Innovation Happens When You Are Presented With a Problem

The study of innovation in the workplace focuses on moving beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary success. It is about channeling or harnessing the spirit of your workforce’s optimistic tendencies and pushing the limits of what you thought you were capable of producing or achieving in your business. It is about celebrating your strengths and maximizing your attributes and about moving the needle in the right direction to achieve successes that you never could have imagined. If you look, innovative individuals can be found in every community or business. They will be the individuals or groups that have been given the same resources but for some reason have found a practice or a behavior that enables them to find better solutions to problems.

Innovation theory focuses on demonstrations of excellence when organizations and their members break free from the constraints of norms and perform some extraordinary action. It is advantageous for every company or boss to find ways to get their employees to want to work beyond normal levels because when they do, output levels increase. If employees are involved in pushing boundary limits, higher engagement and increased job satisfaction occurs. Innovation happens, new inventions are thought of and processes are streamlined. Money is saved and new technology is achieved all because someone paid attention to something that was a little outside of what we normally do and said, “Hmmm… your different way seems to be working a little better than the way I have been doing it. Let’s try your way for awhile.” Pretty soon, everyone realizes that the experiment works a little better so it becomes the new standard of behavior. It’s as simple as that. So the question then becomes, how do you keep your performers motivated to keep moving the line of what is acceptable output and raising the bar higher on their own performance? How do you get your people to want to “Think outside of the box?”

There are so many reports, books, seminars, videos and trainings out there to help your company capitalize on innovation. Innovation is such a vague and broad term unless you can manage to tailor it to what works for you and your product or employees. I think what I would want someone to take away from my fascination with the merits of innovation in the workplace is that it is about fostering the spirit of innovation in your employees and building the desire for them to want to be innovative for the benefit of your company. So many companies are trying to compete in tightening economic conditions. With job cuts, increased job responsibility and company closings, streamlining processes, creating new products, expanding on existing ones and finding ways to make your company more successful are all very desirable, especially if your employees are the ones generating the ideas. The key is that it needs to be simple and relatable for your employees. They need to be able to understand it and see how it applies in their world and how it will make a difference if they switch to an innovative way of thinking. It can’t be so complex that there is no buy-in and it can’t be so complex that it takes years to implement and measure. The buy-in does need to be complete and affect all levels of management because leading by example is critical if you are going to change the culture of your business. If you and your upper level managers don’t understand it, you probably won’t be able to explain it or demonstrate it to others consistently.

Wow. The idea of changing how a company thinks still sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? I promise it can be done. I have seen it happen. I can show you examples of companies that have done it. I can show you statistics of companies that have increased their profit, saved countless jobs and revolutionized industries. I can give the names of fifty books that will make you jump up and say, “A ha! That’s it!” But without a simple plan to follow and a place to start, most of you will still feel overwhelmed and a little nervous about making such a dramatic change in your organization. Don’t get me wrong, I want you to feel as strongly about how great an innovative workplace can be. I want you to believe it and want it for your company and your people but if I don’t help you come up with the rough draft of a plan, this will might be just another book with a few great “A ha” quotes.

The dictionary says that Innovation is the introduction of something new. It derives from a latin word innovatus which means to renew or to change. Generally innovation refers to the creation of better products, services, technology or process. The words innovate or innovation have been buzz words for a decade describing everything from Apple iPods to car technology. It obviously isn’t a new concept. Anytime there has ever been a need for a new product or design to make our lives better pr something more efficient, some brilliant person was there to solve the problem. That’s how we got the light bulb, the computer, cell phones, space travel.

It isn’t different when you are thinking about your company. You have (x) amount of people that work for you that are specialists in a certain field or area. These folks know how things work and how to get the most out of your product. Have you ever challenged them to look at something just a little differently? Have you ever pushed them to produce just a few more of something in the same time limits? How about do the same amount of work with five less people?

Most of you are now saying to yourself that there was so much push back. You heard excuses like, “It can’t be done. Impossible.” There was probably some dissention. There might have been grumbling and complaining in the break room or at the water cooler. You might even have people that start looking for new jobs. But what if I told you that if your organization’s culture supports teamwork, loyalty, commitment that there are some studies that suggest lower turnover, absenteeism and higher retention. Companies that foster innovation are also shown to retain and recruit more highly skilled and trained personnel. Why? Because they are engaged in your business and want to succeed. Because they are part of the process and they feel ownership. They have access to knowledge and look for ways to build upon your business’ successes, failures and history. Individuals that are part of an innovative society don’t hear “I am cutting your friend’s job and all the workload is falling on you.” They hear, “We are struggling and there is an opportunity for us to pull together and get over this hurdle.” They hear, “The way the assembly line is working right now is going to work for one person, but if we slow the speed down, one person can produce the same amount of widgets if they work one half hour of overtime each day.” They hear, “If we study the hours that we have highest customer counts and staff accordingly, we can better serve the customer.” Not, “The sky is falling because I have to reduce staffing hours. We can’t make it.” We only think when we are presented with a problem. JOHN DEWEY

