What is an Innovate-A-thon?

An Innovate-A-thon(tm) is a series of complementary team activities for creating something new and better ... an innovation!  (The "something" could be a product, service, process ...)

Innovate-A-thon participants collaborate to reach a goal in a predetermined period of time.  An independent, neutral facilitator/leader keeps the team focused, productive, and the process on-track and on-time. 

Participants receive a solid fundamental education in core creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial-thinking principles.

Innovate-A-thon creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship principles have been refined through application in a variety of companies, business development support groups, nonprofit associations, universities, and other organizations.

An Innovate-A-thon program can be custom-structured to fit the needs of a particular organization or company, as well as at a variety of instructional and participation levels.

Innovate-A-thon Stages

There are four InnovateAthon stages (along with a before-starting prequel and an after-finish sequel) ...

Prequel: 0] Introductions ... team formation, review InnovateAthon concepts and goals

1] Identify ... what issues, problems, opportunities will be addressed?  What is the current status?  What is the primary focus for this Innovate-A-thon?

2] Ideate ... generate lots of ideas triggered by the issue in focus.

3] Improve ... which ideas have good potential?  How can these ideas be improved and refined?

4] Implement ... which concept has the best potential to effectively address the issue in focus?  How can this concept best be implemented?  What impact does it have?

Sequel: 5] Iterate ... inspect, investigate, increase!

Success Tips for Innovators and Entrepreneurs ...

  1. Be passionate about everything you do.
  2. Proactively seek new opportunities.
  3. Stay alert.

How to Build a Great Team ...

 Great teams do (some, many, all ...) of these things ...

  1. Challenge each other
  2. Provide mutual inspiration
  3. Perform well in a chaotic environment
  4. Maintain control despite the extreme pressure
  5. Trust each other

Entrepreneurial Mindset ...

 

  1. Take responsibility
  2. Get results
  3. Create value
  4. Earn a profit
  5. Solve customer problems
  6. Create competitive advantage
  7. Customer and quality driven
  8. Generate wealth
  9. Share the wealth with those that create it

Teamwork Skills ...

 

  1. Listening ... it is important to listen to other people's ideas. When people are allowed to freely express their ideas, these initial ideas will produce other ideas.
  2. Discussing ... it is important to discuss your ideas with your teammates until you agree.
  3. Questioning ... it is important to ask questions, interact, and discuss the objectives of the team.
  4. Persuading ... individuals are encouraged to exchange, defend, and then to ultimately rethink their ideas.
  5. Respecting ... it is important to treat others with respect and to support their ideas.
  6. Helping ... it is crucial to help one's coworkers, which is the general theme of teamwork.
  7. Sharing ... it is important to share with the team to create an environment of teamwork.
  8. Participating ... all members of the team are encouraged to participate in the team. (usually consist of three or more people)
  9. Communicating ... For a team to work effectively it is essential team members acquire communication skills and use effective communication channels between one another e.g. using email, viral communication, group meetings and so on. This will enable team members of the group to work together and achieve the team's purpose and goals.

Innovation Categories ...

Innovation has a revolutionary reputation, but an evolutionary reality!  

An innovation is (simply) Something New and Better ...
  • Something: a product, service, process, methodology, or market positioning. 
  • New: didn't exist before in this market space.
  • Better: desirable benefits, a lower price, or both ... compared to the available alternatives.

Glossary ...

  • Accounting: the action or process of keeping financial records relating to a particular period or purpose
  • Advertising: describe or draw attention to a product, service, or event in a public medium in order to promote sales or attendance
  • Assignments: a task given to someone as part of a job

Give it a Good SWOTT ...

SWOTT is a research, analysis, and planning tool used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, and Trends that affect a project or business venture. 

SWOTT involves defining the key objectives of a business venture or project, then identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable or unfavorable to achieving that objective ...

How to Make a Decision ...

1. Define the problem, characterizing the general purpose of your decision.

2. Identify the criteria, specifying the goals or objectives that you want to be able to accomplish.

3. Weight the criteria, deciding the relative importance of the goals.

How to Analyze Your Industry ...

 

  1. In what industry is your venture? (Use NAICS industry nomenclature)
  2. What is your primary NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) number?
  3. What other notable organizations are in this industry?
  4. What organizations are the industry leaders, and why?

How to Create a New Venture ...

 

  1. Identify and screen opportunities ... create a vision and concept statement; build an initial core entrepreneurial team; describe the initial ideas about the value proposition and the business model
  2. Refine the concept, determine feasibility, and prepare a mission statement ... research the business idea and prepare a set of scenarios; draft the outline of a business plan and an executive summary

Kindling Creativity ...

 
Level 1 ... Explain, Demonstrate, Identify, Illustrate, Translate, Show, Label
Level 2 ... Solve, Organize, Construct, Generalize, Examples, Relate, Summarize
Level 3 ... Compare, Contrast, Classify, Dissect, Analyze, Categorize, Take Apart, Sequence, Group

Types of Creativity ...

 

  • Expressive ... Very common form of creativity.  Example: Doodling, short notes, humming a new melody.   Useful for communications, advertising, sales.
  • Productive ... Common form of creativity.  Example: Finding a better way of doing a job.  Useful for process improvement, cost reductions, efficiency, improvement.

How to Use SCAMPER to Create Something New from Something Old ...

To create a new product, service, or process, try applying "SCAMPER" to an existing product, service, or process. 

SCAMPER is an acronym for ...

Brainstorming ...

A good way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas from which to choose! 

Brainstorming is a Creativity Super-tool ...

How to Find a Great Opportunity ...

 Great opportunities have these key characteristics ...

  1. Timely
  2. Solvable, doable
  3. Important

Customer Perception of Value ...

From the choices usually available in a marketplace, customers determine which supplier offers the best value. 

Different customers have different needs, different wants, different desires. Hence, multiple competitors may well exist in the same marketspace. However, seldom do competitors have the same market share. 

Typically, one company wins the vote for "best value" from a plurality (or majority) of potential customers.

In a nutshell, customers determine value by which supplier offers the best benefits at the optimal price.

AIDA is More than a Verdi Opera ...

AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action ... every ad or promotional activity should have these four elements. (Of course, there are exceptions to every rule!) ...

Elements of a Marketing Plan ...

 

  1. Market research and analysis ... customers, problem, solutions, competition, risk and reward, resources, feasibility ...
  2. Opportunity
  3. Mission
  4. Business model