410: The Scientific Way to Find, Filter, and Fast-Track Meaningfully Unique Ideas with Doug Hall

By March 8, 2019Podcasts

 

 

Legendary inventor Doug Hall shares how to generate and implement great ideas with scientific precision.

You’ll Learn:

  1. An equation that predicts the quantity of ideas generated
  2. How fear impedes the creation of ideas
  3. How to fast-track ideas through a learning mindset

About Doug

Doug Hall is an inventor, researcher, educator, and craft whiskey maker. He is the founder of the Eureka! Ranch, Innovation Engineering Institute, and Brain Brew Custom Whisk(e)y. He has been named one of America’s top innovation experts by Inc. magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Dateline NBC, CNBC, CIO magazine, and the CBC. His book Jump Start Your Business Brain was named one of the 100 Best Business Books of All Time by 800-CEO-Read.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Doug Hall Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Doug, thanks so much for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Doug Hall
Well, thank you for having me.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I’m excited to dig into your experiences and tips when it comes to creativity, innovation, but first I want to hear about an adventure you took to the North Pole. Not Santa Claus, but the real North Pole. What’s the scoop?

Doug Hall
Well, yeah, okay. Okay, make sure people understand this. There is no Barbara Pole like you saw on Bugs Bunny at the pole. It’s an imaginary place that you can only tell by GPS. You spend days travelling to get to a place that looks just like every other place you’ve been three or four weeks.

A number of years ago I got this idea to join an expedition that was recreating Admiral Peary’s last dash to the Pole. I’m a big fan of Admiral Peary. There’s a hierarchy of people on the trip. There’s people that have done Everest and this. In fact, it’s called the horizontal Everest, the Pole is.

You do a training trip, where you go through all this stuff and everybody kind of gets their job. I was one of the tenderfeet as they say. In fact, I did a book called North Pole Tenderfoot that would tell the story about this. But I was a tenderfoot. I didn’t even get to be cook. I was the pot washer, which, let me tell you, at 40 below, pot washer is as low as it gets on the totem pole. But I was just excited to be able to get on the expedition.

So, in typical fashion, I kind of went over the top and we do work with top corporations around the world. We’ve been doing it for many, many years. I called in a whole lot of friends and we raised, I don’t know, a million dollars or some crazy amount of money for a charity focused on helping parents inspire their kids. It was in the early days of the internet. We had all these students and we had classes for them. It was just a ton of fun.

It’s an incredible experience. The North Pole, it’s unbelievable. The beauty and the sun’s up nonstop. You’d think it’s kind of like this white on white thing; well, it’s not because you’ve got all these blues and these whites and the shades and it’s unbelievable.

Now in a white out, you can’t see anything. It pretty much messes with your head. They called it …, the Arctic devil gets in your head. I went through it a couple of times, folks I was with went through it a couple of times, where you just basically lose it.

But as Paul Schurke, who led the expedition, from up in Ely, Minnesota, Wintergreen Lodge, says, he says, “It feels so good when you stop.” You go, “Jesus, that’s pretty weird. Why are you doing it?” Because it feels so good when you stop.

But there is a lot of truth to it because when you have pushed yourself in whatever it may be, whether it’s mountain climbing or biking or people that are into extended racing, when you push your physical body far beyond – you get to reasonable, you get to unreasonable, you get to “I’m going to die,” you get to “This is ridiculous,” and you can keep going, it gives you a strength that when you’re sitting there in your cubicle or in this room looking at stupid PowerPoints and they’re telling you the world’s ending, you go, “Eh, you ain’t seen nothing until you’ve gone for a swim at 40 below 0. You just don’t even have any idea.”

There is a level setting. There is a great gift of the Arctic or any of those things, I’m not just saying the Arctic, that when you’re willing to push yourself, it gives you that sense that no matter what it is, you can do it. You can do it because you’ve seen worse. You’ve seen worse.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. Well, it’s funny as you were sharing that notion ‘It feels so good when you stop’ and mentioning Ely, Minnesota, I’m reminded of a Boundary Waters canoe trip I took, which took us through Ely, Minnesota along the way. It was at times it was just like “What are we doing?” You’ve got these gigantic packs of 50 plus pounds on front and back of you, so 100 total pounds and a canoe above your head and you’re just walking that way for a mile.

