Tools

Innovation Software:

Business Modelling

  • LeanStack:  an interactive software package from Spark59 with a few tweaks on the original business model canvas

Wireframe and Application Prototyping

  • Balsamiq: A simple and quick way to create wireframes for your new website or software idea.
  • MockFlow: Another wireframing application
  • InVision: A third wireframing application that has a heavy emphasis on mocking up the final look, feel and function of your new application. It’s a great choice if you have graphic designers who are able to quickly create UI designs.
  • Axure: Another great way to create quick UI prototypes. Unlike InVision, Axure runs locally on PC or Mac and allows for quick changes and re-use of elements in the design. It’s design and prototype all in one app.
  • Principle: Principle is another great app prototyping tool which does both UI design and animated prototyping in one. It’s only for Mac so if you’re on PC probably Axure is your go-to.

Product Prototyping:

  • SC Maker Space: Membership and open-to-the-public workshop. They have everything you need in order to bring your idea to life. Whether it’s a 3D printer, laser cutter, wood shop or metal work shop, at SC Maker Space you can design and build your idea all in one place.

PDF Downloads/Templates:

[Note: signing up for their website is required to download. It’s worth it if you’re serious about doing human-centred design.]

  • Innovation Metrics: If you’re struggling to figure out how to measure the performance of your innovation efforts, check out these metrics from Strategos.

Excel Resources:

Deeper Testing:

Books:

  • The E-Myth and the E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber: 4o years old and still the ‘bible’ for establishing a successful model for a scalable business.
  • Purple Cow by Seth Godin: “The old ways of marketing are dead – and being safe is now too risky. You must be remarkable – you must be a Purple Cow”.
  • Built to Sell by John Warrillow: Start with the end in mind! “….the best businesses are sellable, and smart business people believe that you should build a company to be sold… even if you have no intention of cashing out or stepping back anytime soon“!
  • Choose Yourself by James Altucher: The hard story of the current reality. The World changes as if spinning on a cent, markets have crashed and traditional jobs have disappeared.  New opportunities seem to emerge and then subside like bubbles. No one is going to be there to hire you, to sign you, to pick you.  You must Choose yourself!
  • The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen: This game-changing book is a must read for those wanting to truly understand the concept of disruptive innovation.
  • The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christensen: In this book Christensen introduces the concept of “jobs to be done” and uses it to help you know how to innovate yourself out of the “dilemma.”
  • What Customers Want by Anthony Ulwick: This is a fantastic resource for getting the full scoop on how to apply jobs to be done thinking to your business. Could this be the real meat behind the solution that Christensen refers to? As the original father of jobs to be done, Ulwick goes into in-depth detail on how he has helped companies innovate using his patented process.
  • Mastering Lean Product Development by Ronald Mascitelli: Mascitelli is not as well known as Ulwick or Christensen but his method is excellent. His event-driven approach explains swim lanes, must/should/could requirements and a host of other great tools for innovation.
  • The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun: This seminal book is a fantastic read and provides real insight into what it takes to successfully innovate.
  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries: The Lean Startup is a great resource for entrepreneurs and innovators with the emphasis on continuous learning – the key to startup success.
  • Blue Ocean Strategy: This book started the Blue Ocean movement. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne have devised the now famous framework for thinking through innovation and competitive analysis.
  • The Innovators DNA: This book is a great resource for understanding the types of characteristics all the great innovators have and how to develop them in yourself.
  • Lean Analytics: A fantastic read on how to create and track innovation metrics.
  • The Four Disciplines of Execution: A guide to focusing on what matters and how to execute day in and day out.

Videos

  • Steve Blanks Customer Discovery Checklist: Steve Blank is a widely respected startup advisor in Silicon Valley. In this set of short videos he walks you through his process for customer discovery including how to reach out to people, get their feedback and iterate based on that feedback.

Courses/Course Materials:

  • MIT OpenCourseWare – Entrepreneurship: Highly recommended resources for a deeper dive from MIT.  It covers all concepts that are fundamental to innovation and entrepreneurship such as technology S curves, various innovation strategies, etc.

Reference Materials:

  • Summaries.com: High quality book summaries from various publishers.  Each one is thorough and concise. Save hours and dollars (each summary is only a few dollars each) and get the main messages from the modern day business gurus!

Inspiration Corner – Websites / Articles:

Design & Branding Resources:

  • Vitsoe – Dieter Rams 10 Principles For Good Design: When you get to the root of it, Apple has Dieter Rams, not Steve Jobs or Jony Ive, to thank for their incredible design prowess. This is a must read for those who care about good design.
  • Stanford D School: A crash course from one of the best product design schools in the world. If you want to learn about how Silicon Valley product leaders work their magic, this is a great place to start.
  • Annie’s Studio: Annie Wang is a gifted UX designer. She’s crafted simple and beautiful interaction/UX designs with several leading Silicon Valley companies including Survey Monkey and Intuit.  She has a fantastic infographic and slideshare on her Lean UX design process.
  • Interaction Design Foundation: A great website for immersing yourself in the dazzling field of interaction design. Browse the articles and textbooks for free!!
  • Brand Deck: This simple but powerful deck of cards can help you clearly and succinctly define your brand identity.