200 episodes

An award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated talk radio show that looks at the innovations that are changing our lives and how their innovators used creativity and design to take their raw idea and create they're game-changing product or service.

Phil McKinney and his guests share real-world practical advice on how to harness the power of creativity and design to create ideas that turn into innovations that radically improve your personal, career and business success.

The show is hosted by Phil McKinney, retired CTO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) and author of Beyond The Obvious.

The complete backlog of content (going back to 2005) is available at http://killerinnovations.com. Follow Phil on Facebook at http://bit.ly/phil-facebook and Twitter at http://twitter.com/philmckinney

Killer Innovations with Phil McKinney - A Show About Ideas Creativity And Innovation Phil McKinney

    • Business
    • 4.6 • 74 Ratings

An award-winning podcast and nationally syndicated talk radio show that looks at the innovations that are changing our lives and how their innovators used creativity and design to take their raw idea and create they're game-changing product or service.

Phil McKinney and his guests share real-world practical advice on how to harness the power of creativity and design to create ideas that turn into innovations that radically improve your personal, career and business success.

The show is hosted by Phil McKinney, retired CTO of Hewlett-Packard (HP) and author of Beyond The Obvious.

The complete backlog of content (going back to 2005) is available at http://killerinnovations.com. Follow Phil on Facebook at http://bit.ly/phil-facebook and Twitter at http://twitter.com/philmckinney

    Why Divergent Thinkers Will Always Win

    Why Divergent Thinkers Will Always Win

    Humans have always been thinkers. From the time early humans began to communicate, they used their brains to figure out how to survive and thrive. Over the years, humans have continued to use their brains to solve problems and create new things. To do this, humans have had to learn to think differently.

    Interestingly, humans are not the only animals that think. Ravens, for example, are known for being very clever birds. They can solve problems and even use tools. However, humans still outrank all other animals regarding their thinking ability. This is mainly because humans can think abstractly. We can imagine things that don't exist and come up with solutions to problems that don't have straightforward answers.

    Human versus Computers

    With thinking, humans and computers have similarities and significant differences. Both humans and computers can solve problems. Although humans are better at abstract thinking, computers are better at logical thinking.

    Computers can come up with ideas based on logic and data, but they cannot come up with totally new and original ideas. One thing that will always set humans apart from machines is our ability to think creatively and come up with new solutions to problems.

    Thinking Styles

    There are two fundamental ways humans think: convergent and divergent thinking.

    Convergent thinking is focused and goal-oriented. It is suitable for solving problems that have a single correct answer. Most people think in a convergent way most of the time because our schools and workplaces reward people who come up with the one right answer. However, to innovate and create, we need people who can think in divergent ways.

    Divergent thinking is more open-ended and exploratory. It is good for solving problems that have multiple correct answers. We often use this thinking in creative professions, where people are encouraged to develop new and innovative ideas.

    Both convergent and divergent thinking are essential. The best way to solve a problem is to use both types of thinking together. Start by using divergent thinking to explore different possibilities to develop new and innovative ideas. Then, by using convergent thinking, you can narrow down your options and find the best solution.

    Convergent Thinking

    Convergent thinking is a problem-solving approach that involves generating one correct solution to a problem and creating action plans.

    Characteristics of Convergent Thinking

    There are several characteristics of convergent thinking. First, it is logical and systematic. This means that convergent thinkers approach problems step-by-step, analyzing all the data before coming to a conclusion. Second, they are analytical. They like to break down problems into smaller parts so that they can understand them better. Third, they are objective. They make decisions based on facts and data, not emotions or personal opinions. Finally, they are decisive. They know what they want, and they go after it aggressively.

    Limitations of Convergent Thinking

    While convergent thinking is an important skill, it has some limitations. First, it can be rigid and inflexible. They often have trouble adapting to new situations or changing their minds once they have made a decision. Second, it can be restrictive. They often focus too much on the details and lose sight of the bigger picture. And finally, it can be boring. It can be repetitive and unchallenging, leading to stagnation and a lack of creativity.

    Divergent Thinking

    Humans need people with divergent thinking skills to create and innovate. Divergents think ...

    • 19 min
    Jordi Fernandez of BeneTalk on Innovating Stuttering

    Jordi Fernandez of BeneTalk on Innovating Stuttering

    Jordi Fernandez, Founder and CEO of BeneTalk, joins the show to discuss the mobile app that provides a community for people who stutter.