Doug Hall
And bugs.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah.

Doug Hall
Bugs that will carry you away.

Pete Mockaitis
The canoes above our head, we’re walking, and then the branches are scratching the canoe and it sounds like an alien screaming in surround sound in your ears. It’s like, “What did we sign up for?” But it really did, it felt amazing when we sat down. It’s like, “Oh, now we’re just going to hang out with campfire and eat some food,” and it was glorious.

Doug Hall
Ely is the end of the road. It’s the end of the road. The road ends at Ely. It really is. But the Boundary Waters are glorious. You haven’t lived until you’ve gone dog sledding up there in February. That’s where we went and did training trips.

I laugh at all this talk about the border, wherever you feel, I don’t really care. But they talk about the border and it’s like in the Boundary Waters, “Oh, you’re in Canada. No, now you’re in the US. Now you’re in Canada. … US.” It’s like whatever.

Pete Mockaitis
Absolutely. Tell us, what is the Eureka Ranch all about?

Doug Hall
Well, we’re inventors. We’re professional inventors. I started it back in ’86. I’ve been doing it a long time. Helping people open up their minds to – the slogan, I guess, is ‘find, filter, and fast track big ideas.’ People get caught and if you don’t innovate, you die, but it can be hard to shake it up.
We’ve historically been the go-to people. I’m talking Nike, Walt Disney, America’s big, big companies. When they have a really big problem, they come to us to invent a breakthrough. It’s usually a patentable breakthrough or service or system and crazy stuff like that.

That’s what we did for many, many years until about five years ago. Ten years we started, but really five years, we got serious about it. I got to a point in life where I said, “It’s really cool that I can invent this stuff, but wouldn’t it be even cooler if I could teach other people how to do it?”

We created this new field of academic study called innovation engineering where we teach people how to find, filter and fast track. It’s great to come up with a cool idea. It’s awesome. That eureka moment, to use the phrase, is awesome. But to inspire and educate and to teach someone else to do it, it’s 100x. It’s not even close. It’s so cool when people can believe they can. It’s amazing.

Pete Mockaitis
That is cool. Yeah. I want to dig into just where do you start with that. You unpack some of this in your book Driving Eureka, but would you say that there is – you’ve got those F’s there, could you walk us through that? Is that the best sort of point of entry?

Doug Hall
Yeah, that will work because that’s basically the element. People have different things in their head. In fact, I was talking with Maggie Nichols, who’s the CEO of the ranch, just before we got on. And she was talking about she just had a conversation with a client for a big company and she was talking about how we’re going to work with her people and we’ll have people there.

She says, “I got the feeling that—” in this case it was a gentleman – “he didn’t believe his people could do it, that they could create an idea.” He didn’t believe. At its most fundamental I think people don’t think that they can create ideas.

But then you ask them the next question, which is, “Well, what’s your system for creating ideas? In other words, your company has accounting practices.” “Well, what do you mean?” “Well, I mean is it just you get on the rooftop in a lotus position and wait for lightning to hit? What do you do? How do ideas get created?” “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

They don’t have a system for finding ideas. They don’t have a system for doing it. There’s methodical ways that you can go through to do it.

First off they go, “We don’t have any ideas.” Then you get the ideas and then they go into a panic. They go, “How am I going to figure out which one to do?” I’m like, “Well, we can do the math. Figure out how much they’re going to sell and do some research.” “How am I going to figure out—” They don’t actually trust themselves. What they’re really saying is they don’t trust themselves to pick the right idea.

We’ve built systems. There’s, in fact, a whole college course on that exact subject, just like there is on creating ideas.

Now they’ve picked the idea and now they go, “Okay, now I’ve got the real problem. How am I going to make it happen because my organization has never done anything like this?” That’s the big difference from this book, Driving Eureka, versus my earlier book. This is my seventh book. A lot of my books – Jump Start Your Brain – were about the creating of ideas or Jump Start Your Business Brain, creating and evaluating ideas, did that.

