It seems that all professionals have their tools, but somehow managers were forgotten. No more! There is a great podcast to provide the tools that managers need to do their jobs better called Manager Tools. The podcast is done by Mark Horstman and Mike Auzenne. They publish their podcast weekly and have a website with materials that every manager needs. Check them out and listen weekly!
One of the many interesting stories from They Made America: Two Centuries of Innovators from the Steam Engine to the Search Engine, by Sir Harold Evans is the story of Samuel Insull. His innovation was in pricing. He worked on understanding how his customers would use electricity, and then devised a pricing method to meet the estimated need. A key part of his understanding was that he saw the peeks and valleys in the usage chart between the very different customer populations. His insight came to him because he looked at the entire system of generating and using electricity.
If you don’t yet know who Phil McKinney is, then you need to look him up. More importantly, you need to listen to his podcast, Killer Innovations. Phil’s insight into the innovation process provides you with knowledge you can use in your daily work.