Fran is a little sad. HaroldRoger scares me. Maryland!!!!

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Chuck is starting (its hard to call your daughter a boys name) a 365 project. It’s a pretty cool project that should start appearing on her blog soon (see above for a link). The problem is the project itself. It is about this green blog of shag carpeting she calls HaroldRoger. If it wasn’t one of the five ugliest things on the planet earth I wouldn’t care – but now we have 100’s of photos on the internet of this green amorphous mass that could be a dinosaur, could be a dragon but frankly just is ugly.

365 days of that creature on the internet may be more than I can handle. We shall see.

Now that we are Maryland folks I suspect I can find a few political topics to cover in the next few blogs. So things may get really interesting or pending your leanings they may get really boring.

We went out for a family walk/dinner last night. Found a wonderful Japanese steakhouse (a family favorite) and then wandered around the RIO area of Gaithersburg (just off I270). There is a custom cupcake shop in the little Rio mall area that was simply amazing. They even had special dog treat cupcakes so Fran was happy.

Fran other than getting the treat has been a little mopey. The boys and Jackie have all moved before (the boys when they were little from Cincinnati to Indianapolis, Jackie (chuck) once in Cincinnati and then to Indianapolis. Fran hasn’t moved before and it is hitting her right now that things are changing. She really is a critical member of our family – so the impact is on everyone. Funny but dogs are great at cheering you up but how do you make a sad dog feel better? Puppy treats didn’t work. I petted her for about a 1/2 hour last night. That hasn’t helped. I am beginning to wonder what we need to do as a pack to make our sad member happy again.

Carpets are delivered at the new house today – so it is time to get rolling! See ya on the flip side (or tomorrow). Barbara is leaving Indiana and heading to Maryland today, maybe that will cheer Fran up


The many faces of innovation

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What does innovation look like? Is it the look of frustration on a users face as they consider a problem? Is it someone surveying an industry or a government program and saying “there has to be an easier way?” Or is innovation simply the person sitting next to you on the bus with a new gadget that you don’t have – but suddenly need?

Is innovation getting the first adopter or the 12th? (or some number in between, or some number beyond 12). Is innovation the first time someone does something the new way and its more effective than doing it the old way? Or the last time you do something the old way, realizing the new way is more efficient? Is innovation a market changer? There are a number of books on the topic of innovation, from what causes and why innovation fails to the overall concept of sustaining innovation.

Innovation is applied to big and small things.

There is an excellent essay on Wikipedia that is the current posted definition of innovation the use. I like the definition provided “The central meaning of innovation thus relates to renewal or improvement, with novelty being a consequence of this improvement. For an improvement to take place it is necessary for people to change the way they make decisions, or make choices outside of their norm. Schumpeter c.s. (~1930) states that “innovation changes the values onto which the system is based”. When people change their value system, the old (economic) system will change to make room for the better one. When that happens innovation has occurred. Innovation can be seen as something that does, not something that is.”

But I wonder if in fact innovation isn’t sometimes a leap beyond what is. I was captivated by Walter Cronkite in the summer of 1969. From riots and rebellion and nearly class and racial warfare in the south he brought us the moon landing.  The first human being on the moon changed the world forever, closing the loop begun in a speech by John F. Kennedy. The moon landing closed a decade, and provided a source of innovation that still exists and is innovating today. From lighter stronger materials (anything from bullet proof vests – to a more structurally sound building in earthquakes) to what we now leverage as Cell phones, Televisions and computers.

It seems almost the innovation can be a leap (the moon landing) or a step forward (Windows 95) that change the way everything is done. Innovation is the disruption of “normalcy.”

The question becomes what is the next innovation that will change the world. What comes next?

Is “the cloud” the next great innovation? A mapping of technology, business process and professionalization?

It is a story for time to tell us….





Normalcy is a word coined by the American President FDR and is not a real word. Well that is not completely true. It is an innovation of language that allows normalcy to be a word now, it was not a word when it was coined more than 50 years ago.

Creative Technology & Innovation

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Many years ago I had created a company to dump in all the consulting stuff I was doing for various customer’s before I became a full time consultant (back when I was still a school teacher). That company had a name that I loved as it really represented what I wanted to do (now more than 20 years ago) with my life.

Creative Technology and Innovation (CTI)

As I dive into an examination of innovation and thinking around the concepts inherent in that dive, I was reminded of that now 20 year old company name. It meant something (to me) but really in the end it meant nothing at all. I was at the time embroiled in what was to become a 20 year odyssey trying to balance my creativity in a world where creativity isn’t valued. I suspect like many who sought to create that inner balance I haven’t come anywhere near achieving it.

