Keep Current: News, Product Launches, Thought Leadership


Learning To Innovate By “Making”

By Nottingham Spirk, June 18, 2015

We were impressed with Westlake, Ohio teacher K. Scott Kutz’s recent op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “In Defense of Shop Class”:

You hear of middle and secondary schools that have abandoned their woodworking programs, yet at the same time we have a huge number of college graduates who owe huge student loans and Read more »


Workspace Inspires Creativity

By Nottingham Spirk, May 18, 2015

In the 1990s, “cubicles” became symbols of soulless corporations and mind-numbing jobs (in movies as different as Office Space and The Matrix , and the comic strip Dilbert. But the cube farm was a bastardization of the original concept. In 1997 Robert Propst, designer of the modular Action Office system, disavowed what he’d inadvertently created, Read more »


Maintaining The Culture of Creativity

By Nottingham Spirk, April 15, 2015

Cartoonist Manu Cornet created a series of “organizational charts” for some of the biggest tech companies, based on their cultures. Google’s chart is absurdly complex but with a relatively clear hierarchy. Facebook’s is almost childishly simple and looping, as if no one’s in charge. In Microsoft’s, departments are sealed off and are depicted pointing Read more »


Cub Cadet HAULER: Innovative Versatily

By Nottingham Spirk, March 20, 2015

MTD (Headquartered in Valley City, OH), owner of Cub Cadet lawn and garden tractors, is partnering with NS to develop new products for the business. Our insights process revealed that among the target demographic — homeowners with large properties — the biggest deterrent to buying tow-behind haulers was a lack of storage Read more »


CWRU & Nottingham Spirk Partnership for Innovation

By Nottingham Spirk, March 19, 2015

Case Western Reserve University is already one of the top-20 schools in the nation for research funding. But the expanding think[box] facility will make CWRU unique not just in academia but the growing national Maker Movement and Nottingham Spirk is pleased to be getting in on the ground floor.

Designed to support a Read more »


Shattered Glass: The Value of a “Soft Launch”

By Nottingham Spirk, March 9, 2015

In May 2013, Bloomberg News declared that Google was “winning the innovation war against Apple.”

Google is winning this war because it has a better innovation process. The key to Google’s process is its “launch and iterate” approach. This means almost every new product the company puts out—including the ones announced last Read more »


Engineer Opportunities: Elsie’s New Car

By Nottingham Spirk, February 18, 2015

Innovation changes the world — and changing the world of just one person still counts. We were reminded of this by the above video, which accompanied the online version of Case Western Reserve University’s 2013-14 annual report. The video tells how four students upgraded a little girl’s beloved motorized mini-car. Flynn McPherson, a Read more »


2015 CES: Emerging Innovation

By Nottingham Spirk, January 28, 2015

As usual, the gravitational pull of the tech giants at the recent Consumer Electronics Show was nearly inescapable, but we were also drawn to the “Eureka Park” section of the show. Eureka Park is known as the flagship startup destination for startups and universities.  Showcasing were universities like CWRU, with 9 student Read more »


Hiring For Creativity

By Nottingham Spirk, January 16, 2015

A previously unknown essay was published on creativity written by Isaac Asimov (1959). The Science Fiction icon had been asked to consult on a project involving a ballistic missile defense system. Asimov eventually left the project, but not before sharing his thoughts on the makeup of a team that could conceive of new approaches well Read more »


Commentary – “Goodbye, TiVo?” via

By Nottingham Spirk, December 12, 2014

This is a commentary piece based on an article found on and written by Chris Ziegler. Chris is a longtime TiVo fan but now laments the once-revolutionary device’s slow slide into also-ran status:

But then something happened. Well, actually, nothing happened. TiVo innovated at a pace unbefitting its role as a disruptor; Read more »

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