This book takes you from front to back. It’s about how do I make the ideas happen so that I don’t kill them in the process. That fast tracking is by far the hardest part of the whole thing. But you can’t even have that conversation when you don’t have an idea to begin with.

It’s like you peel back the onion. They say, “Well, I need an idea.” Then you give them the idea and they go, “Now I can’t pick it.” Okay, now you pick. “Now I can’t do it.” It’s like, yeah. That’s why we said it. That’s really the reality. It’s not that people can’t do it. It’s just they’ve never been taught. They’ve never been taught.

Pete Mockaitis
Intriguing. Well, so I’d love it if, let’s hear a little bit about each of them. What are your favorite pro tips, best practices associated with the finding and then the filtering and then the fast-tracking?

Doug Hall
I’m not going to tell you my tips because it’s like opinions, everybody’s got them.

Let me talk to you about data because all of the things that we teach and the reason we were able to get this as a new field of academic study and get it accredited and teach it on campuses and we’re about to expand to a whole lot more colleges and you can get degrees in it—is we had data because in the popular press world you can do anything you want, but universities you get peer-review and that.

From a data perspective to create ideas, we found that there’s 6,000 teams were evaluated in the process of inventing ideas.

Pete Mockaitis
I’m enmeshed in the story now and I want to get fully oriented. Where are these 6,000 teams from and what are they doing?

Doug Hall
These were 6,000 teams over three years from companies small, medium, and large. I funded a study and I had two PhDs and myself. I’ve got a couple honorary doctorates because of this research, but I don’t have a real one. I graduated with a two point something in chemical engineering.

But what we did is we measured the teams in the act of creating ideas. Every 40 minutes we would ask them a series of questions, every 40 minutes. Then when they would create ideas, we would take the ideas, take the names off them, type them up and we would score them on the quality of ideas they were. We just did this over and over and over and over again.

We had this huge list of questions. I got them to answer the questions. They would answer, sometimes before they came, they would answer 200 questions. The only way I got away with it is I said, “If you don’t answer it, it could mess up the project.”

Pete Mockaitis
I’m wondering how do you get this compliance from these people? They don’t owe you anything.

Doug Hall
It’s easy. They’re afraid they’re going to get fired.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Doug Hall
It’s ….

Pete Mockaitis
Innovation is important to us here. Don’t disappoint Doug. There’s some more alliteration for you.

Doug Hall
… boss. They would answer the questions. We studied it. What we found is that the creation of what we call “meaningfully unique ideas” comes from stimulus, sight, sound, smells, patent things, research data. Ideas are feats of association. You have these two pieces of stimulus, you put them together and you create a new idea. You had to feed the brain.

Pete Mockaitis
Any two, huh?

Doug Hall
Yeah. There’s more science to it. I’m simplifying it for the purposes here. There’s actually six areas that you can do it. There’s a real science to this. But basically ideas are feats of association. You have to bring the right stimulus in the room. That will cause a reaction.

Now, that reaction is dependent on our world view, how we look at the world. We call it diversity. The more you have people who look at the world differently, who would see that same stimulus, but see it from a different direction in a different way. It’s not additive. It’s not multiplicative. It’s literally an exponential kick in the number of ideas that are invented and high-quality ideas.

Stimulus and diversity are bringing people that look at the world different than you do.

Pete Mockaitis
I love this. Just so our listeners really will go here, what is the rough citation that we can hunt down to link in the show notes for some of this data?

Doug Hall
It’s all in my books. It’s all in the books. The stuff that we’re talking about right now, this is in Jump Start Your Business Brain. It’s all – the studies are explained. Everything’s explained right in there.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. So diversity, exponential kick. I’m right with you.

Doug Hall
That’s the potential. But there’s a gating for it. There’s a negative. This took a long time to figure out. In fact, I wrote a book and I had to do a new edition to correct it because I was wrong because what we found truly was the issue was not a positive, but it was a negative, which was it’s divided by the fear.

The greater our fear – you have stimulus and diversity in the numerator and then at the bottom you’ve got fear. As fear goes up, the number of big ideas goes down. It was amazing as their fear levels went up, which, by the way, I’ve been tracking – since the 90s I’ve been tracking this. We measure every team and we measure the people. We call it our raw materials. It’s where their heads are at.

