Bottoms up, Bottoms up

Last week our discussion on innovation brought two techniques to the table; top-down innovation and bottom-up innovation. These two ideas basically described where the ideas came from, and whether the trickled down or shot up. After thinking about the terms in that manner, I decided that if a low-rank employee could shoot his ideas all the way up to the top, then that was definitely something worth exploring.

As I went to look for an example of bottom-up innovation, the first one that my search engine showed was Best Buy. I figured that since this is a company that we are all familiar with that it would be interested to see how they have employed this particular technique.

Chris Applegate became a sales associate in 2002 at a Best Buy store in Lakewood, California. As an employee, he brought his store a lot of new ideas, that would eventually travel around the country to other branches. His first idea came from Vonage VOIP services (Vonage is a provider of internet broadband telephone services). Chris then created a Vonage sales and marketing program that spread quickly to other areas in California. His efforts have changed the California consumer by creating a massive increase in Vonage users.

“Chris is practicing Best-Buy’s bottom-up innovation.  For the last several years, Best Buy has been developing this disciplined innovation approach.  Every associate is encouraged to try new ways to increase Best Buy’s sales and profits.  They are rewarded financially when they succeed, and in lots of other ways just for trying. “

This practice has proven very successful for Best Buy, and can be seen in numerous other innovations.

“Like most innovation efforts, the goal of Best Buy’s bottom-up innovation is improved growth and profitability for the company.   And in recent years, Best Buy has been performing quite well along these dimensions, with sales rising about 30% over the two year period from March, 2003 to March, 2005.  During that same period, the company’s operating earnings were up about 50%.”

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Virtual Worlds for Non-Believers


During our talk in class about virtual worlds it became clear to me that some people frown upon virtual worlds because they just don’t get it. Why would a person want to live a life online and outside of the real world?

1. No geographic boundaries! Thats right folks… you yourself can sit next to your best friend who is abroad in Europe (via your computer screen) and chat it up. While this is great for social purposes (maybe you can make new friends Continue reading

Follow Up on “Soldiers Kill and Rape in Iraq”

Up front, let me just be clear.  I think our military forces are mostly well-intentioned people.  We ask much of them, often to do their best in support of policies or goals that change or that they may not completely agree to.

At the same time, I think any sober reading of war will show that in such circumstances, despite thorough training and intentions, atrocities occur.  How we accept and deal with such incidents is about us as a people and nation.

When I spoke up that such incidents have happened in Iraq, I was thinking of the high probability that they did.  I was also thinking of the Haditha massacre.  The details and resolution of Haditha are murky.  You will have to draw your own conclusions.

Here are some resources:

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Final Paper Topic – Bucknell University

Sitting in the lush farmlands of Central Pennsylvania, Bucknell University is one of the premier liberal arts universities in the nation.  It boasts an absolutely magnificant campus, talented faculty, and intelligent and motivated student body (if I don’t say so myself).  Having now spent almost three years at this university I believe that I have had the opportunity to see this university in a very different light that most students do.  I have worked with deans, faculty, students, and high-level administrators and have a gotten a “behind the scenes” view of how this university is run.  It would be easy state that the goal of Bucknell University is to educate students in a liberal arts setting to a degree where they will have the ability to succeed as citizens in the 21st century.  Yet, there are so many more facets to Bucknell as an organization than simply educating students.

Bucknell University

Bucknell University

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What kinds of laws govern organizations?

When I first read the final paper guidelines, I felt a little intimidated by the open-ended nature of the assignment. So far, we’ve been given pretty specific direction; yet have still been given some freedom in constructing our topics. So, at first, this assignment seemed a little daunting. Thinking about everything we’ve read in Scott and Davis, the convoluted story of Enron, the numerous articles we have discussed – it seems nearly impossible to tie everything together under one umbrella. Then class today happened…
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From the Ground Up

After our class discussions thus far regarding innovation, I found myself very curious to learn about more concrete examples of how innovation is working for businesses today. I managed to come across this interesting and applicable article on (that, by the way, has an entire section of their homepage dedicated to the topic of innovation). Below is a link to the video accompanying the article that gives a great overview of the gist of the story.  (I can’t embed it.)

Trickle Up Innovation

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Does one Organization define YOU?

To be given the freedom to write about a gamut of things for this final assignment, I have encountered many roadblocks. Not many opportunities are given where you are not just “assigned” a topic. As my thoughts began to come together with what I wanted to look at in reference to organizations, and how they can tie in with what was discussed throughout the course of the semester, I came to the big question of are you defined by an organization?

During your college year’s it could be said, with some confidence, that yes, you are defined by the organization’s with which you are involved with. A collegiate lifestyle is structured around what meeting you have on Monday, what speaker you go to on Tuesday, and what event is on Thursday. Organization’s make up the individual that you are. As you leave college life behind, one might think that you would leave all of the “organization’s” behind. In reality you take it all with you, you form new organization’s and build off of the one’s that you had in college.
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