Thinking outside the box is a phrase that refers to looking at a problem from a new perspective. It is widely used by management consultants and performance coaches. Analyze or re-analyze the root of your problem and the rules. This will provide and a wider look at different solutions. If moves you to investigate the boundaries of the solution, perceptions and possibilities. Finally, it illustrates that repeating the same process over and over without finding the right answer does not work. You have to look at the situation differently and in a different way in order to see the answer.

It is universally accepted that innovation is a way that companies can insure future growth. Developing a learning type of environment or attitude is critical to encourage this growth. Recent studies have listed a few inhibitors to look out for when building this type of organizational environment. Long development times, a risk avoiding culture, having limited insight to customer needs, poor marketing and communication abilities, poor measurement tools or processes and possibly reduced or inefficient relationships with vendors or suppliers.

Why Knowing Your Past Is Important For Your Present

I am reading a fascinating book right now called, “What Disturbs Our Blood”. It is a true story of a man desperate to uncover the deep dark family secret of what happened to his grandfather – a prestigious and highly respected physician. After watching his own father, also a highly regarded physician, attempt suicide the author realizes that he must understand more about his paternal line or risk facing a similar slide into severe depression. The author who is a journalist, does an impressive search of his family history which takes him from Ontario to Ireland and then from coast-to-coast across the United States and Canada. His findings confirmed his suspicions that his grandfather also took his own life. Both his grandfather and father were at the pinnacles of their careers and showed no signs of an impending deep depression. It is armed with this information that the author not only wants to celebrate the significant accomplishments in bacteriology and immunology by his father and grandfather but it provides him with the motivation to start dealing with his own demons before they take hold of him.

The book inspired me to once again consider my own family history. Several years ago I started some genealogical work but quickly ran into dead ends. The family history on my Dad’s side (paternal) is incredibly muddy and the elder generation is either in no mood to talk about the history or has blocked it out. Undeterred, I hired a genealogist but without any leads from those alive, she ran into the same dead ends. I have learned enough to know why the history on my paternal side is rarely discussed but I also learned that my blood line are not as WASPy as I once thought. On my Dad’s side I am a mix of English, Irish, and German. Recently, I received an email from a distant cousin whom I have not met but she explained that my great, great, great grandfather was a shoemaker and is buried in Hull, Quebec. This might explain my shoe fetish and attraction to Quebec!

Beyond the somewhat trivial findings one can dig up with a genealogical search, it can be useful for examining health patterns in your family. If, like the author of “What Disturbs Our Blood” you find a significant history of mental illness, it might prompt you to consider your own health status. Similarly, one might find genetic links to diseases like cancer, heart disease or multiple sclerosis. Since most diseases are expressed as a result of genetic and epigenetic factors, a significant lifestyle change could alter the course of your life. It is funny how the older you get, knowing about where you come from seems more important. As Carl Sagan once said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.”

One more piece of trivia: the maternal line of my Dad’s side the family history is well researched. I recently received the family tree for that side and right at the top is non other than William Shakespeare himself!

Wine Journey In North Carolina – From European Colonization To The Present Day

For wine lovers and connoisseurs, North Carolina is one of the best places to be. Due to its diverse landscape, varied climate and nurturing soil, this US state provides exceptional environment for grapes and wine production.

Flashback of the vintages of North Carolina

Since the beginning of the European colonization in the 17th century, people here started wine production. The “Scuppernong”, a variety of grape that produces sweet wine, was first grown by the local wine producers in North Carolina. Due to its greenish or bronze color and large size, it was first termed as “the big white grape”. It is also the state fruit.

Medoc Vineyard, founded in 1835 by Sidney Weller, was the first commercial winery in North Carolina. With 12 acres of white and black muscadines, Modoc Vineyard was able to produce 60 gallons of wine in 1853. Before the American civil war wine production was prospering in the state with more than 20 wineries.

Ban on wine production–1920 to 1933

The Prohibition Period, a nation ban on sale, production and transportation of alcohol enacted from 1920 to 1933, greatly hampered wine production in the United States including North Carolina. During this period, muscadines were used only as fresh fruit and juice. The number of wineries kept reducing and by 1958 the number reached zero in the state.

