In today’s episode of the Idea to Value Podcast, we speak again with Stephen Shapiro about his new book, Invisible Solutions: 25 Lenses that Reframe and Help Solve Difficult Business Problems

We go through multiple examples of how companies have achieved innovation success by approaching problems in a new way, enabling them to ask better questions.

Topics covered in today’s episode:

  • 00:01:30 – How the recent Coronavirus outbreak is changing the way that people work
  • 00:04:00 – The importance of asking better questions in innovation
  • 00:05:30 – Using different lenses to reframe innovation problems in new ways
  • 00:06:45 – The story of Pumps and Pipes: Cardiologists and Gas pipeline engineers who get together to solve problems together, which resulted in filters that fix blood clots in human hearts
  • 00:10:30 – How an insurance company learned about improving customer transparency from Dominos Pizza
  • 00:11:00 – We usually ask questions which are either too abstract, or too specific
  • 00:12:45 – If a question is too specific, you won’t look for different ways of approaching the problem, as exemplified by Exxon Valdes Oil Cleanup
  • 00:15:00 – Expertise can be the enemy of innovation
  • 00:16:00 – What business are we actually in? [Editor’s note: Bic made pens first, then expanded to other cheap plastic items like razors and lighters]
  • 00:19:00 – Leaders don’t need to have the answers, they need to stimulate the organisation to ask the right questions

Links mentioned in today’s episode

Invisible Solutions Book:


This episode was made possible by our premium innovation and creativity training. Take your innovation and creativity capabilities to the next level by investing in yourself now, at

Nick Skillicorn: I help teams and companies just like yours unleash the creativity and innovation potential that already exists in your people.

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Creativity & Innovation expert: I help individuals and companies build their creativity and innovation capabilities, so you can develop the next breakthrough idea which customers love. Chief Editor of and Founder / CEO of Improvides Innovation Consulting. Coach / Speaker / Author / TEDx Speaker / Voted as one of the most influential innovation bloggers.