published in February 2014. Don't worry, we'll let you know when it comes out.

The story of "The Tale of Two Innovations" proves once again that we must try lots of new stuff in order to continue being successful. And...don't put all our eggs in one Box. 
New & Improved, LLC
Keep in Touch
If you enjoyed this edition of Innovative Brains and don't want to miss out on our next monthly edition: 

Want more? 
2013 Most Popular Blog Posts
2013 was the year of the
newimproved InnovativeBrains blog. 


Mashup Legos and iCalendar


Critics of New Ideas are Quick to Point Out All the Problems 


Diving Deeper Into Innovation


Improve your Vision


Creative Thinking in-the-Box


What Really Drives Innovation: The Top 10 List


Innovators, should you be willing to compromise?




Pitching Ideas: How to sell solutions through the bureaucracy 


Wake Up and Warm Up Your Creative Mind

Summary of 2013's New Stuff
New Offerings:

New Ways to Connect:

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Ways we can help...
New & Improved is a global firm that focuses on the capabilities organizations need to create growth through innovation.  How do we do that?  


Here are some ways:

To explore options:



Call:  +1 518-327-3554


Check out our Innovation HotSpot for free resources


Meet Other Innovative Brains

4th Annual Consumer Insights in New Product Design & Delivery
February 26-27, 2014
Miami, FL
June 18-22, 2014
Buffalo, NY

February 4-6, 2014 
Munich, Germany

May 13-15, 2014
Boston, MA
March 17-19, 2014 
Venice, Italy

"Building a sustained culture where innovation can thrive and drive results can be the most rewarding work a leader ever does."

Bob Eckert, CEO
New & Improved.