    Jordi is a person who stutters and growing up, his parents and teachers didn’t understand how to approach it. At a young age, he engaged in various forms of speech therapy. When he moved from Spain to the UK, his therapy took an alternative approach. It focused on getting him out of his comfort zone and provided him with a community to be a part of. This community focus greatly helped Jordi and inspired him to eventually found BeneTalk.

    The Importance of Community

    People who stutter often struggle with social anxiety and other mental health issues. As a result, many choose to limit their speech. In the realm of speech therapy, this is called ‘masking’. Because of this, Jordi says there are a lot more people who stutter than the studies typically show. Having a community that shows it is all right to stutter can make a world of difference. It allows people to embrace their stuttering, instead of running away from it. This is where the BeneTalk app comes into play. The focus is not all on fixing the stutter, but rather on enabling those who stutter to feel more comfortable speaking. This allows them to build confidence and improve their speech over time.

    The BeneTalk app

    Jordi's vision for BeneTalk was to build a stuttering device similar to how a Fitbit operates. The hardware would be placed on the user’s chest and used daily. When COVID-19 broke out, Jordi and his team decided to pivot to a mobile app. The BeneTalk app allows users to learn about themselves, connect with others who stutter and track their speech progress. The app contains courses on stuttering and teaches speech techniques. The team is currently working on creating personalized speech therapy programs. Additionally, they are building a separate app for parents to help their children. Today, they have around 2,000 monthly users, from 165 different countries. In the future, Jordi hopes BeneTalk can be a digital therapeutics platform utilized by all those who stutter around the world.

    Check out Jordi’s LinkedIn here.

    Check out BeneTalk’s website here.

    About our Guest: 

    Jordi Fernandez is the founder and CEO of BeneTalk: a mobile app that combines digital speech therapy and community to help people who stutter, and their families, reduce the negative impact stuttering has on lives. Jordi was born in Barcelona, Spain, and worked as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer in multi-billion-dollar deepwater projects for 15 years in the UK. Jordi is a person who stutters, and in 2021, he quit his job to help millions like himself through BeneTalk.

    To know more about Jordi Fernandez and BeneTalk, listen to: Jordi Fernandez of BeneTalk on Innovating Stuttering.

    • 52 min
    The Secret to Silicon Valley’s Success

    The Secret to Silicon Valley’s Success

    Whenever I'm speaking outside of California, I can usually expect an audience question about Silicon Valley. Such as — “What's the secret to Silicon Valley's success?”

    After all, this region is home to some of the world's most successful and innovative companies. People want to know what about Silicon Valley makes it so successful, and they're eager to learn any tips or tricks they can use to bring that success to their businesses and regions.

    If it were only that easy! The truth is, there's no one secret to Silicon Valley's success. Rather, it's a combination of factors that have come together to create the perfect environment for innovation and entrepreneurship.

    History of Silicon Valley

    The history of Silicon Valley is fascinating. Before there was Silicon in Northern California, there was agriculture. The first settlers in the area were farmers, and the region was known for its fruit orchards. In the early 1900s, the Santa Clara Valley was nicknamed “The Valley of Heart's Delight” because of its abundant fruit production.

    As the century progressed, the Santa Clara Valley became increasingly industrialized. During World War II, the region's companies produced materials for the war effort. After the war, the area's economy shifted to a focus on high-tech. This change was partly due to the presence of Stanford University, which attracted talented scientists and engineers to the area.

    Silicon Valley got its name from the silicon chip manufacturers once based there. Several major technology companies in the 1950s and 1960s were founded in Silicon Valley, including Hewlett-Packard. At that time, the area was known for its “startup culture” of risk-taking and innovation, and the region's many venture capitalists fostered it.

    In recent years, Silicon Valley has faced some challenges. Economic recession, cost of living, and competition from other regions have led to a decline in the proportional number of startups being founded in Silicon Valley. There have also been several cornerstone companies that have moved their headquarters out of the valley, including; SpaceX, Oracle, and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise. However, the region's culture and philosophy remain strong, and it continues to be a leader in technological innovation, albeit a shrinking leader.

    Innovation Culture of Silicon Valley

    Silicon Valley is known for creating a regional culture and environment for breakthrough and radical innovations. What are the elements of this regional culture?

