#32: The Magic of Innovation

August 2, 2019
Driving Eureka! Podcast
Driving Eureka! Podcast
#32: The Magic of Innovation

Your Innovation Podcast. This is the 32nd episode of the Driving Eureka! Podcast. The Driving Eureka! Feature Story: What’s Next After the Magic Show; Enabling Innovation Segment: 3 Innovation Secrets Revealed; Whisk(e)y Academy Segment: How Brain Brew Whisk(e)y makes sure their products are really GREAT!. Subscribe to learn how to Find Filter and Fast Track Big Ideas.

Show Notes

Driving Eureka! – Episode 32

Executives Love Magic

Merwynn the Magician!

Magic Isn’t the Key

The Real Research

Innovation Engineering Instead of the Magic Show

Companies Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

Innovation Engineering Provides Fast and Less Expensive

Need for Infrastructure to Innovate

Segment 2- Enabling Innovation

Magician Reveals the Secret

3 Areas to Look for BIG IDEAS

Wisdom Mining – Academic Journals

2nd Way to Find BIG IDEAS – Flea Market Patents

3rd Way to BIG IDEAS – TRIZ

Whisk(e)y Academy

How to Make Sure Your Products are Really Great

OK is a No Go

You Must Live with It

Insights from Living with It

Whisk(e)ys are NOT All the Same

Need Quantitative Data


Doug: [00:00:00] I think what management of most companies want is magic. As in they say they want something to happen and magically it happens.

Tripp: [00:00:12] That’s Doug Hall talking about the Driving Eureka! feature story. What’s next after the innovation magic show. The Driving Eureka! feature story is brought to you by the Eureka! Ranch. The ranch specializes in helping companies find filter and fast track big ideas. To learn more about our new Eureka hackathon methodology the fastest way on earth to create and problem solve business challenges. Visit Eurekaranch.com. This is Episode 32 and I’m Tripp Babbitt. All right. Doug. So this week what’s next. After the innovation magic show what’s the magic show.

Doug: [00:01:03] So I had an opportunity I was just down in Houston and I met with a guy who was very wise. OK so we were in a bar OK.

Tripp: [00:01:16] Everybody gets wise after a couple of drinks. Yeah.

Doug: [00:01:20] So now I a friend of a friend connected me to him and we we just got together and had a little whisk(e)y and we were talking and one of the things he said to me was he said I think what management of most companies want is magic.

Doug: [00:01:38] As in they say they want something to happen and magically it happens.

Doug: [00:01:46] Now forget about the fact that a whole lot of people may have had to go pull all nighters and do all kinds of work arounds and all kinds of craziness.

Doug: [00:01:55] But they senior executives love magic and it got me to thinking. That when it comes to innovation people really think of it as magic as in you know the magician comes in.

Doug: [00:02:10] Look there’s this magical new idea that happens and you know as you know Tripp I’ve spent a lot of time over the years doing magic in fact almost 50 years ago I performed as Merwin the magician and did magic shows started out with you know working with the ACLU kids birthday parties I turned pro for the same price that Springsteen turned pro I just learned this the other day. He turned pro and I turned pro for the same price I got five dollars just like he did. And I thought I was rich baby. I was rich. And I went on to do county fairs and festivals and summer theaters and all kinds of stuff and to help pay for college which was wonderful. But in many ways what I have done over the last two many years is the same thing which clients would come and they had a big problem and they needed a big idea and I would basically say to them it would look like it was magical that I would do that. Now some of the methods that we use of course are set front end of innovation which is that engagement of listening to consumers. Qualitative discovery thinking of designs you know fast and rough prototypes you know stuff that pretty common at the front end and nowadays that’s oftentimes done as Lean Startup and design thinking and all that kind of stuff and that’s all fine.

Doug: [00:03:36] But what I have learned over the years is that that magic at the front that magic show if you would this experience that you go through that’s not the key to making big ideas happen. The key is what happens after the innovation magic show.

