Innovation (noun): something new or different introduced

Innovation. I’ve been hearing this word so much lately. From Sesame Street to Intuit to an article on CNN, it seems to be all everywhere.

I’ve been planning on writing this post about my experience at Intuit’s Innovation Catalyst event last month at their Mountain View, California headquarters – what I call “The Mothership”, but kids, work, other writing assignments and life in general just got in the way.

But then I read that CNN article, and one little comment really stuck in brain. I mean, stuck – to the point that I couldn’t finish the article because the mindset behind it bothered me so much.

“…customer-service representatives who aren’t going to be driving innovation at the company anyway.”

Who can say where innovation will come from? Doesn’t It makes sense that the most public facing employees have the greatest insight into the next big thing that will wow customers? Since they’re the ones interacting with them every day?

I read this Harvard Business Review article right after I was invited to Intuit’s Catalyst, and to be honest, I was a little skeptical. It sounded a bit like a bunch of corporate obscuration.  However, when I got to Intuit, I was really surprised at how completely fascinating I ended up finding the experience.

To get details of the process, I recommend checking out The Design for Delight Series on the Intuit Network.

You can also see an example by checking out this video, featuring our group (including Brandon Cotter of ZenCash and Dawn Brolin) from our day at Intuit:


Our task was to encourage play and physical activity among Intuit employees to promote a healthier lifestyle. We went from talking about scheduling basketball tournaments to coming up with a simple solution that could be very easily implemented at ANY company: putting rugs/carpets in with a hopscotch board drawn on them. Just that little bit of old school play at random times during the day would get them moving physically and make them just that much happier – and ultimately a little healthier.

I can’t remember whom it was that suggested we offer hopscotch, and it doesn’t matter. Which really is my point, and the reason that comment bothered me so much. What if most of us in the group had dismissed some of the others? Automatically assumed that their ideas wouldn’t be valid?

My experience at the Intuit Catalyst proved that anyone can have a great idea – you just need to follow some simple rules: everyone is a designer, be present, everyone has an equal voice, work as team and most importantly: share what you learn. Even the muppets that live on Sesame Street know this stuff 🙂


  1. Helen Brosnan

    Nice article Stacy; and yes, you never know where the inspiration to innovate will come from…..I generated a cool event check in process because it was uncomfortable to have the PR people circling our registration counter like hawks…..turned out to be an awesome tool.

    • StacyK

      Thanks Helen 🙂

      I love that!


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