Revival of wines in the US

In 1972, to promote wine production in North Carolina, the state legislature reduced winery license fee from $1000 to $100. The tax on state wine was also reduced from 60 cents per gallon to 5 cents per gallon. This action implemented by the state led to the inception of many reputed wineries such as Westbend Vineyards, Deerfield Vineyards Wine Cellars, Duplin Winery, Biltmore Estate Wine Company and Germanton Vineyard & Winery.

By 2011, North Carolina had more than 100 wineries and over 400 vineyards producing over 5000 gallons of wine.

Winston-Salem–Gateway to Yadkin Valley, the 1st AVA in NC

At present, North Carolina ranks tenth in grape and wine productions in the United States and is one of the five most visited state destinations for wine tourism.

The best of North Carolina grapes can be found in Yadkin Valley wine region. Yadkin Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) is recognized as a unique grape growing region in the United States. The wines made from grapes of this region are marked with “Yadkin Valley” on the label.

Yadkin Valley wine region is located 40 miles away from Winston-Salem. Also known as the gateway to Yadkin Valley, Winston-Salem has highest concentration of wineries in the state that allows you to visit numerous wineries in a single day. This city is home to more than 30 famous wineries such as Westbend Vineyards, Native Vines Winery, Flint Hill Vineyards and many more.

Wine Festivals in Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem is also the host of two of the largest wine festivals in North Carolina. “The North Carolina Wine Festival”, largest wine festival in the state, is held on Memorial Day weekend.

“Salute! The North Carolina Wine Celebration” is another wine festival which is held on first weekend in June.

Taste the best of Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem will provide you the break to visit the best wineries in the United States where you can learn the antiquities of wines; observe how it is produced and have a chance to taste the wines you like the most. You can also purchase the best wines produced by those wineries or take a tour of large and magnificent vineyards.

Or be part of the hand-picked or mechanical harvest which is generally done in between February and April.

Wine tour in Winston-Salem will definitely be one of the memorable tours in your life. To enjoy the beauty of the most admired vineyards and wineries in the United States, you can take a walk or cycle through them. The most effective way to visit the wineries and vineyards is to hire a car or a driver. You can taste more wines without worrying about your ride back home.

Response to the Present Mobile App Development Trends

Technology has been evolving at a brisk pace. One can state that the mobile applications have literally surpassed expectations and resulted in something drastically new. Every year the mobile platforms are housing innovations which have helped end users with several options for information access irrespective of their location.

Most companies who are developing mobile apps are making use of the existing software and technology but a new vision and innovation to the same. Most of the apps are targeted for a sizeable group of people in different sectors, including new businesses as well. The increase in demand of mobile apps has been feeding the requirement for developers and has also prompted the ushering of new talent in the field. The investment for the field has been humungous and with new platforms and integration with social scenario, one can expect a lot of things this year.

The rise in gaming and social apps was expected after the surge in the demand of a social background and connections with people all over the world. The mobile platforms right from Android to IOS to Blackberry and a few more have been keen to bring in new options for digital socialism and the new focus has been on content sharing. Content sharing is expected to boost user experience than ever before. A lot of multimedia avenues are open including pictures, videos and songs which has taken over the mobile internet. It is time for content sharing to extend to various spheres of our work including notes sharing and information sharing.

Mobile Payment apps are on the rise too and even banks are keen to explore this avenue to boost their revenue. Mobile wallet has mostly competed head-on with conventional methods of payment and has been the preferred way for quick transactions. The wallet is expected to overtake the notion of credit and debit card payment and extend it to new scenarios. A single click is now possible for payment of bills. Most bills are now been paid online through the mobile.

App stores have witnessed great apps for businesses and individuals. Businesses are now using apps which help them in streamlining their business along with customization of their sales and strategies too.

Cloud computing has seeped into the mobile app development field and with its strengthening security options, it has been easy for customers to opt for these options. Location specific apps have also assisted many users to make use of good information and services based on preferences, gender and other factors.

In the work area, mobile apps have facilitated mobile workers to remain connected and engaged with the ERP systems installed in the company. Each tailored application has helped the workers to connect, upload and fetch information faster, especially with the need for real-time need of services. Depending on a futuristic mobile platform for a better future is a must. Also, the apps of the future ought to deliver innovative apps which are much more enhanced and interactive in reality. The present trends even dictate a future for artificial intelligence by way of simulated virtual reality programs and the like.