April 17, 2013

Shut up and listen!

A great TED talk by Ernesto Sirolli about "appreciative inquiry" and social entrepreneurship.

December 23, 2009

Need finding tools

October 6, 2009

Needfinding tools

Some good sources for kicking off market research. from a Stanford course presentation slides A few observations on ethnographic research

September 3, 2009

College students brands

This list could be useful to student market research.

February 13, 2009

middle class in China and elsewhere

Good Economist article on why 50% of the world is now middle class. The China charts are quite interesting.

December 3, 2008

Empathy sessions

Great article in WSJ about how companies get closer to the customer (aged in this case) before designing products. There is also an embedded video the shows a GE empathy session.

December 18, 2007

a video social networking site called Seesmic

This is an interesting new, buzzy business. Might be interesting to look at first week, before we know anything, then revisit at the end.

A French Twist in Silicon Valley
With backing from high-profile investors, Loïc Le Meur is giving new meaning to the idea of "building a company online"

November 28, 2007

Seth Godin marketing guru solving problems

This may be a good starting point for innovation course. 8 minute video about sliced bread and the importance of solving legitimate problems.

November 16, 2007

innovation networks

Good info from Larry Huston, managing partner of consulting firm 4INNO, future competitive advantage will depend on "innovation networks" -- individuals and organizations outside a company that can help it solve problems and find new ideas for creating growth.

MannKind inhailable insulin

Betting an Estate on Inhaled Insulin

Published: November 16, 2007

A good example of the innovation journey, including the following concepts: overpersistence, lack of pluralistic leadership, management turnover, web of relationships, lack of customer demand, infrastructure challenges( including regulations), the value of prior industry experience, pros and cons of deep pockets

September 6, 2007

Unstoppable book by Chris Zook

Nice interview with BCG consultant/ author. This could be good reading for 4050. Mining customers for innovation ideas.

August 22, 2007

Harry Potter theme park

email from Marketing Daily:

Bloggers Key Marketing Aid For Wizarding World Theme Park
by Laurie Sullivan, Wednesday, Aug 22, 2007 5:00 AM ET
UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT IS INVITING opinions from fans and bloggers when deciding the taste of butterbeer sold at Hog's Head tavern and chocolate frogs from Honeydukes--delicacies whisked from the pages of J.K. Rowling's best-selling Harry Potter novels and into a high-tech theme park scheduled to open in Florida by 2010.

Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Orlando Resort announced in May the construction of a 20-acre Harry Potter theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort. Both companies have based the park--The Wizarding World of Harry Potter--on the famed seven-book series. Now organizers are looking for ways to connect and interact with fans through online polls, blogs and Web sites that give them a voice in shaping the experience at the park.

"The key influencers of the Harry Potter brand are living and breathing 24 hours a day on the Internet," Cynthia Gordon, vice president/new media partnerships at Universal Orlando Resort, tells Marketing Daily. Park executives affectionately call bloggers on some of the most influential fan sites "the AP of the HP world."

Sites like and provide a strong marketing connection between the Harry Potter brand and the zillions of fans worldwide. Bloggers follow news in real time to get a clear idea of where the company is heading, or how top brass feel about certain market forces affecting the industry. Almost instantaneously, the thoughts of company executives are revealed as they occur.

The insight into the power of bloggers came shortly after sending a viral marketing e-mail and sharing information on the Harry Potter theme park with seven Web masters. Following the web cast that detailed the agreement with Warner Bros., Universal Orlando's Web site experienced a 400% spike in traffic, the majority of visitors coming from links posted on

The number of interested fans flocking to the press room on the day of the announcement spiked, too--from 30,000 to 1.5 million. The news became No. 13 for the most-searched topic on Google. Now, about 60,000 fans are registered on the Universal Orlando Resort's site to get updates on park happenings. "You don't control it," Gordon says. Just let it happen, and "don't stand in its way."

The park plans to leak information slowly. There are no plans for mass mailings or press releases to general consumers, the travel industry or media. When ready, park organizers will direct fans to the news "with a wink and a nod" through sites and blogs.

The idea isn't a random experimental marketing stunt. Analysts say more U.S. consumers are visiting blogs. Peter Kim, Forrester Research senior analyst, believes the strategy makes sense, but because traveling to the park for some could become a high-ticket item, Universal Orlando Resort may want to invest financially in generating buzz.

"They could hold a contest to find out what butterbeer tastes like, fly the [winner] to the park to taste it, film the event and then upload the video to YouTube," he said. "Integrating offline with online would give the campaign more legs."

With one eye on overseeing the theme park, Rowling--who began her career as a novelist writing in Edinburgh cafes--has the other on a detective novel. The author has been spotted with a notebook in hand at coffee shops in Scotland, a British newspaper reported Saturday. Rowling--now Britain's richest woman worth $1 billion--according to Forbes magazine, wrote initial drafts of the Potter series in city cafes.
Laurie Sullivan can be reached at