The fear levels have gone up and up and up. That’s why it’s getting harder and harder and harder to do big ideas. It is much harder today than it was ten years ago and I have the data to prove it because people are scared to death that they’re going to look stupid, that they’re going to be dumb.

I’m the no whining guy, so there’s no whining about it. We’ve had to adapt and change our systems over and over and over again to account for the fact that the people coming in are not in a good place. It’s pretty ugly out there as an employee.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, Doug, tell me, what’s behind this increasing fear?

Doug Hall
Well, some of it’s the economy. If you track it, what happens is every time there’s been a big dip in the stock market, 2000, the different times when it’s dropped, it jolts up again.

I was with some government people in D.C. We were working with the Department of Commerce on some stuff. I showed them my chart. They pulled out a chart, which involved investors’ confidence dimensions and retirement was also there.

They said what’s happening is their hypothesis was before 2000, the stock market was booming. It was going crazy. Then when it drops, everybody looks up and says, “Oh my God, I’m not going to have enough money for retirement.” They become more conservative. They pull back in because they don’t want to mess up. It’s the old, “I’ve got five years before I retire, so I don’t want to do something that’s going to get me in trouble.”

Pete Mockaitis
So they pull back not just with their investment.

Doug Hall
It’s a Boomer thing. It’s a Boomer thing. It really, really I think is a very big Baby Boomer thing, me being one of them, who they’re just playing not to lose instead of playing to win many of them are. I understand it. They’re concerned. They’re concerned.

Pete Mockaitis
Let me make sure I’m capturing everything you’re saying because it’s so fascinating. That investment chart, that was pointing to their investment behavior.

Doug Hall
Their courage. Yeah, their courage. Their courage on investments just dropped.

Pete Mockaitis
I see and you’re seeing the exact same thing in terms-

Doug Hall
I’m seeing the fear drop and we laid them – and they weren’t perfect, but it was like – it was fascinating that – you’re sitting in a room, the office, your boss has got a problem. He says, “Okay, let’s get everybody in the conference room.” He says, “Anybody got any ideas?” We call this the brain draining or the suck method of creativity. Nobody’s got anything. He says, “See, I told you they weren’t very creative.” Well, for Christ’s sake, with a gun to your head, it’s kind of hard to think big thoughts.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, yeah and the scene that you’re painting there in terms of saying, “All right, anybody got any good ideas?” it’s already like, “I’m pretty sure if I say something, you’re going to not embrace it with delight.”

Doug Hall
That’s right. That’s right. We’ve had to go to a long pace. But what we find is that when you teach people – we have a fundamentals course that we teach and they can take it there, they can take it online. When you teach them, it’s like their eyes open up and they go, “My God, that is how ideas happen.” We show them how to do it. Then they believe they can.

The interesting thing about this is as I’m saying this, I can see in the thought balloons, because I’m old and I’ve been doing this for a long time, is that people are thinking that I’m just talking about ideas at the start, but the truth is that’s only ten percent of what I’m talking about.

Because the problem we found – remember I said in the fast tracking to market problem – the reason for that problem is you have to do problem solving because when you try to put the thing together, it doesn’t work like you thought. The service doesn’t work like you thought. Financial, the budget doesn’t work. You have to keep pivoting and problem solving.

We have a tendency to think it’s the Big Bang. If I just have a big idea and hand it to people, a miracle can happen. That’s not what the problem is. 90% of it is in development, which is having the courage and confidence to pivot, adjust and adapt as you manage the problem.

The data says – this is amazing – when an idea goes into development, so you’ve done all this work to get this idea, and then the idea comes out. I have two separate studies that show – and one was from a Fortune 20 company – they valued what the idea was worth due to sales forecasts at the beginning and at the end of their development process. On average they lost half the value during the development process.

I told them, I said, “See, your development is like hospice. It’s like you’re the killing zone.” The chief technology officer, she did not think that was a funny joke. But I said, yeah. What are you going to do? Start with ideas that are twice as good at the start because you know you’re going to kill half of it? It’s nuts. It’s nuts. But we think that we can just do it.

