AIM IT Leadership Academy: Creativity and Innovation

Friday January 4th was the third session of the AIM IT Leadership Academy on Creativity and Innovation. The session was TD Ameritrade Headquarters.


Started with ice Breaker trying to have each table get as many of the same color candy.

What is Innovation

Innovation is about scope. Before you start tackling a task. Do you ask questions? Remember you will always need help to make something happen.

When it comes to communicating:

  • Talker says about 130
  • Good Listener hears 400 to 600
  • Distracted Listener misses %45 of words

How to put Value on Something? Someone has to want the product or idea. 

Is value Subjective? What determines something value or cost?

Types of thinking:

  • Boundary
  • Lateral 
  • Backward-Forward 

Types of Value: 

  • Sentimental
  • Monetary 
  • Cultural 

Define what Innovations is to you or the company?

Understanding the value of a innovation idea? Do you have the mindset for Innovation. Does you company have the mindset? Do you have the Tools and space have innovation. 

You can spin anything from innovation to iterations. Step back and ask someone to be innovative? What’s there response. A  better person should make the team better? What is a person motivation to Innovate. A person may be a visionary but not at executing that vision. 

The team may be more innovative then the company. I truly believe that, but is this a team that gets more done for the team or causes change in the company because of what they do. 

When you think a well established company and innovation:

  • Change is Incremental 
  • Less disruptive
  • Less Risky
  • Moving Forward
  • Enticing

Business Life Cycle

  • Birth
  • Growth
  • Maturity
  • Delcline or Rebirth

Quote: Everything arises and everything falls: Buddhism

Customer Naturally migrate away from a product. Something  about a product needs to change. Do you take a Defensive Strategy? Innovate to be successful for a Offensive Strategy. In a offensive strategy 

  • Incremental Strategy
  • Feature Improvements
  • Business Transformations

Profound or radical Change is an entirely different level of change. Strive for a basic change of character has no resemblance with past configuration or structure

Transcendent Brands

  • • Innovation 
  • • Lifestyle
  • • Emotion
  • • Differentiation

People Perspective

There is a cost of Innovation: Does it equal monetary cost? Is there a change mindset when doing Innovation? Change Management deals with people in most business. 

Most people have skill set to get something done. Most people problems happen when a person is not to sure of the process to get something done. How can I show my value to helping people? How can I make people better Do people connect to innovation? What keeps people from being innovative?

Agile is about communication and collaboration. The tenants of Agile deal with all discuss of innovating. 


Vertical thinking is using obvious choices Select & reject versus Lateral thinking which is as many solutions and different perspectives. 

  • Write down initial statement
  • Underline keywords in problem
  • Throw out words

Backward and  Forward Planning

  • Visual Desired Result
  • List task & times
  • Plan supporting Tasks the same
  • Assign Responsibilities

LATERAL + BOUNDARY + backward forward thinking are building blocks of innovation. The follow are some characteristics  of a company that embraces innovation. 

  • Top Leadership supports innovation
  • Diverse set of Personalties and skills
  • The workforce & culture with innovation connect
  • Failure is expected and OK
  • Employees have time to innovate

What this session taught me is Innovation without value is a gimmick. If the correct influence is not done. Then passionate thoughts are really just opinions on what should be done. 

We did an exercise on what is a Innovative space. The outcome of exercise didn’t set well. It should have been what is the ideal work space a person needs to work. 

No one wants to fail at something, but we don’t innovate because it is a time issue. Is it a time issue or really a focus issue. That you don’t want to focus on things that you might fail at. 

The last exercise and part of the class was our table was to think of a innovative way to save a dying company. We grabbed Napster and our idea was passionate, but no next steps to do anything. 

Overall this was a good session. The facilitators were excellent. My take away is in some area of Information technology the work we do is really innovative.   Innovation happens every day.  We don’t call it that, but that what I got our of this session.