About this Author
Gwen Smith Ishmael, Sr. Vice President of Insights and Innovation at Decision Analyst in Arlington, TX, has led marketing and new product development activities in the CPG and technology industries since 1986. She also conceived and developed ground-breaking Web-based promotional vehicles, two of which are patent pending. Gwen holds an MBA in Marketing and is a featured speaker on insights and innovation around the world. Her writings have been featured in international text books, most recently in Managing 4 Ps of Marketing FMCG Sector, and Product Innovation: A Strategic Tool for Growth, by ICFAI Publications, 2006 and 2007, respectively.

Founding Author

Renee Hopkins Callahan Renee Hopkins Callahan started IdeaFlow and serves as chief blog-wrangler. She is Director of Innovation Services at Decision Analyst in Arlington, Texas, is a former journalist who worked as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News and the Nashville Tennessean, and was managing editor of D, the Dallas city magazine. She has a master's degree in rhetoric and has also taught college-level English and informal logic.


Monthly Archives

January 27, 2004

The politics of the creative class

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Posted by Renee Hopkins Callahan

Our brother Corante blogger Jonathan Peterson sent me a link a couple of weeks ago that I’m just now getting to – the thought-provoking piece “Creative Class War” by Richard Florida. The article is pegged to the current Presidential election we’re _______ (depending on how you feel about politics, fill in the blank with the appropriate verb phrase: slogging through, dealing with, struggling with, being entertained by, following passionately….!)

There’s a lot of very interesting stuff going on in this article. But because it’s framed in terms of the current campaign it’s impossible for me to ignore the politics, so I’ll point my comments in that direction. I actually think that Florida bashes the GOP a little too much here and doesn’t place enough responsibility on the Democrats. If in fact the Clinton years were the political and power zenith for the creative class, then it was the Democrats’ to lose. And they did. It's irresponsible to whine about election-stealing – it shouldn’t have been that close in the first place. Nor do the Democrats have any really good plan for getting the power back. As Florida so aptly points out, “The challenge for Democrats, if they want to win, is to find ways of reaching out to the rest of the country, to convince at least some of its many regions that policies which operate to the interests of the creative class are in their interests as well.”

I would add that this “reaching out” can’t be palliative, patronizing or pandering, which looks to me like what most of the Democrats are doing. This is as bad as “sneering at the elites,” which Florida accuses the GOP of doing (an accurate accusation, to my mind). If Democrats are truly the party of the creative class, then where are the innovators in the current slate of candidates?! And if the Democrats are only the best choice for the creative class because they’re not the GOP, then where’s the innovative third-party alternative?!

Comments (3) | Category: Law & Policy

January 22, 2004

Sleep 'reboots' the brain for creativity and problem solving, says study

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Posted by Renee Hopkins Callahan

From the article:

The German study is considered to be the first hard evidence supporting the common sense notion that creativity and problem solving appear to be directly linked to adequate sleep, scientists say.

....[Study] results support biochemical studies of the brain that indicate memories are restructured before they are stored. Creativity also appears to be enhanced in the process....[though] the exact process in the sleeping brain for sharpening these abilities remains unclear.

Reaction at our office is split between "well, we all knew that" and "we now have official permission to sleep on the job"!!

Comments (1) | Category: Brain Chemistry & Creativity

January 20, 2004

The New and Improved IdeaFlow!

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Posted by Renee Hopkins Callahan

As you can see, we've migrated IdeaFlow over to the new Moveable Type publishing platform. With the move comes new features. Chief among the new features is the ability for readers to leave comments. You'll see the comment link at the bottom of each post.

On the left sidebar, the Corante news columns and weblogs can now be found by the pull-down menus at the top. We now have a blog search and trackbacks (so you can see who's linking to IdeaFlow and what they're saying). We can also assign categories to posts. The list of categories appears at the bottom of the left-hand sidebar. Click on one of those links and you will see all the posts that we've defined as belonging in that category.

On the right-hand sidebar, I've expanded the list of blogs in the blogroll and provided links to some resources that will be housed permanently on The resource links are up now; white papers, a glossary of idea generation methods and a book list are coming soon.

Also coming soon are archives by author and most of the archives from the former IdeaFlow blog (we're current back through September 2003 as of now).

In order to receive IdeaFlow daily, you can subscribe to the RSS feed. Information about that is on the left sidebar as well. You can also sign up on the left sidebar to receive emails with links to the latest IdeaFlow posts.