Doug: [00:03:57] You know after that feel good cool experience brainstorming you know ethnography What do whatever the heck you call it but the front end that gets done. Then you have to do like real work. You have to make it. And so that’s why about 10 years ago I started to build this Innovation Engineering system and this is a new field of academic study and an innovation lead management which is built around you know bringing in some more substance. To the front end and most importantly giving a method of operating through development to the market.

Doug: [00:04:34] Ok OK. And this is not you know this is not magic.

Doug: [00:04:40] This is real work. OK but there are some tools that can help you. I mean you wait you what you do is this that you use your qualitative. That’s nice qualitative research. Kind of how people are feeling.

Doug: [00:04:53] But then we use data quantitative data so to make real decisions on it. We also do quantitative sales forecasting five year risk adjusted forecasting. And you say well why should I do that. Well because you’re going to have to take a lot of time and energy to make your thing. Don’t you want to at least know what the price is worth at the other end. You know it’s a pretty good motivator. Strategic alignment for innovations.

Doug: [00:05:21] Cassie you know with innovation you need to have freedom but focus. You know you need this sort of this because you don’t really know it. It’s not like you can say strategically do this. Now you’ve got to have a little bit of flexibility so we built a system for doing that. A system for doing project management. And it goes on and on. Whether it’s patents customer persuasion systems employee education there’s all kinds of different things to do.

Doug: [00:05:46] And the net result of all of this is by taking innovation engineering after the magic show that creates the idea we end up with ideas to market up to five times faster and with up to 80 percent less risk. So it’s you know when we talk innovation we talk Big Idea Hunt that is just the idea. That’s not what it that’s fine. It’s good good fun. But now we have to get to the real work and that’s where we have to bring in the data we have to bring in the discipline. All this stuff we’ve talked about on the podcast and we talk in particular about we talk about the brain brew segment on whisk(e)y. That’s the grind. And. And when I say grind you can look at that as a negative or you can go. That’s where we’re getting real stuff done. You know we are tired but it’s a good tired cause you’re figuring stuff out. You’re making stuff go.

Tripp: [00:06:40] So Doug when you we’ve talked about this in kind of different perspectives before and I don’t know whether is something I’m missing or in general but I think you’re trying to drive this point home because the other people know how to say it. The other innovation methods of lack this rigor or companies in general lack this rigor as that kind of the impetus behind in this together.

Doug: [00:07:10] Well it’s they I don’t think they even understand it. They don’t understand it. I mean the other methods are fine. I mean they’re fine for what. For what they do. That’s fine. But the challenge is that’s not where the problem is. And unless you’ve done this unless you’ve taken a dozen ideas from idea all the way through the process you can’t even understand what I’m talking about. People think when you put it into development magically it comes out the other end. The reality is is that’s not what happens. OK. And unless you’ve got some discipline in it unless you’ve got alignment unless you’ve got really good math as you go through this thing then you run into all the problems and the net result is a 95 percent failure rate especially from large companies.

Doug: [00:07:55] I mean this is crazy. And so I want to put a spotlight that after the innovation magic show where we we get this glorious idea and everybody celebrates they get this cool idea.

Doug: [00:08:07] Now the real work begins. And that’s the place where you have to invest the time energy and money. That’s the place that’s the most important part. That’s where management’s needed. That’s where everybody needs to be thinking and engaged. And we need to problem solve to make ourselves to make this idea become real.

Tripp: [00:08:25] One last question on this. I’ve got to ask this and that is when you go as you go into organizations and again we’ve talked about some of the previous episodes but you’re seeing that they’re lacking this full end to end system.

Tripp: [00:08:42] Are there specific things that they just aren’t going to have that you have that you could that you can mention in other words whether it’s the forecasting or some type of you know and again he the word magic. But magic in the quantitative research because some of the things you have. What’s the differentiator here.

Doug: [00:09:00] Yeah yeah. The key is you’ve got to be able to do the rat research fast and cheap quantitative research on the product or the service. I mean because the longer it takes to do that the less bold you’re going to be because you’re gonna play it safe. So you need to be able to do it. And in our case we cut the cost by about 94 percent 95 percent. We cut the cost time and cost because of some of the digital tools. But it’s also a mindset that has to be educated into the people. OK. And sadly we take our engineers we take our finance people we take our procurement people and we don’t think their job is necessarily to be created. We have those marketing people do that creative stuff. But the fact is is to make the idea real we’re going to need innovation and creative thinking by all of those people. All of those people all the way to market. And that’s the part that we just don’t. It doesn’t sound flashy. Let’s teach engineers accountants and purchasing agents and lawyers and regulatory people how to think innovatively. You know that’s just that’s not hip you know. But that’s the key. That’s the people that make you know that the thing go.

Doug: [00:10:17] This is the engine room. This this these are the people that make the boat go.

Doug: [00:10:21] I mean it you need to have that infrastructure and that’s the focus of my life today is to help teach those people so that they can have the wonders of figuring out how to problem solve because Tripp I’ve got it over and over again. I got people saying I got this great idea. They have this great idea. How the heck are you going to make that they go Well that’s what our needs for. And I’m like Yeah. There’s irony and then there’s just plain ridiculous. I mean you break Newton’s laws of physics here. OK. I mean come on people. Well now you’re just not being open. I said I’m being open but you’re you. You have no concept of what’s it take what the chemistry is or the mechanics or the electronics or the software or or what. You know you’re not connected to reality here.

Tripp: [00:11:11] OK very good.

Tripp: [00:11:14] The enabling innovation segment is provided by the innovation Engineering Institute. Innovation engineering is a new field of academic study and leadership science. Its mission is to change the world by enabling innovation by everyone everywhere every day resulting in increased speed and decreased risks. To learn more about on campus off campus live and online courses visit innovationengineering.org

Tripp: [00:11:49] Well we have a new name for our second segment which is the enabling innovation segment. And this is where you do the big reveal of three of your innovation Magic magicians secrets and I still got a picture in my head when you were talking in the first segment. Doug about you being in a clown suit doing magic or something and scaring young children.

Tripp: [00:12:13] I still got that in my head. So hopefully you can you can move me away from that.

Doug: [00:12:18] Yeah. Well you should because I was Merlin the Magician I had the cape and the top hat. My brother was BooBoo with the clown. He was the one in the clown.

Tripp: [00:12:27] Of course it was the brother.

Doug: [00:12:28] Merwynn and BooBoo

Doug: [00:12:30] So for over 40 years I’ve been doing this innovation magic and they think you know people think I’m a genius because they do it. The reality is is not I’ve actually learned I was taught and I’ve discovered some some secrets. So this is the magicians reveal of the secrets. Take us. The week after next. I’m doing a weekend venting session an accelerator session with a Fortune 500 corporation that has a real high urgency they got to get some ideas for this problem that they’ve got they really need and they want big ideas big big ideas. And in preparation for the session there’s a lot of talk about you know the SWOT analysis strengths weaknesses you know all that kind of stuff and about the competitive offerings in their customers and all of this stuff. And I’m basically staying out all those conversations. I’m just I’m just staying out of it.

Doug: [00:13:24] My preparation is in three areas and I’m going to tell you that if you really need a big big idea these are the three things that I do to prepare. OK.

Doug: [00:13:39] So number one I’m going to do what we call wisdom mining or I’m going to look in academic journals. I’m going to look in these journals for insights into human behavior related to the clients challenges because they give me see the journals are peer reviewed so they give me insight with some validation.

Doug: [00:14:00] Then they take me out of the here and now and they get me to think at a higher level. What is the human dynamics that are going on. A lot of great psychology journals where they’ve done research studies with people to see about switching from one brand to another one product to another are changing behaviors. Some really good stuff. And that opens up my mind to looking at this from a much bigger thing because otherwise everybody gets in the weeds.

Doug: [00:14:23] They get into the weeds so I’m going to use academic journals and from these I’ll get myself probably a half dozen it’ll inspire about a half dozen ideas and I’ll be like rabid Cliff Clavin on Cheers.

Tripp: [00:14:35] Oh, Sure.

Doug: [00:14:35] You know that you know how he could explain everything you know at one point I’ll say an idea NSA and you know there was a study that was done at the University of California. That’s Rob.

Doug: [00:14:46] Rob you know I know thought and go oh so wise so wise. Now forget all of that crap because that does matter. What matters is I will take them to a new place by looking at it by using this academic journals as my inspiration. Okay so that’s the first thing I’m reading.

Doug: [00:15:06] Second thing I’m going to do is free. And what we call flea market pants now there’s millions of patents that are in the public domain because they’ve gone out and there’s about 250000 a year that we call flea market patents that you can buy oftentimes very cheap because they pay the maintenance fees and they’ve pretty much given up on them.

Doug: [00:15:26] And I really like patents as inspiration for something because they’re basically blueprints of how to do amazing things because you know when the patent was granted it was not obvious to people with or near skill. It was a true breakthrough. And I’m going to combine past patents into a new and amazing inventions that can be patented. So even though they’re free I can take those parts I can put them together in different ways add some other stuff to it and to have something cool and these give me a real leverage point because I’m going after real experts thoughts associated with this stuff. And they’re just incredibly powerful and I’ll have it again I’ll have another half dozen ideas that will be very disruptive oftentimes from patents in different categories. Then what the clients looking at. Where I will break so is like our whisk(e)y we took paper making heat and pressure to remove the ligaments to make paper applied it to whisk(e)y where heat is used to take the alcohol into the wood and then it comes out with the ligaments creating the flavor. And I took pulp and paper and applied it to whisk(e)y making and you know got amazing whisk(e)y. And so that borrowing brilliance from other categories can be quite powerful.

Doug: [00:16:53] And then the third one is TRIZ and this came out of Russia and it’s a technique of structure problem solving that was based on patents.

Doug: [00:17:06] This guy Ricky over in. That’s what we nicknamed it over in Russia studied all of the patents the output of invention and he found patterns that the same problem was solved in different in different categories. They solve the same problem and he put together this incredible system which can be very complex with books and you have to go through pages and the teams put together a cool automated version of this but you can do this you can look it up and you can find it and it is an amazing thinking system. In many ways it’s analogies using like a turbo charged analogy machine and it always works. It disrupts the thinking of your brain and gets you to fresh places. And as you probably guessed these three methods whether it’s academic journals patents or trees are all built into our courses for innovation and during both on and off campus and they’re built into the software platform to automate. But you can do them by yourself. I mean you can look them up. And so there it is. Yeah it is. It’s not magic but there’s some methods that allow me to shake my brain up and get it thinking from different directions.

Tripp: [00:18:23] You know when I when I went through the classes at the Ranch some of the things I was familiar with but I found it very helpful to kind of get some guidance on what to look for in academic journals from the class. I had never read a patent up until the time that I that I took the class. So I had no idea what I was looking at in it.

Tripp: [00:18:47] Unless you’re an engineer or somebody I mean you can you can suffer and sort through it if you want. But I found it very helpful in the class from my perspective to get professional guidance in kind of being able to pick the things out.

Doug: [00:19:04] Yeah. Yes. Coaching helps me. It absolutely helps. It absolutely helps but blunder forward. Yeah. Just go. Just get started is my advice to people is to just get out there and get started with some of this stuff because that’s what you need to do to make these things work. Just get out and try things. Just get out and try it. And but but looking at things unexpected all the obvious places everybody else is looking. You know if you want to find something different you gotta look somewhere else. And and that’s what I like about all of this stuff here is that you know whether it’s academic literature. I mean this is an original contribution to the art whether it’s patents has to be non obvious whether it’s Tripp which is an examination of it. I mean you know there’s a pattern here. This was this is original thinking that you’re looking at you’re looking at the original thoughts of some people and that’s kind of amazing. You know I’m just I’m just blown away. I mean these are where I’m reading the work of pioneers. You know that there were the first and if you want to pioneer. It’s nice to go back to that original source. Absolutely.

Tripp: [00:20:22] Brain Brew Custom Whisk(e)y is proud to present the whisk(e)y Academy. It’s an informal conversation from the front lines of craft distilling in the USA UK and Canada to learn more about how you can have your own custom whisk(e)y go to brain Brew whisk(e)y dot com.

Doug: [00:20:48] What’s move far Brain Brew Whisk(e)y Academy how you make sure your products are really great. Well we and we talked about a number of things before. You know with regards to you know doing taste tests and things of that sort. So what do you what do you got for us here today.

Doug: [00:21:06] Well this was inspired by. Number of trips recently where I’ve tasted quite a number of craft spirits and some of which were amazing and some of which were maybe not as amazing. Reznor all categories obviously and and I was thinking about why is it that guys tend to do pretty good. You know maybe better than pretty good. Very good. OK. And I realized that there was a pattern and it wasn’t we didn’t set out to do it this way. But it’s what’s evolved and I thought it might be helpful for people if you’re making whisk(e)y but also in other areas which is how do you make sure your product really good because you know it’s not as simple as you try it and you like it or you do a test. I mean you’ve got to triangulate it in from a number of different areas so the first thing we do as a general rule is the three of us that are the whisk(e)y makers who who crafted Joe’s the head whisk(e)y maker and then Philip and I also will craft whisk(e)y and the first thing we do is we’ll taste it and somebody in the three of us has to love it.

Doug: [00:22:20] If we all say it’s OK then we’re dead because OK isn’t good enough. But if one person if Phillips says it’s awesome and I think it’s just not it’s just not there. I know enough to know that I don’t know everything. And if he sees it as something that could be really hot as long as one person sees it is as awesome. Then we go for it. If nobody sees it is awesome and I’ll say I’ve made them myself and and have the guy’s face and I go out and it’s OK but I wouldn’t say it’s awesome. And you know it you just it we’re done. Start all over again. OK you just start all over again.

Doug: [00:23:00] In the event then the next thing we do is we quantitatively test it with a representative sample of the customers that this products can be marketed for.

Doug: [00:23:08] And we see how people react to it. And and then we find the truth because the numbers don’t lie. I mean they they tell us like it is. And OK so say we’re OK there and let sometimes we do that four or five times sometimes ten times sometimes 20 times it takes a while sometimes and then.

Doug: [00:23:26] The third thing is is we live with it. And this one has it’s been surprisingly because you need to taste test that kind of stuff. That’s one thing but. When you live with it. Your attitudes change your attitude change.

Doug: [00:23:44] This is like drinking it in different occasions in different ways in cocktails over ice neat with different people. Last night we had a at a barbecue and had a little fire afterwards and we’re sitting there were some chocolates and and and I went down to the whisk(e)y cellar and brought out a number of different bottles and ours and others and you know we did a little tasting of some of the different ones there. And it’s like you just start to see it in different occasions and it takes on three dimensions to you.

Doug: [00:24:18] And from this we’ll get new insights that will inspire changes or. Totally new products will happen and so it’s very much an iterative process of creating testing pivoting. And while many people do number one you know the whisk(e)y makers taste it their friends the number that really quantitatively test it and the people that you know drew out a sample bottle and have people live with it. There are very small very small. And that’s why that’s why we we’ve got a. Getting people to live that way. So you really see it in multiple dimensions is real important.

Tripp: [00:25:03] Yeah. You know it’s interesting to me and especially now engaged in this psychotic thing of trying to to put this distillery together in Indiana. But you know I find myself listening to videos and podcasts and different things on on whisk(e)y and it just seems so overwhelming to me at this point that you know it would seem I have such an individual taste that and you know you have three three people that in your group that have to have tried all of these things. It just seems like it’s so difficult to kind of find the sweet spot of not only what you three would agree to but what consumers would like like you do in the second step.

Tripp: [00:25:49] I mean it just seems very overwhelming to me that you would be able to find something that an entire market would like. And so do you have any insights into that any helpful hints as to.

Doug: [00:26:01] Yeah you got it. You’ve got to do it you’ve got to do it. You got it. You got it.

Doug: [00:26:10] I just had a conversation with a guy who’s starting a distillery and he’s like you know they’re all pretty much the same. I’m like dude you get it. He’s like by the time you add ice and water.

Doug: [00:26:23] They all taste the same. I said no they don’t. I said here I can make you for cocktails with four of our whisk(e)y. You told me those cocktail stays the same. They don’t.

Doug: [00:26:31] But see but that doesn’t do it. You got to get into it. You got to get into it and there are nuances and there are differences. And now in some cases if it’s the same mash Bill and all new American oak it’s going to be pretty much the same.

Doug: [00:26:45] If the climate’s about the same there’s not a lot of difference. But when you start using different woods like we do radically different with maple cherry 200 year European Japanese American. You get totally different dimensions of taste. And then when you start to put those wood finishes together you’re gonna get even more unique tastes. I mean that’s where the magic is. And then they all react to cocktails in different ways. Is the whole thing.

Doug: [00:27:14] So you know this is all very doable but you’re going to have to get some experience and we run for 500 600 quantitative taste tests. So you know I got a lot of data now but we didn’t start that way. We started ignorant and stupid just like everybody else.

Tripp: [00:27:33] So. So. So it’s really kind of finding the sweet spot by going and doing this and then getting Nic’s experience of knowing kind of what consumers go to and then as you as you’ve talked about in previous episodes talked about then pushing the limits of you know finding whole new categories of things too.

Doug: [00:27:52] Yeah. Well and it’s not just. Sweet spot it’s sweet spots with an S.. And it’s not just the customer it’s coz you know which customers right. So do I want millennials to do I want whisk(e)y lovers. Do I want old baby boomers hit. And I’m one so I can say it you know. Or do I want women you know do I want trendsetters. Do I want foodies to be into this thing. Do I want to be heavily cocktail focused or do I want to be you know drinking it neat like John Wayne you know.

Doug: [00:28:29] You know what do I want to try to make this thing into. And that’s that’s something that just takes some time and you have to put it together. They’re it. It’s kind of a giant puzzle. You know let’s you know cause you know. So you know we’ve got four whisk(e)y in our riverboat series. And you know to be perfectly honest you know I haven’t found anybody yet who likes all four. I know people little like the first two people that like the second two and I know somehow that you know we’d like the third and the first and you know. But you know they’re different and they apply. They apply to different people.

Tripp: [00:29:09] So you really get into finding breaking it down. You know I’ve heard that saying the rich riches are in the niches or niches which is.

Doug: [00:29:20] Yeah. Well I mean it’s. Yeah well. And these aren’t niches. I mean women is over half the population and it’s a growing group. So you know. So they’re good sized markets. I mean there were we’re talking about here but it does take it takes the hard data. You can’t do this qualitatively you have to get quantitative data because you can’t see these differences.

Doug: [00:29:41] You know you can get a lot of false positives and false negatives so you really have to get you to do the data which is why you’re testing which is why. I mean we’ve got somebody coming in next week. He wants to create his own whisk(e)y and we’re going to make a whisk(e)y for him and he’s a he’s out west and we’re gonna make a first distillery and we’ll take him through We’ll coach him through it we’ll run the testing for him because we can do it very quick and easy. You know again just like we’ve said oftentimes say coaching matters you know it really can help you. That’s what we’re here to do. You know that’s what brainpower is about is making custom whisk(e)y. So as we say because everybody deserves their own whisk(e)y.

Tripp: [00:30:20] That’s a way a great way to end the segment too. Thank you Doug.

Doug: [00:30:24] Thank you. Tripp.

Tripp: [00:30:30] Thank you for listening to the Driving Eureka! podcast. Go to Eureka ranch dot com to learn more about how to find filter and fast track big ideas. To learn more about brain brew custom whisk(e)y go to brain Brew whisk(e)y dot com.

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