When you’re doing something that’s truly new that’s going to make a real difference, you have to keep reinventing. That’s why you have to enable innovation within everybody because the product supply person, the finance person, the production – everybody is going to have to be doing it, which is the reason why small businesses are often times much more successful with innovation than big companies.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, this is fascinating stuff. I’d love to hear your take then, so fear has increased, so how are you counteracting it?

Doug Hall
Our work is all based off of the work of Dr. W. Edwards Deming. Are you familiar with Deming?

Pete Mockaitis
Right, yeah, quality and such.

Doug Hall
Yeah. He’s the guy, went to Spain after World War II. He came back to the US, worked at Nashua Corp. My dad was there. That’s when I learned about it.

He says, “94% of the problem’s the system, 6%’s the worker.” Our work – Innovation and Sharing’s subtitle is System Driven Innovation – is to give people work systems and tools to enable them. Rather than going in and trying to tell a person, “Buck up, man. Have courage. Have courage.” They’re like, “Yeah, whatever. That will last me about ten minutes.”

Instead what we do is we give them systems to enable them to do rapid research or we call it “fail fast, fail cheap,” quantitative research, so they can test things and they can test option A, option B, and option C. We give them systems to allow them to improve their ideas, artificial intelligence systems that literally will read a description of that idea and give them advice to make it better.

It’s like, if you were going into war and you were just walking out with a slingshot, you probably wouldn’t have a lot of courage. But if you’ve got the tools and the systems around you and the equipment and the right training to do it, then you can have a lot more confidence. It’s the same thing here.

People are sent into battle to create ideas with nothing. By changing the systems around, and the systems research, systems for collaboration, systems for project management, on and on and approaching it as, it’s not the person that’s the problem; it’s the system, total transformation. That’s the only way we found to give them genuine courage, not just motivational crap.

Pete Mockaitis
Now Doug, how can I get my hands on some AI that’s going to tell me how to improve my idea? That sounds like fun.

Doug Hall
What we did is – I’m a big quantitative tester. We’ve tested over 25,000 ideas. I said I’m old. We did this ridiculous content analysis to identify them. I have these incredible rocket scientists, young people that work for me, who took all of the information on what had happened and had the computer do machine learning and read the thing and literally come up with a way to do it. It’s in the software package that students get as part of the courses that they’re doing.

Pete Mockaitis
But if I wanted to use it, how can I do that?

Doug Hall
We’d have to get you to take the course.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, how can I take the course?

Doug Hall
I’ll send you a think so that you can do it.

Pete Mockaitis
Is it available for the public to-

Doug Hall
Yes, it is. If you go to EurekaRanch.com, it’s there for you to sign up for.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, perfect. All right, so we talked about the finding. Can we hear a little bit about the filtering?

Doug Hall
What we found as we started to work on this is we had to think about this from the perspective of the end user. We tend to look at ideas from our perspective with regards to all the things that we’re scared about as opposed to what’s in it for the end customer.

By customer, it could be the external portion or if it’s a system innovation, so you’re changing the way you manufacture something or do something within your organization, then it may be another department or another group of people.

When we gave structure to it, what we found was – and this came out of some of the analysis of the concepts of what made ideas work or not work – is it was a pretty simple premise, which is you start with who’s the customer and what’s their problem. Then, what are you going to promise them to address their problem, and then what’s the proof that you can do the promise to solve their problem. Problem, promise, proof, it’s that simple.

Pete Mockaitis
Doug, you’re a master of alliteration.

Doug Hall
Well, because it becomes memorable. It’s all to try to drive it – because we want to get it into the people. We don’t want them memorizing it.

But if you start from that perspective, you get people driven to a perspective. We know that with – a gazillion things and a lot of them are in the Driving Eureka book like, for example, if you are specific with your promise, so you say, “It’ll make you twice as fast,” or “It’ll cut healing time in half,” you put a number in it, your odds of success when you do that innovation go up some 52%, not 5 or 10%, 52%.