If you have any questions or comments, or see something we've missed (hey! it happens!), email me at renee -at-

Comments (0) | Category: IdeaFlow

Upcoming Conference: Braintrust International

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Posted by Renee Hopkins Callahan

Braintrust is coming to Scottsdale, Arizona, Feb. 8-11. Now in its 6th year, The Institute for International Research's Braintrust is the only international knowledge management forum for practitioners. This year's keynoters include Dr. Nancy Dixon, Consultant and Author of Common Knowledge; Rob Cross, Professor, University of Virginia and author of The Hidden Power of Social Networks ; Victor Newman, Chief Learning Officer, Pfizer; Stephen Denning, author of The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations ; and Gregory Balestrero, CEO, Project Management Institute (PMI)

Workshop tracks include Delivering Global Capabilities, Measurement and Value, Enabling a Collaborative Culture, and Knowledge Enabled Business Processes.

Please note: IdeaFlow is a media partner for this conference. That means we're involved with the conference, though no actual money is changing hands! If you register because you saw this, please let them know by mentioning this priority code: M1547IF

Comments (0) | Category: Conferences

The Innovator’s Solution On The Web

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Posted by Renee Hopkins Callahan

(last updated 01/20/04)
Lots of discussion going on about the newly released Innovator’s Solution (“IS”), so here’s a guide to all things IS. I’ll update it regularly and link to it as I continue to read and post my thoughts on this book. If you see something that should be included, send it on to me.
Buy the book

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

About the authors

Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor

Blog coverage


Selling to Nonconsumers (IS, Chapter 4) (11/26/03)

The Limits of Predictability in Innovation (11/24/03)

In Market Segmentation, What Counts Is Needs (IS Chapter 3) (11/19/03)

It's All Relative: IS Chapter 2 (11/7/03)

Innovator's Solution: Not Much Of A Solution After All? (11/4/03)

Tea And Innovation -- On Chapter 1 of IS (10/27/03)

Chuck Frey’s Innovation Weblog:

How to select the righ executive to lead a disruptive new business opportunity, 12/09/03

Parallels between IS and the Accenture white paper, Redefining High Performance. (10/28/03)

Customer-Focused Innovation (10/09/03)

Disruptive Innovation: Reflections on IS (9/30/03)

Other blogs:

Innovator's Solution - Still A Dilemma, Mark Federman's What Is The Message? (11/4/03)

Frank Patrick’s Focused Performance (11/01/03)

The E-Learning Vendor’s Dilemma, Jay Cross’s Internet Time (10/29/03)

PVR Blog 10/19/03

Ross Mayfield on Dan Bricklin’s below-referenced post (10/19/03)

Dan Bricklin on IS and Disruptive Blogging (10/17/03)

Rajesh Jain's (10/15/03)

Doug Simpson's Unintended Consequences (9/28/03)

Jerry Lawson's E-Lawyer (9/27/03)

Book reviews/articles

Guru Puts His Theories Into Practice, Globe and Mail, Toronto, Ontario (12/06/03)

Out-of-the-Box, Out Of Style, Boston Globe(11/30/03)

The Master of Innovation, Newsweek (11/17/03)

Christensen, Inc., Newsweek (11/17/03)

Be The Disrupter, Not The Disrupted, San Jose Mercury-News (11/16/03)

The Innovator Disrupts Again, The Business Standard, India (11/11/03)

'The Innovator's Solution' Tries To Counter Utterly Depressing 'Dilemma' by Kevin Maney (USA Today 11/11/03)

'Innovate Or Die,' Repeats Noted Author by Brian Deagon (Investor's Business Daily 11/5/03)

The Down Side of Upmarket, Web Host Monthly (Nov. 2003)

The Industrialized Revolution by Polly LaBarre (Fast Company, Nov. 2003)

First The Dilemma, Now The Solution by Fred Andrews (New York Times 10/19/03; sub reqd – you can also see this free at

Graveyard of the New Direction by Leslie Walker (Washington Post 10/16/03)

Old Questions, Fresh Answers ( 10/15/03)

Established Firms Need The Courage To Disrupt by Robert Weisman (Boston Globe 10/12/03)

Is the ‘Innovator’s Solution’ to Sustained Corporate Growth An Unnatural Act? by Jim Heskett (HBS Working Knowledge 10/06/03)

Innovate Or Die (BusinessWeek 10/06/03)

How Great Companies Stay Great by Brad Wieners (Business 2.0 Oct. 2003 – sub reqd)

Book excerpts

The Innovator's Solution: What Products Will Customers Want to Buy? (ZDNet, 12/01/03)

What Customers Really Want Is For You To Do Their Jobs (CIO Magazine, 11/15/03)

The Innovator's Solution: To become partners in innovation, CIOs must put resources into their companies' new growth businesses (Optimize Magazine Nov. 2003)

Handling New-Market Disruptions (C/Net’s 10/14/03)

Creating A Killer Product (Forbes Online 10/13/03)

How To Pick Managers For Disruptive Growth (HBS Working Knowledge 10/13/03)

Other stuff

Articles on disruptive innovation by Clayton Christensen and his partners at Innosight

Comments (0) | Category: Clayton Christensen