Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once explained a key reason for his greatness: "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." There is considerable wisdom in this quote, and it's implications for business planning are profound.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends....


If you have a pulse, you will have occasion to address conflict situations. Experience has taught most of us that amicably resolving conflict usually doesn't occur by getting the other party to "see things our way", although quite often that's precisely what each of us initially seeks to do. There must be a better way, right?

Yes, there is. To learn more, read on, dear friends....


Many companies can find themselves dealing with external partners whose value-offering is strong but whose program management skills are lacking. When this creates issues, the company can question whether the "prize" is worth the hassle of dealing with them. Now, there are solutions to this challenge.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends....


Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart was once asked his definition of hard-core pornography. His oft cited reply was that it was hard to define, but that "I know it when I see it." I think that open innovation practitioners can often set their definition of an acceptable externally sourced solution with a similar mindset. Are they being overly hard-core?

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends....

What Does Marketing REALLY Want?

R&D executives routinely express frustration that they often must wait for Marketing to provide their new product needs. This information enables R&D to define its technology needs/wants. Why does it seem to take so long for Marketing to offer this direction?

I can recall an incident from several years ago while I was a Merchant (retail's term for Marketing Manager) working at Bath and Body Works' corporate headquarters. I attended a colleague's new product presentation to executive management. He presented what I considered a well-reasoned case for a new personal care product line.

On its merits, it seemed a good bet to be approved. However, I have learned that in retail, sharing executive management's sensibilities can sometimes be at least as important a success determinant as the logic employed in arguing one's case. His concept was deemed by management to not adequately reflect a sophistication that it felt was needed, based on comparative inspiration derived from a recent European retail shopping trip. His proposal was rejected and he had to go back to the drawing board. He also had to share this news with his R&D team members.

I share this anecdote simply because it helps offers perspective on some challenges Marketing can face when seeking to gain executive management approval to its new product plans.

I have found that corporate decision making can at times be far more subjective than one might imagine. I'm not suggesting in the example above that management was "wrong" to reject my colleague's proposal. Just that it can be difficult at times to predict success, and the criteria employed for making decisions.

Of course, I am recalling only a single incident, and it would be wrong to suggest that it is typical.

My point is: it can be tougher than it might seem that it should be for Marketing to earn management's green light for its new initiatives.What is your experience in this area?


I love mad scientists. I really do...but I tend to admire them from a safe distance. Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends....

A couple of weeks ago, I published a breakthrough technology offer for a microencapsulation process developed by a former NASA scientist. Not only can his process significantly reduce cost, it also can successfully microencapsulate live cells (which is currently extremely difficult to accomplish).

I have found that there is one reliable way to gauge a prospect's interest in a new business proposition: are they investing money in it? This may not be a terribly profound observation, but it's almost universally true.

Each of us is always selling it an idea, a business proposal, merchandise, or points of view. We all want to increase our personal effectiveness in influencing others. Whether one is an entrepreneur or a corporate go-getter, here are some suggestions for improving one's success odds in selling situations:

In any endeavor where one party is seeking to meet another's expectations, it is critical that both share the same success definition. Otherwise, when deliverables become subject to interpretation, this can cause undesired outcomes.

R&D routinely acts as the gatekeeper for external innovation submissions. They are well-positioned to judge whether an inbound submission is consistent with need, and also how it compares with other technical candidates and benchmarks.

Putting "Pelts" Up on the Board

Stay Focused on Success Factors

A bunch of years ago, while working in new product development marketing for a consumer products company, my colleague Allen McCormick neatly described for me how he viewed success in his role. "Putting pelts up on the board."

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