Orienting a Project to Innovation
This is an article about innovation. If you haven't
already, please first read about composing a joint
Project Description. While a project done for a course can
achieve the educational objectives even if it has a limited scope, there
are many reasons to work toward a grand objective. The first of many is
simply that intellectual labor is the only significant capital resource
needed to begin something new that is computer based.
Questioning Status Quo, Innovating
Government, Business & Education Tech Expo News, May/June 1997
Improving Creating in the Workplace
By Max M. Feibelman, CEO, M C Cubed, Inc.
After receiving his B.S. from Texas A & M, the author attended West
Point, served 21 years in the USAF, flying P-51's and P-47's until
returning stateside to continue his technical training, achieving
the rand of Lieutenant Colonel and an MA from MIT. A missile
pioneer, he retired in 1967 from the Pentagon Airstaff where he
served as Executive Officer for Strategic and Defense Forces,
Now Feibelman keeps busy with his own consulting firm in new
product evelopment and marketing, as well as heading Nulle and Voyd
Enterprises, which produces such products such products Pure
Dehydrated Water, Evacuated Air, Hen's Teeth and UFO and Bigfoot
He has authored several books, including the "DOD Technical Manual
for the MKIV/2c, Horn, Shoe" which has won him a cult following in
He has also appeared in films, television, radio and commercials,
and at least in part attributes his success in life to following
the advice of World War II hero General Jimmy Doolittle who once
told him to "never lose your sense of humor."
Are we approaching a "mental meltdown" on the information
superhighway from high-speed technological progress? Are we so
engrossed in applying the various systems and procedures of
business or government as usual that we loose sight of a thing
called happiness? Being a happy person should not be construed as
not being a serious or productive person.
A touch of proper humor in the workplace can soften the atmosphere
and, for some, inspire creative thinking. Isn't it true that when
someone tells you a joke your head buzzes in an effort to return
their favor with your own joke? If your superior created a "brain
storm session" every now and then, wouldn't you be pleased to
participate and offer your thoughts? Two heads are said to be
better than one, perhaps with the exception of belligerent Siamese
The important point is for government and business leaders to
inspire their staff members to think in original terms. Must we
always rely on reading what others have said, watching what others
have done and then copy them within the parameters of only proven
solutions, well established policies and regulations? Many good
things that we do in our work are obviously the prior creations of
others. But where does the conformist mentality fit in as time
passes, certain procedures become obsolete and constructive
improvements are truly needed?
The answer lies in the creativity of the individual. There are
those who simply do what is required. Resistant to change, they
seldom (if ever) question anything and even less often have
suggestions for a better way of doing them. The easy way is to
copy, when permissible, what someone else has already done. To
these individuals, the idea of building a better mouse trap seems
insurmountable. While that may be good news for mice, it does not
contribute to success in business nor does it promote more effective
Many years ago, while shopping with my dear friend, Bill Dana, on
Christmas Eve, the frustrations of last minute shopping forced me
to remark, "Next year I'm giving Absolutely Nothing." Bill
replied, "And that will be made by Null and Void." Out of this fun
and friendly banter was eventually born "Nulle and Voyd
Enterprises, The House Where Nothing Really Matters" and of course
its hugely successful product "Absolutely Nothing".
A 12 page humorous booklet packaged in a clear plastic box sized
for the insertion of a business card, companies gave "Absolutely
Nothing" to their customers. It was a giveaway that was remembered
and appreciated far longer than a pen or keychain would have been.
Humor is not only inspirational, it helps humans connect and
When I travel, I take several changes of my engraved "Strange Name
Tags" with me. You would be amazed at the nice new contacts you
can make with a strange name tag like: 'Designated Official', 'N.
Cognito', 'A. Nonymous' or just 'Name Tag'. 'Authorized Personnel'
is also very impressive. Can you guess who comes up to me to
comment on them? That's right; the really nice people capable of
Over the past eighteen years I've developed some thirty-nine unique
gifts. Many of these prove the important point of this article.
They are fun. They are original. They help people loosen up and
give their brain a pick-me-up. Many are very cheap to manufacture
and therefore cost effective. All have one thing in common: no one
else thought of such things, or if they did, something prevented
them from marching forward with the notion.
I conclude with these recommendations:
1. Whoever said there is nothing new under the sun did not look hard
enough. Encourage your staff members to think constructively.
Foster an environment that is open to creative suggestion. Hold
periodic "Brainstorming" meetings to remind them that you're
serious about this.
2. Look at your counterparts in other businesses/organizations.
Are they doing something really different? If they are, see if you
can out-do them; if they aren't get a jump on them by coming up
with some great plan, policy or product first.
3. Don't expect an outside agency or consultant to be so brilliant
that they can solve all your problems. Most are no different from
you, they just happen to be in that business. You and your staff
really know your organization's strengths and weaknesses better
than they assume that you're smart and creative enough to be a
4. Government agencies in particular should not be chained to a
degree of inflexibility which limits their ability to create good
will with their workers and the public they serve. If cutting red
tape makes their function more user friendly and efficient, then
create sensible ways to do just that.
5. Finally, remember that everything can be improved upon,
innovation can be found in the imagination aisle of the brain, and
few things are more valuable than a little cheap humor when it
comes to sparkling creative thinking.
You can email Max at or call M C Cubed,