We’ve got all kinds of findings like that, that we give people. Now they’ve got an ability – in fact, sometimes clients complain and say, “Well, we get a lot of high scores,” I said, “Well, that’s because you’re following what you were taught.” Marketing is not magic. It’s pretty simple. People are pretty selfish. They want to know what’s in it for them and they want to know proof that you’re going to do it. “Here’s my problem. What are you going to do for me? How do I know it’s going to work?” and that’s it.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. When you’re using that from a filtering perspective, I guess I’m imagining, okay, I’ve got 100 ideas. What the heck do I do? What’s really worth pursuing? How would I enact the problem, promise, proof concept? I guess in some ways I don’t quite know how good my solution is until I really ….

Doug Hall
That’s why you’ve got to use research. That’s why you’ve got to do research. You have to write it up first in that structure because now when it’s in that structure, a customer can give you their perception of what they think they would do. That written – we call it a concept – that written concept is your first prototype.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Doug Hall
Assuming they like that, then you might make a physical, a works like prototype and they might test that and you can see that, but you start off with the cheapest prototype in the world, which is just a collection of words. By getting it in that format, now the customer can evaluate it and then give you data. We’ve got a whole pile of data systems. It’s so fast and cheap these days to do the testing. It’s really, really easy to do it.

Again, but these are systems if you’re not familiar with, as they say, read the book. There are ways to do this and you’ve got to learn how to do this. You can start to evaluate ideas and you can know what it is. You can even use that data to forecast what kind of impact it’s going to have, whether it’s how much it’s going to save or how much more you’re going to sell or whatever it might be.

Pete Mockaitis
Could you maybe just give an example of okay, we had an idea and we’re going to write it out in terms of problem, promise, proof, and then what happens when we’re presenting that to people?

Doug Hall
What you do is you put the idea together. You’d write it up. You can test it in a bunch of different ways. You can test it on the internet. You can do it in about an hour usually you can get a statistical sample. To be able to do that costs you maybe 200 dollars to do it. You can do it in person.

I’ve got a crazy whiskey company. We make whiskey really fast. We have the time compression approach. We can make luxury whiskeys in about 40 minutes. We’ll make a product. We might take it out to a bar and we have people taste it and see how likely they are to buy it, how new and different it is, aftertaste, taste, what they think of it. Then we take those results, we turn around, flip it and do it again, do it again, do it again, do it again until we get it great.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s cool. Then for the problem, promise, proof, what would some of the sentences be associated with that whiskey?

Doug Hall
The whiskey would be “Does it frustrate you that great, super smooth whiskey costs a ridiculous amount of money?”

Pete Mockaitis
Yes, Doug, I’m outraged.

Doug Hall
Well, now for the price of a premium whiskey, you can get luxury whiskey taste. The reason you can do that is because our new time-compression technology replicates seasons of barrel ageing, doing it in minutes instead of dozens of years.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. So you want to get a sense then – put that in front of a lot of people. If they say, “Okay, well, whatever,” versus, “Whoa, I want it now,” is sort of what you’re gauging?

Doug Hall
Yeah, so people went nuts. Let me just show you how this evolved. They thought that was really cool. Then we started to play with it and we said, “Okay, maybe we can sell the product for 35 dollars. That’s a great price.” But I said, “What would it take to make so that at 50 dollars they would go ‘That’s still a great deal’?”

We tried a whole lot of different things and come to find out we stumbled into the technology allows us to make whiskey one bottle at a time, so truly do custom whiskey. People can come to a tasting and we can literally make their personal whiskey. I said, “It’s 50 dollars.” They said, “It’s a deal,” to have their own whiskey.

We’ve got mass market products we sell at 35 and custom whiskey where you come and literally go through and craft your own personal whiskey. You can use your own wood. You can use an old world or a new world. You can mix your grains together and you can literally make your own personal whiskey. People kind of went nuts. In the research you can see kind of different comments and different things and the group that went the most crazy about it – weddings.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay.

Doug Hall
People want to have their own whiskey for their wedding. In fact, we’ve got people flying to Cincinnati. He’s like, “Can I just make my own whiskey for my wedding? I’ve got to have my own whiskey for my wedding.”

Pete Mockaitis
That’s cool. All right. Now let’s talk about the fast tracking here. You say there are some holdups and hospice. The value gets cut in half. How do we prevent that from happening?