    Here, failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and grow. The region's many venture capitalists are willing to take risks with new and innovative ideas, and the region's entrepreneurs are eager to experiment and take risks to achieve success. In the valley, securing funding for your next idea after a failure is easier than getting your first round of funding. Why? You learned.

    The region is also known for its culture of openness and collaboration. Unlike other business regions where companies compete fiercely with one another and keep everything confidential,

    • 26 min
    Jan Ariesen of Technetix on Prioritizing Innovation

    Jan Ariesen of Technetix on Prioritizing Innovation

    This is the second interview from my time at the Cable Tec-Expo Show in Philadelphia. Jan Ariesen, the CTO of Technetix, joins us to discuss how his organization’s prioritization of innovation, paired with the right team, helps them solve tomorrow’s problems.

    Jan Ariesen of Technetix on Prioritizing Innovation

    Engineers typically focus on solving today’s problems but don’t take time to think about tomorrow. Technetix has a reputation for solving tomorrow’s problems that others in the broadband industry don’t think of. Predicting the future is not simple, as you will almost always be wrong. Technetix empowers its employees by giving them the freedom to predict the future without fearing failure. Jan said that most of their ideas at Technetix fail, and only a few succeed. This is simply the nature of innovation. For example, it took the engineers at Technetix five years to develop a new style of broadband amplifier. While everyone told them it was impossible, they are now building amplifiers that can do 1.8 gigahertz. Technetix pushes its people to “make decisions” from the top down. People in the innovation space often get hung up on analysis and allow the fear of failure to overcome them. Organizations with a heavy experimentation culture give their people the tools they need to make game-changing innovations.

    Hiring the Right Team

    When Jan is conducting interviews for engineers, he looks for two key attributes. He always asks specific questions to those he interviews. “If your bike got a flat tire, would you go to the shop or fix it yourself?”. If the interviewee says they would take their bike to the shop, then he says they are not an engineer. True engineers want to understand things and desire to solve them. They have an unconventional way of thinking that others do not possess. Jan also looks to hire those that are team players. These people will help others and learn from them along the way. People often overlook the importance of collaboration and cooperation and overemphasize technical skills. You can always teach the technical, but you can’t teach the attitude and mindset.

    Check out Jan’s LinkedIn here.

    Check out Technetix’s website here.

    About Our Guest: Jan Ariesen

    Jan Ariesen is an experienced engineer with 30+ years of broadband cable TV design experience. He leads the CTO, Marketing, R&D, and QA teams at Technetix. Before 2008, Jan was the VP of Engineering, leading teams in the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands. His teams were responsible for researching, developing, and inventing new products and technologies. Jan joined the Technetix board in 2018.

    To automatically receive the latest episodes of Killer Innovations downloaded to your device, click here and subscribe!

    To know more about prioritizing innovation, listen to: Jan Ariesen of Technetix on Prioritizing Innovation.

    • 37 min
    Understanding and Improving Your Future Literacy

    Understanding and Improving Your Future Literacy

    What is future literacy? Future literacy is the ability to look at the world and understand how it will change in the future. This can be a valuable skill that historically has not been on most people's radar screen.

    Most people don't think about the future much. We focus on the present, and when we think about the future, it is usually what we want it to be. However, if we want to be ready for the future and take advantage of its opportunities, we need to start with our future literacy.

    Future literacy is about imagining the world 25, 50, or even 100 years from now and then looking back (backcasting) to today and making decisions accordingly. It is not about predicting the future but understanding the trends and influencers shaping it.

    What Changes Should We Watch?

    The world is constantly changing. New technologies, economic shifts, and social movements are just a few of the things that can cause dramatic change. By paying attention to them, we can get a glimpse into the future and start planning for what's to come.

    Some areas that are worth researching include:


    What new technologies are on the horizon? How will they change the world around us?

    We are seeing new technologies emerging all the time, impacting our lives. For example, the internet has completely transformed how we play, live, and work. It has enabled us to connect with people worldwide and given us access to the information we would never have had before.

    New technologies are also changing the way we interact with each other. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are giving us new ways to communicate and connect with others. We are also seeing new technologies that are changing the way we live our lives, such as driverless cars and robots.

    As these technologies continue to develop, they will significantly impact our lives. It is crucial to stay up-to-date with the latest developments to understand how they will affect the world around you.

    Social Change:

    What social changes are happening now that will impact the future?