That lack of inner balance has caused me to continue, well past my youth to seek the Windmills of creativity and to tilt at them. My fair Dulcinea is creativity itself. The essence of what is good about the world around us, the red flower and the perfect sunset. I miss being creative. I miss writing poems to mark the changing seasons and to wonder at why things happen.

So, some creative random thoughts;

  • Why is the color blue so peaceful?
  • Why does the appearance of Cardinal on my porch make me stop and wonder?
  • Why does the appearance of a beaver in the pond behind my house amaze me? Or for that matter why do I always watch the Blue Heron fishing?
  • What about a frozen pond makes you want to walk on it?
  • Why does the moon draw my gaze?
  • What wonder is there in the conversations of the stars?


Sandler Boggs


More on innovation

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Between communication and innovation I am pretty much stuck in an internal loop right now. I keep looking for a unifying theme in what I am thinking about and over and over again I don’t find one. They are truly disparate (communication and innovation) although at times great innovators are also great communicators the two aren’t often linked.

I also can’t stop thinking about them.

I tried (yesterday and a couple of days ago) defining the problem and trying to come up with a solution but so far I really can’t find an easy way to stop thinking about these two distinct and yet similar problems/processes. My current thinking is I should create a talk “The faces of innovation” and use communication to discuss innovation. So far that seems to me to be the easiest way for me to combine the two “concepts” that are rattling around in my brain right now.

Of course then I have to define who innovators are or what innovation represents to me. It is the problem that started me thinking about this. You can look at the world and place the label “innovator” on people who have created markets that made them very wealthy people.

The other side of innovation is innovations that changed the world (the kind of things they give Nobel Prizes for). So I am back where I started at the beginning.  Struggling to find a path that reveals to me what innovation really represents.



What does innovation mean…

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It is a light bulb that happens at times for people. Or is it something else? There is an old saying “Necessity is the mother of invention” I believe that but there are also times when quantum leaps of change occur. Changes that make what was obsolete and everything shifts to the left fairly quickly. Innovation (per the innovators dilemma) can be disruptive. Changes that cause previously successful ventures to suddenly fail. Innovation can fall prey to not invented here syndrome. Innovations that are stifled by the system that produced them because they change the system.

Innovation is an interesting question.

The thing I would like to think about today is the meaning of Innovation.

  1. Does the meaning of innovation have a positive or negative impact?
  2. Does innovation require change?
  3. Can innovation be over time and subtle?
  4. Or is innovation rapid and jarring?
  5. Can innovation be rapid and subtle?
  6. Can innovation be overtime and still jarring?
  7. What are the tools of innovation?
  8. What is the overall definition of innovation?

Is innovation a system change? or is it less than a system change, something that perhaps is a component of what was and yet becomes something net new?

You can look up any word online, (the innovation of Wikipedia – which is an innovation of the past – taking us back to the birth of the encyclopedia but returning it to what it did when first published by Voltaire making it a contributor forum of views of topics).

Innovation – for me the meaning is “seeing things as they could be, not as they are.”


Effective meetings and the dancing bears…

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Innovation and the chase of perfection. There is always something we can do better. As technologists, as architects and as human beings. We race to bring about all the things in our control and place them into controlled solutions and hope the things we don’t control, don’t explode. I wonder however if there is a better way. A unified modeling language for variables within the design and human interactions we have.


What types of meetings are there?

  • Unstructured
  • Managed
  • Brain storming

Are there other types of meetings? Defining the three types of meetings with first unstructured. Unstructured meetings can be very successful (strong leader) or horribly offsetting (unmanaged chaos). The overall impact of of an unstructured meeting without a strong leader is significant. But what happens when someone other than the leader tries to provide structure to the meeting, or there are two below average leaders trying to lead an unstructured meeting? In my book transitional services I talk about the idea stifling impact of this type of meeting. It destroys the open communication required for effective meetings. Managed and brain storming meetings are very easily understood, a managed meeting as a distinct starting time and agenda. There is only one person managing the speaking (but not the only speaker). Brain storming meetings should have no set beginning but a maximum length where ideas are thrown out. The only structure here should be an agreement to brain storm first.

Effective meetings, and successful meetings are two very separate things. There are I am sure many other types of meetings. I once wrote about meetings that featured dancing bears with colored markers, as a description of an unstructured meeting that in the end wasn’t effective.

How do you create meetings that build the right framework for the chase for perfection?