Doug Hall
Okay, so the first thing is you’ve got to embrace a learning mindset and a cycle of learning. Deming talking about plan, do, study, act, not check, but study. There’s a difference. But he was very big about cycles of learning.

You have here’s what you’re trying to do, the plan to do. What’s your hypothesis?  Study is did it work or did it not achieve the goal and why. Then act, what are you going to do. Most of the time you go around again.

The key is you’ve got to build a culture where these rapid plan, do, study, act or fail fast, fail cheap cycles can be done with quantitative data and not done in months, not done in weeks, but in days or hours. If you’re able to do those rapid cycles, then what happens is – the reason why the value goes down is you compromise. You basically give up and compromise.

Pete Mockaitis
You’re saying, “Maybe this is only going to work for our consumer segment and not the business segment as well.”

Doug Hall
That’s right. As opposed to saying, “No, let’s rethink it. How can we change the idea to make it really work for all those folks?” That’s the iterative process. You’ve got to embrace that cycle of learning mindset of never-ending learning.

But when the idea’s locked and it doesn’t matter even though that square peg doesn’t fit that round hole and they say just get a bigger hammer, that’s stupid. Sadly, that’s what we tend to do now because you’re seeing if you change the idea, it’s seems as a sign of weakness that you didn’t really have confidence in the idea. That’s just nuts. It’s nuts.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah. Agreed, agreed. Well, this is a lot of good stuff here. Tell me, you said you didn’t want to just give tips because you wanted to give the hard scientifically-proven, validated suggestions, which I love and I think is excellent, so tell me within this, are there a couple approaches that there’s just a whole lot of great science behind it in terms of you’re saying, “Pete, when you’re trying to get creative, innovative, definitely do this and definitely don’t do that?”

Doug Hall
Okay. The first thing you have to do is you really have to agree specifically how you define what an innovation is. You’ve really, really got to come up with that definition. Our research has found – we define it, I mention it briefly, meaningfully unique, which is how likely somebody is to buy it and how new and different it is. We actually weight those 60% on purchase and 40% on new and different.

That measure is most predictive. When you know that they have to not only like it, but it has to be different than what they’ve seen before and you have that clarity that allows you do the testing, it allows you do the research, and it gives you an objective measure to go do it. You’ve got to agree on a definition.

There’s an academic article that went out about that. It’s referenced in the Driving Eureka book. You have to have that. That’s what you’ve got to have. You’ve got to have an agreement on what is innovation and what is not so that you’re not just debating, “Oh, I think it’s innovative,” “I think it’s not.” Come on. We need a number here.

What to not do, what you really have to be careful about doing is you can’t outsource this. I’m a guy who people come to outsource to. I’m saying it. In the old days, they would hand me the money, I’d go away, come back and I’d go, “Dee dee, here it is!” Now I work with their team because you don’t get buy in. That outsourcing, not invented here, will kill any idea. I don’t care if you get the Jesus-walk-on-water system, it’s going to be dead.

You have to enable your team and they’ve got to become part of the process. We can bring in expertise and we can do that kind of stuff, but we’ve got to give your people some education. We’ve got to bring them together and you’ve got to do it. If you try to outsource this, it’s just going to fail. You may get some shiny thing that you like, it will never ship. It’s never going to ship.

You’ve got to believe in your people. You’ve got to invest in your people. I know it’s too urgent. I can’t just teach. If you want to teach them, we can teach them. They say, “….” Okay, so that’s fine. We will teach and we’ll put them some topspin so to keep them going, but don’t outsource it. You’ve got to believe in your people.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. That’s great. Those are some strong do’s and don’ts. Tell me, anything else you really want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?

Doug Hall
The big thing is you’ve got to believe folks. This is the best of times. There’s a tendency right now, people to say, “Oh my God, this is changing. This is changing. Millennials are this. … this. Gen X is this. Boomers are this.” No, no, no.