    It is essential to be aware of the social changes that are happening so that you can adapt to them—for example, the rise of the gig economy and automation.

    The gig economy is a new way of working that is becoming increasingly popular. People are increasingly choosing to work freelance or on a contract basis instead of full-time.

    The rise of automation is another. With advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, we are seeing more and more jobs being replaced by machines. This is having a growing impact on the way we will work in the future.

    Economic Change:

    What economic changes are happening now that will impact the future?

    Economic changes will have a significant impact on the future. For example, the rise of nationalism and protectionism is already impacting the global economy.

    As countries and regions close their borders to immigration and limit trade, the global economy becomes increasingly fragmented. This will negatively impact the global economy, slowing economic growth and leading to more conflict.

    Environmental Change:

    What environmental changes are happening now that will impact the future?

    Several environmental changes are happening. For example, climate change already has a significant environmental impact and is expected to cause even more damage.

    Other environmental changes include biodiversity loss, air pollution, and water shortages. These issues will have a significant impact on the environment and the way we live our lives.

    Taking Action

    It is crucial to be proactive about the future and not be a passive participant in it. We need to take action now to make sure that we not only ad...

    • 22 min
    Matt Greeley of Brightidea on Long-Form Narratives of Ideas

    Matt Greeley of Brightidea on Long-Form Narratives of Ideas

    Matt Greeley, the Founder and CEO of Brightidea, is on The Killer Innovations Show to discuss the launch of their new idea incubation tool, BrightIdea Memo.

    Matt has been involved in idea management systems (IMS) since their early days. In 2005, BrightIdea launched the first-ever online innovation platform. During my time at HP, I worked with Matt on the earlier versions of Brightidea while they serviced us. At CableLabs, where I am now CEO, we have been utilizing Brightidea for almost a decade. Brightidea acts as an innovation pipeline platform, similar to how Salesforce is a sales pipeline platform. The platform’s goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization’s innovation process, leading to financial impact. Since innovation tends to be messy, having a non-restrictive tool at your disposal is essential.

    Executives and IMS

    In the past, most executives did not understand the true value of a tool for ideas. With today’s fast innovation pace, leaders are tasked with even more challenges. Due to constant disruption, many executives are now recognizing the importance of innovation. Idea Management Systems (IMS) have transformed from simply capturing ideas to helping organizations find ideas with the highest value. It’s all about taking an idea and identifying how to mature it.

    Long-form Narrative Ideas

    Amazon no longer uses PowerPoint to present ideas to executives. Jeff Bezos swapped out PowerPoint for six-page memos. These memos get sent out to the executives before each planning meeting. At CableLabs, we have also banned PowerPoint. This helps executives avoid wasting time learning about ideas during meetings. Narrative writing utilizes a process I like to call backcasting. You write things backward, starting with the launch date, using a press release. The press release puts the customer first by focusing on how they would view the solution. A core benefit of this practice is organizational alignment. Long-form narrative writing gets the entire organization involved in the visioning exercise from the start. This provides a much broader ecosystem of input.

    The Launch of BrightIdea Memo

    BrightIdea Memo is a tool that sets up teams for long-form narrative writing around an idea. The platform acts as a home for outside-the-box projects that still need to incubate. You can start with a blank document or use a press release template. The tool allows for collaboration, has AI writing software, and sports a peer review function. Brightidea Memo guides users to get their 6-page memo actionable and ready for executives.

    Check out Brightidea Memo at Brightidea’s website here.

    About our Guest: Matt Greeley

    Matt Greeley is the Founder & CEO of Brightidea, the global leader in On-Demand Innovation Pipeline Management (IPM) software. Previously, Matt consulted for Wrenchead.com and co-founded Silicon Valley enterprise software provider Alyanza Software, which Niku acquired. Matt has a Degree in Computer Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and studied Creativity and Marketing at Stanford University.

    To know more about Matt Greeley, listen to: Matt Greeley of Brightidea on Long-Form Narratives of Ideas.

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
74 Ratings

74 Ratings

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No matter the topic, you’re guaranteed to gain something from every episode - can’t recommend Killer Innovations enough. 🙌 This show is a listening MUST!

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Great show!

Phil, host of the Killer Innovations podcast, highlights all aspects of innovation and more in this can’t miss podcast! The host and expert guests offer insightful advice and information that is helpful to anyone that listens!

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Great show. Listened to all 16+ years of episodes

Great listen

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