Tag Archives: ideas


decision making

Make small decisions faster!

Many creators and business people spend too much time on small things that don’t really matter much.

One example is the simple act of ordering food.

When you come to a new restaurant, do you study the menu for 20 minutes before ordering? Or can you order even a new type of food in a quick time?

Innovative people make small decisions faster (even in new environments)!

Make big decisions slower!

On the other hand, when it comes to making those big nasty decisions such as responding to a big customer’s unfavorable request or hiring a new person for a job where you REALLY need someone, many people actually make decisions too quickly.

If that’s you, make it your rule to sleep over the decision. Don’t rush into things. Most of the time we don’t have to (even if it feels like it).

Make big decisions slower, especially when you think you don’t have the time.

(c) Copyright 2013 Ben A. Ratje All Rights Reserved

photo credit: crdotx via photopin cc

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Cool Innovation: Nest Learning Thermostat

Thermostat with a brain.

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Cool Innovation: Mighty Mug!


Mighty? Mightier? Mighty Mug!

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When good enough is good enough

Good enough













Many creators are their own harshest critics.

They don’t get ideas out until they’re absolutely perfect.

Hence, they sometimes wait forever or are sometimes taken over by a competitor who is simply faster to market.

If you feel that you are this kind of “perfectionist” (and I myself have been for many years, but am getting better), here are three tips that have worked for me:


1. When you create something, do NOT edit/criticize yourself

This is a habit from school and it’s the habit creators have to free themselves from. Give yourself permission to do this with the knowledge that when you’re almost done, you may critic yourself as much as you like.

When you create something you want to get into a state a friend of mine calls “freeasy” (free + easy). That’s the ideal state to be in to create!


2. Get a super-critic on your team

This is something I learned while writing my first book Presentation Latte. Everyone who got the book early loved it. Except for one friend. He had a long list of critical comments to share with me. Funny thing was that we were just to meet for a casual lunch. Boy, I can’t forget that lunch.

Ever since that meeting, I call people like him super-critics.

And yes, I believe you should have one or maybe two super-critics on your team. They will often give you a different perspective and some great tips.

Only, keep in mind not to let their criticism stop you!


3. Good enough is good enough

If most people who you tested your creation on, like it…

And you changed some things based on the feedback of your super-critic…

Get your creation out!

You’ve done enough. Most people like it. Now it’s time for the market.

Microsoft didn’t bring out a perfect Windows from the start (many argue it’s still not perfect).

So enough testing already.  When you feel it’s good enough, it’s good enough.


© Copyright 2013 Ben A. Ratje All Rights Reserved

photo credit: mikecogh via photopin cc

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7 Innovation Myths

7. You cannot be innovative (biggest myth of all).

Truth: We were all born with the ability to be innovative. A Harvard research from the book The Innovator’s DNA discovered that innovation is 30% nature, yet 70% nurture.

6. Innovation happens through a wild and crazy and messy process. I’m structured and organized, so I cannot be innovative.

Truth: Innovation needs both: creativity (emotion/messiness) and a system (logic/structure). So it does make sense to start out messy, but innovations sure finish clean. You need both skills. And most people need to develop one of the two.

5. You need to be great at drawing to be innovative.

Truth: You need some drawing skill so you can create your ideas on paper. That’s true. But usually the drawing skill of a 3-year old will do. As long as you can draw a little bit and explain the rest with your words, you’re on the right track.

4. Only smart people can be innovative.

Truth: Not to put anyone down, but there are some very stupid, yet very rich and very creative/innovative entrepreneurs out there. So, no! Super-human intelligence not required.

3. It takes a lot of money to be innovative.

Truth: It takes a little money to be innovative. In a few rare cases, no money.

2. Focus groups are great for innovation.

Truth: Most focus groups are terrible for innovation. The main reason being is that most focus group leaders still ask the WRONG questions. If you ask the RIGHT questions, focus groups can be great.

1. Innovation is only for high-tech

Truth: Innovation happens anywhere. From fashion innovations to hospitality innovations to farming innovations to houseware innovations. Across (almost) all industries and at all levels.

Which innovation myth do you have to break through?


© Copyright 2013 Ben A. Ratje All Rights Reserved

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5 Basic Tools Every Creator Needs

Creativity Tools






What basic tools do you need to create anything? (new product/service, new presentation, new business, new system, etc.)

Here are my personal top 5:

1. Color Pens & Yellow-Sheet Notepad

Doesn’t work without. Either for writing or drawing, it’s needed. Alternatively Samsung Note 2 or the Apple iPad will also do. But I still prefer writing/drawing on paper. Especially for brainstorming.

2. Color post-its

Absolute necessity! Brainstorming should lead to quantity of ideas. But shortly after choosing the best ideas and more importantly structuring and organizing parts of the idea, execution must follow. And there is simply no better (and fun) way to move ideas around like post-its.


3. Brainstorm Buddy

A Brainstorming Buddy is someone who you can call up or meet anytime when you need to get some perspective or new ideas. You HAVE TO have at least one brainstorming buddy! I have multiple for different types of ideas and business and I recommend you do the same.


4. Brain Block Getaway

If you are a creator, you’ve been there: BRAIN BLOCK! When nothing is going. Nothing is working. At all. For author’s it’s called writer’s block. But I think we should for the sake of creators generalize it as BRAIN BLOCK.

How to overcome it? To options usually: Attack or retreat. Attack means you lock yourself into a room and don’t leave until the job is done. (sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t). Second option is to get away. To a space totally unrelated with the date. It basically means getting out. To check out some stores, work on something else, play your favorite sports, grab an unrelated magazine or book or get a caramel macchiato at your favorite coffee shop.


5. Music

I’m a big believer that music is absolutely essential to creation. I know there are some people who say you can focus better in the quiet, but I yet have to find creators who don’t use music during at least some part of their creation. A friend of mine who is a successful fashion designer is unable to design new clothes at all without her music. Sometimes it’s uplifting and (in her case especially) sometimes it’s super-sad music, but either way it works.

© Copyright 2012 Ben A. Ratje All Rights Reserved

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Cool Innovation: LiquiGlide

Ever had trouble getting ketchup out of the bottle?

Or mustard? Or any type of sauce?

Well, if you’re like me you’ve probably also had enough of these annoying times.

Finally there is a solution, check out LiquiGlide:

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