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» innovation
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Creativity: How Right Turns Saved One Company $3 Million

No left turn

The other day a couple of my colleagues were talking about sustainability when someone mentioned how FedEx optimized their truck routes so that drivers only take right turns.  Why, you ask? Supposedly, right turns save on gas.

I was a bit skeptical and figured the story had to be an urban legend, so I did some digging.  The story is indeed true. Well, mostly true. The company that implemented the right turn program was UPS, not FedEx. And, UPS does take some left turns…but only about 10% of the time. Here’s how the right turn policy came about.

A few years ago, UPS was facing pressures to cut costs. UPS also had an environmental stewardship policy. In thinking about how to solve their budget challenge, UPS put two seemingly unconnected ideas together.

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Three Things Strategy Isn’t

There are many definitions of what strategy is, yet most people find the notion of strategy confusing. Rather than adding to the confusion about strategy, we’ll look at the question from another angle. Here are three things strategy isn’t. These observations come from participating in strategy development sessions and conversations within dozens of organizations. During this time, these tenants have rung true:

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Panera Bread’s Innovative Way to Help Fight Hunger

The other day my oldest son asked, “What happens if you go to a restaurant and eat, but don’t have enough money to pay?”

Well, a common answer parents give is, “Wash dishes.” But, the real answer depends on where you’re dining. If you happen to be at Panera Bread Co’s non-profit St. Louis location, you would pay what you could. The restaurant helps feed the needy and also raises money for charitable work. The retail location began in 2010 to test the “community kitchens” concept where businesses operate partly as charities.

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T-shirts, Dresses and Handbags that Power your Smartphones

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 05:  The Atrix 4G smar...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Once you own a smartphone, it soon becomes the center of your universe. I don’t know about you, but I feel lost when my phone is charging, or worse yet, when it is out of batteries. However, someday soon, smartphone deprivation may become a thing of the past. Take a look at these 3 fashions that can also charge your electronics.

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Project Managers Are Creative Too!

idea

Image by orkboi via Flickr

There’s a lot of talk about creativity these days. A sweeping number of companies around the globe cite creativity as the number one competency for the future. Creativity beats out rigor, management discipline, integrity and even vision for this coveted position.

About a month ago, I ran a creativity training program for an advertising agency. The folks who attended the training included representatives from strategy, account management, and project management. As I invited participants to introduce themselves, a curious trend emerged. More so than any other discipline, project management professionals described themselves as “not creative.”  This is unfortunate as the prevailing question in the field of creativity has shifted from, “Are you creative?” to “How are you creative?”

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Creative Ways to Finance Non-Profit Organizations

Washington Street

Image by Jef Nickerson via Flickr

I attended a fundraiser for the South End Community Health Center a few days ago. Growing up in the South End helped to make this fundraiser even more special. As I took in the sights and sounds of the neighborhood, I considered how much the neighborhood had changed since I was a kid. When I lived in the neighborhood, the area the South End Community Health Center occupied was a vacant and unkempt lot. Now, the Center serves thousands of residents annually. In speaking to folks at the Center, I learned of the creative way the South End Community Health Center was financed.

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A Forbes Study Finds Diversity & Inclusion are Good for Creativity and Innovation

For Two Bits Tuesday:  B A L A N C E

Image by EraPhernalia Vintage . . . (playin' hooky ;o) via Flickr

Chances are if you work for a large organization, your company has a diversity and inclusion policy. Organizations around the world are realizing diversity in the workplace is good for business. In fact, a July 2011 Forbes study found, a “diverse set of experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds is crucial to innovation and the development of new ideas. When asked about the relationship between diversity and innovation, a majority of respondents agreed that diversity is crucial to encouraging different perspectives and ideas that foster innovation.” While a diverse workforce fosters creativity and innovation, I believe how companies define diversity should be broadened.

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The Global Innovation Index 2011 is Out

Coat of Arms of Switzerland.

Image via Wikipedia

Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore lead The Global Innovation Index 2011 as #’s 1, 2, and 3 respectively. Interested in seeing how the 125 countries stack up? Read more. Beware, the report is a beefy 381 pages.

While I haven’t read the entire report cover to cover, I have made it as far as the framework. Here is a synopsis of the measures The Global Innovation Index used to rate each of the countries. Each of the pillars below capture elements of the country’s economy that enable innovation.

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My Sons’ Reactions to Creatively Ever After

Chapter 1, Creatively Ever After

Every night for nearly 7 years my husband and I have read bedtime stories to the kids. Now that the kids are older, they are excited to choose their own books. With shelves of books, I was surprised when my boys asked to read my book, Creatively Ever After. Though it is being published in just a few short weeks, I have never read my book aloud to an audience.

At first, I wasn’t sure if a soon-to-be second grader and a soon-to-be kindergartener would understand the “grown-up” concepts of creativity, innovation, and the creative problem solving process. I was a bit nervous as I started reading. My kids tell it like it is..the good, the bad and the ugly!

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Workplace Friendships Improve Innovation Success

people are the funniest people

Image by badjonni via Flickr

Have you ever taken a workplace survey that asked about your friendships at work? If you took a Gallup survey, the question asked you to rate the statement “I have a best friend at work.” In looking at the dimensions that promote employee retention, customer metrics, productivity, and profitability, Gallup found the friendship question consistently correlated with all four dimensions. In fact, employees who had best friends at work were: