Week 1: Introduction and Problem

Week 1: Introduction and Problem

“Topic 1: Introduction __ Topic 2: Defining and Phrasing Problems: What’s your problem? … Characteristics of good questions: Ambitious, unbiased … Prying your problem from its box … Characteristics of good questions: Plausible, useful, actionable … Actionable problems … Giving your question a personality … Going deeper … Discussion of stop & thinks … Week 1 Wrap-Up”
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Summaries

  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > How innovative are you? > How innovative are you?
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > How you'll become more innovative > How you'll become more innovative
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Innovation defined > Innovation defined
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > First steps: The PIG > First Steps - The PIG
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Next steps: In MuD > Next Steps: In MuD
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Discussion of stop & thinks > Discussion of stop & thinks
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Topic 2: Defining and Phrasing Problems. What's your problem? > What's your problem?
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Characteristics of good questions: Ambitious, unbiased > Characteristics of good questions: Ambitious, unbiased
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Prying your problem from its box > Prying your problem from its box
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Characteristics of good questions: Plausible, useful, actionable > Characteristics of Good Questions: Plausible, useful, actionable
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Actionable problems > Actionable problems
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Giving your question a personality > Giving your question a personality
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Going deeper > Going deeper
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Discussion of stop & thinks > Discussion of stop & thinks
  • Week 1 - Introduction and Problem > Week 1 Wrap-Up > Concept Review

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > How innovative are you? > How innovative are you?

  • Eight out of ten of us in surveys feel that creativity is critical to unlocking global economic potential.
  • How many of us feel we’re living up to our maximum creativity? Stop and think.
  • Realistically, which floor do you feel you now occupy with your current level of creativity? “.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > How you’ll become more innovative > How you’ll become more innovative

  • The proportion of respondents reporting that their innovative thinking is where they want it to be is only one in four.
  • In this class, you’ll learn to think more innovatively than you do today.
  • Like hundreds of my former students, you’re soon to become trained in a method that will make you a more skilled original thinker, amazing yourself and maybe even surprising the world.
  • Obtaining expertise at innovative thinking comes from practice.
  • When you see a sign that says Stop and Think, click on that navigation tab.
  • The more time and effort you put into these exercises, the more you’ll enrich your training.
  • Then at the end of each lecture, access my discussion of the Stop and Think exercises.
  • Who knows what may come from being discovered by industry? Moreover, students who pass all tests, thoughtfully complete all Stop and Thinks, and upload a group project will receive a certificate of completion.
  • As you complete more homework assignments, you’ll see yourself become more masterful as an innovator.
  • The books you’ll be using in this course are ones I authored, including the textbook, “Innovation Generation”, and the workbook, “Creativity in.
  • After careers as an emergency department physician, public health scientist, and dean of one of the largest schools of public health in the US, I’ve focused my passions on teaching innovative thinking.
  • Thinking about thinking became my calling after a former boss told me that all my academic accomplishments were great, but not enough.
  • More about them and my honors are in my CV posted in the course resource file.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Innovation defined > Innovation defined

  • DR. ROBERTA NESS: The term innovation is so intimately related to progress that’s come to be flaunted by anyone wanting to brand themselves as successful.
  • Innovation is plastered on everything new and sought after, from the trendiest business process to the hottest buy.
  • Making existing product or processes better, faster, or cheaper is one flavor of innovation.
  • Innovation has made paupers into millionaires and it’s radically change the world What is this wonder called innovation? Most definitions consider it creativity with a use.
  • Still, we use the terms innovation and creativity so synonymously that in this course, I’ll often use them interchangeably myself.
  • DR. ROBERTA NESS: Watching a horror movie, we both gasp together.
  • Whether the definition of innovation involves creativity or surprise, it’s a skill worth pursuing.
  • We begin with an overview of the innovation generation process.
  • Eggbert will keep reminding us of the innovation steps, which go by the shorthand, PIG In MuD.
  • What are we trying to accomplish? Exactly what problems are we wanting to solve? The best problems are plausible, actionable and useful, terms we’ll define when we get to this step.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > First steps: The PIG > First Steps – The PIG

  • DR. ROBERTA NESS: Identify and break frames is the I in PIG In MuD.
  • They’re assumptions people hold in addressing problems.
  • We think of obesity as related to personal decisions we all make about what we put in our mouths.
  • Changing frames from it’s the obese person’s fault to it’s society’s fault for allowing food companies to drown us in high fat, sugar, salt processed foods would surely change the discussion.
  • To diverge in our thinking, we’ll need the help of a whole toolbox.
  • Compare to solutions to similar problems from elsewhere.
  • Reverse our thinking by asking the negative of the question or thinking about the problem backward.
  • See if you can apply frame shifting, as well as the tools of observation, analogy, reorganization and rearrangement, lateral thinking, and groups to expand your idea space for solving the problem posed by Dana Air.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Next steps: In MuD > Next Steps: In MuD

  • Something interesting might just pop into our heads.
  • The good news is that there’s strong research that carefully crafted creativity training programs work.
  • Although you’ll also find key elements here that you won’t find anywhere else.
  • Evaluations of training programs, such as one overarching analysis of 70 studies by Scott and colleagues, find that students consistently increase the number and originality of their ideas by a lot.
  • Two- to three-fold more ideas were generated, a level of improvement that I found amongst my own students.
  • In business settings, innovation training made professionals more interested in novel solutions and more flexible in their approaches.
  • The best creativity training programs equip students with discrete tools, explain through examples, and involve meaningful practice exercises, all of which we’ll do here.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Discussion of stop & thinks > Discussion of stop & thinks

  • Volaris, a Mexican domestic air carrier, solved a similar problem to the one presented by Dana Air.
  • Mexico, like Nigeria, has a large and rapidly-expanding middle class and a vibrant free market.
  • By the way, the tool of analogy is what we’re using to compare Dana to Volaris’ model.
  • In Mexico in 2014, who might be new customers not currently flying or rarely flying domestically, but who have the need, resources, and desire to fly? And how do we serve that potential market? I- identifying the frames.
  • Volaris recognized that consumers expect air travel to be expensive and exclusive.
  • To identify these and other frames, they talked to and watched everyone they could think of- airline customers, and non-customers, employees, and many others.
  • G- in generating alternatives, Volaris used many tools.
  • Tickets are low-cost and easy to buy without credit.
  • Dissecting allowed Volaris to identify a few keys for making planes more like buses.
  • They reversed the problem of flying into city centers with planes that are noisy and can crash.
  • Volaris expanded the question of how to get credit to more people so that they can buy tickets, to a question of, how do we access potential buyer’s wallets? Learning that low income Mexicans typically hadn’t established credit, they sold tickets at department and retail stores for cash.
  • M- melding these best ideas into business practice, Volaris began to sell low-cost tickets for accessible point to point service between the most desired routes.
  • P stands for problem, I for identify frames, G for generate ideas, I for incubate, M for meld to fewer solutions, and D for disseminate.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Topic 2: Defining and Phrasing Problems. What’s your problem? > What’s your problem?

  • If I had an hour to solve a problem and life depended on it, I would take the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask.
  • My public health students often ask me, in approaching my research, should I use method A or method B? Even though you think the answer would be different for each student, my answer is usually the same, it all depends on what question you’re asking.
  • Around the table, directors questions were things like, how do we find new materials? What’s the most efficient transportation and how do we build it? How do we maximize customer satisfaction? All well and good, but isn’t the true question, how do we maximize the efficiency of getting oil and gas from the ground? Don’t all these other concerns miss a good part of the picture? Stop and think.
  • A large consulting company hired to identify the core issues they face identified five key dilemmas, two of which were, how to respond effectively to the economics of local markets, and how to secure grow market share.
  • What overarching question would you start with? And where would you go from there? “.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Characteristics of good questions: Ambitious, unbiased > Characteristics of good questions: Ambitious, unbiased

  • Central problem statements are questions that have the greatest potential to generate surprising and useful answers have several characteristics- big and ambitious, unbiased by pre-existing beliefs, plausible, actionable, useful.
  • Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory, asked, how did all species come to be? Ernest Rutherford, father of our current model of the atom, asked, what is the fundamental nature of matter? These questions later got broken down into bite-size pieces to be chewed and answered, but an almost outrageously expansive first statement of the question was needed to get at the existing essence of the problem.
  • What central big, hairy, audacious question would you suggest? “.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Prying your problem from its box > Prying your problem from its box

  • If you ask a framed question, you’ll get a framed answer.
  • To see how frames bias and constrain us, let’s look at a study conducted by Nobel Prize winning economists Kahneman and Tversky.
  • You’d have been asked to choose between two strategies to be used in combating an emerging infection from Asia.
  • Strategy A. If adopted, 200 people will be saved.
  • Strategy B. One third probability that 600 people will be saved, and two thirds likelihood that no one will be saved.
  • Which option would you choose? If you’re like three quarters of their respondents, you chose strategy A, the sure thing, a gain of 200 lives.
  • Strategy C. If adopted, 400 people will die.
  • Strategy D. One third probability that nobody will die, and two thirds likelihood that 600 people will die.
  • Which would you choose? Now three quarters of respondents chose strategy D, the gamble when the problem was framed as a loss of 400 lives.
  • The combination of strategy A and strategy D is illogical.
  • To have been consistent after choosing strategy A, you would have selected strategy C, which is the same answer.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Characteristics of good questions: Plausible, useful, actionable > Characteristics of Good Questions: Plausible, useful, actionable

  • Good questions are plausible, useful, and actionable.
  • Plausible, useful, and actionable are reality checks on our question.
  • If something works perfectly well, why would we spin our wheels trying to upend it? Useful implies importance, that the question and its possible solutions could impart positive change.
  • Germ theory, the idea that bacteria are transmitted between people to cause disease, was one of the most disruptive innovations of all time.
  • Germ theory answered the bold question- how do we stop disease from spreading? Prior to the work of Pasteur in France and Koch in Germany in the mid-19th century, disease was believed to arise from ill humors in the body, such as bile and phlegm.
  • This led to inertia, since disease seemed mysterious and uncontrollable.
  • Pasteur and Koch overturned these expectations by simple experiments, such as showing that bacteria did not grow in a sealed sterilized container.
  • Germ theory allowed scientists to discover specific disease-causing bacteria and to develop vaccines.
  • Sanitation, healthy food practices, safe surgery, and antibiotics could not have been conceived without germ theory.
  • Stop and think- is your key question for American health care executives plausible and useful? What kind of knowledge do you need to know, to determine whether it has these characteristics? “.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Actionable problems > Actionable problems

  • The shipping industry in the 1950s needed to address the question of how to compete with increasingly competitive air and ground transport.
  • Unable to compete and losing market share, they asked, how do we make ships more economical at sea as they transport goods? Industry executives built faster ships, used less fuel, and downsized crews.
  • Finally, industry representatives changed the question to the bold and unframed, yet plausible, useful, actionable one of, how do we get the most product to the most markets at the lowest cost? When put this way, it became clear that huge wastes of time and money occurred when vessels sat at port.
  • Despite needing new ships and new loading technology, container shipping became actionable because it was possible.
  • Is your key question actionable? If not, re-state the question with all attributes.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Giving your question a personality > Giving your question a personality

  • Going beyond the reality checks, questions will be more grounded and solvable if they’re specific.
  • Shampoo is not just shampoo; it’s shampoo for dry hair, for oily hair, for colored care.
  • Particularly lucrative markets involved newly resourced buyers.
  • Reverse innovation is a term that refers to inventions developed for the emerging global middle class.
  • 85% percent of the world’s population lives in the developing world, and the growing middle class there is estimated, by 2030, to reach the enormous size of three billion people.
  • Stop and think- finally specify your key question before you deliver your consultant recommendations to American health care executives.
  • Give it a personality- a who, what, when, and where.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Going deeper > Going deeper

  • Simply asking why or how, these sub-questions become evident.
  • The first branch would be how to maximize health outcomes.
  • Springing from this might be three second-tier branches- how to boost safety, how to expand prevention, and how to improve the treatment of disease.
  • From the prevention branch might be how to we engage community partners.
  • Why should we deliver? And who delivers prevention services? How to maximize early disease detection.
  • Another first-tier branch might be how to get the greatest value- i.e., reduce costs while not compromising outcomes.
  • On the CBS 3 HealthWatch today, how would you like a check-up from the neck up at the grocery store? It is new.
  • Try to further build out this health care tree asking how and why questions.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Discussion of stop & thinks > Discussion of stop & thinks

  • Simply asking why or how, these sub-questions become evident.
  • The first branch would be how to maximize health outcomes.
  • Springing from this might be three second-tier branches- how to boost safety, how to expand prevention, and how to improve the treatment of disease.
  • From the prevention branch might be how to we engage community partners.
  • Why should we deliver? And who delivers prevention services? How to maximize early disease detection.
  • Another first-tier branch might be how to get the greatest value- i.e., reduce costs while not compromising outcomes.
  • On the CBS 3 HealthWatch today, how would you like a check-up from the neck up at the grocery store? It is new.
  • Try to further build out this health care tree asking how and why questions.

Week 1 – Introduction and Problem > Week 1 Wrap-Up > Concept Review

  • Finally, we very briefly reviewed evidence that innovation training works.
  • DR. ROBERTA NESS: This brings us full circle.
  • We’ve learned that to pose a principal question, it should be bold, unbiased, plausible, useful, and actionable.
  • The best questions are big, yet specific enough to generate lots of potential innovative solutions.
  • When we ask how and why, our big and bold question produces sub questions with implementable or at least testable answers.

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