The digital world and this planet that we’re on right now, the opportunities globally are just amazing and the technologies enable it. Best of times, worst of times, it’s up to you to decide what that is. I think it’s the best of times if you’re engaged. If you’re not engaged, then retire. Go to the golf course and sit there for a while or something. I don’t know what the hell you’re going to do. But this is the time. But you’ve got to be learning. You’ve got to get in the game.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Thank you. Well, now could you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Doug Hall
Well, related to that is one of mine is a Ben Franklin quote. It will be carved on my tombstone because it means so much to me. Franklin said over 200 years ago, “Up sluggard, and waste not life. In the grave we’ll be sleeping enough.”

Pete Mockaitis
Thank you. How about a favorite study or experiment or bit of research?

Doug Hall
Well, it has to be the whiskey. 72 cycles in 7 days to make the initial discovery. Just yesterday we made another discovery. As we’re managing this interaction between the wood and the interaction of the wood and the alcohol, there’s so much more to learn. It’s just amazing. It’s just absolutely amazing.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. How about a favorite book?

Doug Hall
I’m sitting in my library that has probably over 1,000 books in it. Picking one from the others is quite a challenge, but I would probably say Copthorne Macdonald’s work, Toward Wisdom. Esoteric book. A guy who’s passed, but who – a lot and who – this is amazing.

He’s a bit of a philosopher, wrote about wisdom. In one of our computer systems, some of the intelligent systems that can predict success of ideas, reading his philosophy gave us the breakthrough to double the accuracy of the model. It was amazing. Just an incredible thinker. Copthorne Macdonald, Toward Wisdom.

Pete Mockaitis
Thank you. How about a favorite tool, something that helps you be awesome at your job?

Doug Hall
It would be the ThinkStormer. We’ve got this new thing that the team has come up with that just blows me away. It’s called ThinkStormer. It’s a software that enables individuals, not your team, not your company, but for you to think quicker, faster, smarter. They’ve just figured out how to take all the tools that the big companies use and made it so an individual can use it. We use that as part of the education stuff. It’s just an amazing thing, an amazing thing.

Pete Mockaitis
Awesome. How about a favorite habit, something that helps you be awesome at your job?

Doug Hall
Exercise. Intense exercise, 2- 300 calories and at a good pace. Every time I’m in exercise mode, and I go into it and out of it, but if you want to make your mind work, you’ve got to make your body go.

Pete Mockaitis
You said 2- 300 calories, you mean that’s the amount of burn that you’re seeking to get from that session?

Doug Hall
Yeah. I use the Apple watch and measure active calories, which is above your staying alive kind of thing. 300 is great for me if I do that, which is kind of an intense 45 minutes for me at my age to do it. 200 minimum I have to do. If I don’t do it, I swear, the mind is better. The mind is better.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s good. Is there a particular nugget you share that really seems to connect and resonate with readers, listeners, clients?

Doug Hall
When I sign books over the years, ‘be bold and be brave’ is probably the fundamental. When I write that, I don’t mean to tell people that you need to go to the North Pole. I just mean wherever you are, take another step out there. It’s not going to be as bad as you think. Life’s meant for living.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Doug, if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you send them?

Doug Hall
There’s the Eureka Ranch site, but DougHall.com. In fact, let’s do something special just for the listeners of this. If they go to DougHall.com/VIP, so D-O-U-G@D-O-U-G-H-A-L-L.com/VIP, There’s a thing they can sign up for. We’ve got a one-hour audio summary. There’s also on all the platforms there’s the ten-hour audio book. You can get that if you’re on any of those. But there’s a one-hour audio summary. You can get that for free.

I’ve also got an assessment you can take, which is based off a lot of the data I’ve been talking about measuring people that literally can show you where you are. It’s positive. It doesn’t beat you up. It’s all confidential. You can do it. If you go to DougHall.com, you can get all of that stuff.

Pete Mockaitis
Excellent. Doug, do you have a final challenge or call to action for folks seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Doug Hall
“Up sluggard, and waste not life. In the grave we’ll be sleeping enough.” Dr. Franklin had it right.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Well, Doug, this has been a ton of fun. Thank you for sharing the goods and good luck in all of your discoveries.

Doug Hall
Thank you much. Thank you much. It’s been fun. You make it very fun. I do a lot of these as you would expect in these days and the professionalism and the whole way you do this, it’s appreciated. I’m just going to say that from my perspective, it’s appreciated.

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