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.
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline


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January 18, 2008

Innovation Of A Tradition

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Posted by Gwen Ishmael

I know we’ve just emerged from the haze of the holidays, but this fun bit of innovation information is worth sharing.

Each year, the American Floral Industry Association conducts a nationwide search for the best-decorated Christmas tree. Photographs of decorated trees from across the US country are sent to Dallas to be judged on their creative use of product and trends, originality, and ease of re-creation.

Beth Simon, one of my colleagues here at Decision Analyst, has served as a judge for the past two years. She and her fellow judges presented the top three winners of this year’s competition with their awards yesterday evening.

Here’s a look at some of the more interesting winners from the last couple of years' competitions:


Lights N' Such submitted a tree with lights on the inside, and leather and fringe on the outside.


Morris County Farms inverted a tree and decorated it with seaweed, shells, blown glass sea creatures. Why an inverted tree? More room for presents underneath!


By pairing Styrofoam with interior lights, Kebbie Hollingsworth Floral Designs created the illusion of snow and ice.


Ambiance Today used yarn, foil, mohair, unusual colors, and whimsical shape to symbolize the child-like joy of the season.


Mention "Blue Bell Ice Cream" to anyone who has lived in Texas, and a look of sheer ecstasy will cross their face! Blue Bell Creameries submitted a tree covered with ornaments made from ice cream containers.

So, how much of this will we see in stores next season? Money says my kids are going to lobby for the inverted tree!

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