Category Archives: Innovation

Panel on the future of technology and innovation work

At the annual conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, I was honored to lead a panel on I what I call collective innovation – the process by which technology helps to leverage the capital in distributed networks at a speed and with broader participation unimaginable just a decade ago.  Dr. Laura Dabbish (Carnegie Mellon), Dr. Jeff Nickerson (Stevens Institute of Technology), Charlie Hill (IBM) and Mira Dontcheva (Adobe).

Don’t miss the opportunity to meet Navi Radjou on April 12th at the Segal Design Institute and Kellogg School of Management

On Friday, April 12th from noon to 1pm, we are thrilled to be hosting Navi Radjou at the Segal Design Institute and Kellogg School of Management. He will discuss frugal innovation.

The lecture will take place on the Northwestern/Evanston campus in Jacobs G45.  The lecture is  open to all.

Frugal innovation is the ability to “do more with less”: that is, to reduce complexity and create significantly more business and social value while minimizing the use of increasingly limited resources. Thousands of inventive entrepreneurs and firms in resource-constrained emerging markets like India, China, Africa, and Brazil apply frugal innovation techniques to create simple but highly-effective solutions that deliver more value to customers at lower cost. Using many real-life case studies (Renault-Nissan, GE, Siemens, Unilever), Navi will show how you can apply the frugal innovation tools, techniques and mindset to address the needs of cost-conscious and eco-aware consumers worldwide in sectors ranging from healthcare to manufacturing to energy to education to financial services. Navi will also describe the grassroots “frugal innovation movement” unfolding across US and Europe, led by progressive government agencies like FEMA and SCIP, next-gen incubators like TechShop and Rock Health, and visionary universities like Stanford and MIT.


About Navi:

Navi Radjou is an innovation and leadership strategist based in Silicon Valley. He is also a Fellow at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, and a World Economic Forum (WEF) faculty member. He is a member of WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Design Innovation and a regular columnist on Navi is co-author of the bestseller “Jugaad Innovation” which The Economist calls “the most comprehensive book yet to appear on the subject” of frugal innovation. Navi is also co-author of “From Smart To Wise,” a book that PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi calls “a practical guide for accelerating your own wise leadership development.” An Indian-born French national, Navi lives in Palo Alto, CA.


Top 11 reasons you should ignore top 10 or top 100 lists: Metropolis Mag:

Last month, Public Interest Design named me as one of the top 100 people re-imagining the world. As honored as I am – and please do put me on all your lists! – I couldn’t help but think that “top” lists are exactly the opposite of innovation. Herewith, the top 11 reasons to ignore all those lists that you’re not on.

11. Lists are issued by the kind of people who are always talking. Innovation comes from those at the fringes who don’t have time to write lists. Do you think Alexander Graham Bell was worrying about other scientists’ ideas when he invented the telephone—or was he following his hunch that one might be able to hear sound over a wire?

10. Lists describe the world in generalities. Innovation comes from attending to detail. Apple engineers optically scanned people’s ear cavities, built 100 mockups of the Apple EarPod, and then asked more than 600 people to jump up and down, run, shake their heads—all with the intention to create the recently introduced earplug that stays in the ear in all in extreme heat and extreme cold. Can you put that process in a list item?

9. Lists are limited. The best idea is sometimes number 1,203. In 1946, frustrated with leaky cloth diapers, Marion O’Brien Donovan—in a desperate last resort—cut up the shower curtain in her bathroom and sewed a diaper to prevent leaks. Many iterations later, she patented the first reusable diaper cover made from nylon parachute cloth. The “boater,” as she called it, was the precursor to today’s disposable diaper. What if Donovan had stopped at iteration ten? Would we still be leaking?

Read the full article at Metropolis Magazine 4 Daily Habits of Game Changing Social Innovators

When we think about social innovation, we tend to focus on the outcomes—assistive technology for the blind, work for the underemployed, housing for the homeless. But it’s people who work day after day to come up with new ideas and realize better solutions to social challenges. What are these changemakers doing on a day-to-day basis, when not receiving MacArthur Genius Grants for their work? And could you be doing the same? Read the article at