Michael Plishka

Want to Harness the Power of “We”? Innovation Starts with “I”

People like to point to the fact that Thomas Edison had an entire innovation factory working for him, that innovation was a team effort.  While this is true in general, the deeper truth is that Edison was an entrepreneur.  He had to get the...

Systems Thinking Tools for Understanding, Visualization and Communication!

Innovations often have multiple repercussions both intended and unintended.  Systems modelling is a powerful means to  understand interactions and their consequences.  It can give insights into what types of solutions work and what types of variables create impacts and which don’t.  Not only should it be required teaching...

Talking Hearts and Other Parts

Every once in a while someone takes a technology and uses it in a slightly different way than usual.  A friend of mine who I used to work with way back when, shared just such a twist to a technology using the Livescribe Echo Smartpen. Dr. Mike is...

Communicating The New — A Book Review

I recently finished reading, Communicating The New: Methods to Shape and Accelerate Innovation by IIT Institute of Design Professor, Kim Erwin. The premise of the book is simple but it's a point that gets missed. If someone is trying to communicating a new idea,...

The Time is Ripe for Physicians to Become Mobile Medical App Entrepreneurs

On September 25th of this year, after approximately 2 years of soliciting comments from Industry, the FDA released a guidance document entitled "Mobile Medical Applications." The document defines under what circumstances smartphone apps, and the like, are considered medical devices. The...

Creative Milwaukee Work – My Summary in Words and Pictures

A couple weeks back, I was at the Creative Milwaukee @Work Conference. I've put together a social media summary at Seen.

How Monsanto Should Be Innovating

It seems that every week someone mentions something about Monsanto, and it's very seldom good. Doesn't matter if it's Facebook, or Twitter, or the news, someone is saying something. A simple perusal of a Google Search of "Monsanto" can give one the...

Ideas Aloft – A Reflection on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Winds rustled the trees and chilled me as I walked through the woods. A marsh bordered my path and I was amazed by the volume of white fluffy seeds, swirling and dancing on the winds. It got me thinking about the need for seeds...

Highlights from IIT’s 2013 Design Research Conference

Once again the IIT Institute of Design has put on a provocative and stimulating conference. Under the theme "Exploring Creative Balance in Design", the conference was a potpourri of glances at the past, understanding of the present, and flashes of future. It was held...

Never Underestimate the Power of Beauty

Think about this, next time you're designing a product, a service – an experience… If a fly lands on your food, or your hand: Wave your hand, chase it away, try to kill it! flies are dirty they land on manure and waste… If a…

Get Insights Into Human Behavior by Paying Attention to the Everyday

Looking for insights into human behavior? Sometimes they are right in front of us. The problem is that we are in such an automatic mode, that we don't notice what other people have done. We are often mindless (as opposed to mindful) observers of the...

Here’s One Thing You Need to See, Analyzing Words Upon a Tree

Great innovations occur when we can see things in ways that others haven't. To that end, we study people, their behaviors, what they say, and what they do. When looking through the research, sometimes it's difficult to tease out anything new. We get stuck in...

A New Tool for Understanding People’s Emotions – Beyond Verbal

"Hey, Bill, how are you doing?" "Things are going well!" "It doesn't look like it. Looks like you're tired and worn out. Something bother you?" "Nah, I'm hanging in there. Life is good!" Variations on the above conversation happen all the time. People say...

5 Insights Into Innovation From the Coyote

Graphic Courtesy of Nature.com (Click on it to read article on Coyotes) Every once in a while when I'm out jogging, I'll come across a coyote. They look at me, turn, and go in the other direction – disappearing into a thicket along the trail....

How to be Interesting (and Innovative, and Creative, and

What really struck me about, Jessica Hagy's, "How to be Interesting (in 10 Simple Steps)", was both its simplicity and profundity. Through the use of her trademark simple, 'index card' sketches, and wonderfully succinct text, Ms. Hagy shows the reader what it takes to become...

Innovation – It Was Never About Failure

In my last post about the IIT Design Strategy Conference, I mentioned that Bruce Nussbaum presented on what it means to move from a design centered, to a creativity centered, paradigm. One thing in particular Nussbaum noted was the shift from celebrating failure...

New Directions in Innovation and Design – Insights from IIT’s Design Strategy Conference

I was at the IIT Institute of Design's Design Strategy Conference this week. This is, no doubt, one of the best, little known, innovation and design conferences. Every year I get to meet people, learn, think, dream and be empowered to do and be...

When Success is Bad – The Math Behind Why Failure Is Essential

We all know Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong, will." But, what happens when the right things happen for what we think are the right reasons? Or, restating in a slightly different way: In any system there are ways of achieving the correct result through…

Sound, Remembering, and Sleeping – An Innovative way to Design Memorable Experiences

The idea of learning while we sleep has been around for almost a hundred years. It turns out that getting information while we sleep doesn't appear to be a terribly successful way of learning. But all is not lost. If we learn something and...

Sonic and Multi-Sensorial Branding

Over at FUSE 2013 , Scott Power, Senior Brand Strategist for Kaiser Permanente, discussed sonic branding vis-à-vis KP's work with Audiobrain. Power pointed out how sound is being used as a way to reinforce, not only the Kaiser Permanente brand, but their services, thus helping...

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