Our May Business e-newsletter focused on how we innovate – changing our business services, products and systems for the better.

In our February Business Survey, 40% of you reported that your business innovated in 2010, mostly by adding new products. What are your plans for innovating in the second half of 2011? Please share your thoughts, goals and questions with the Hannah Grimes Network (a group of veteran and aspiring entrepreneurs) on Facebook, LinkedIn or send us an email.

Review articles on Innovation below:

MindFull Money: A Local Bookstore Gets Creative With Financing

MindFull Books & Ephemera a community bookshop and music venue in downtown Jaffrey is looking to creatively finance a renovation project with MindFull Money. Owner John Sepe shares, "With banks, lending institutions, and investors holding the reins tight, small businesses need to look at other alternatives for funding. And what better way than to share with, and be supported by, the community with whom they interact every day." More details about MindFull Money.

Innovation Lessons From Small Business
By Andrew Waldeck & Renee Hopkins Callahan, Originally Posted on

Many people have come to think wrongly of innovation as a separate activity, walled off from their regular course of business, something they have to pursue intentionally. We saw this firsthand recently while participating in a workshop on small-business innovation. One small-business owner disavowed the notion that anything his business did could be classified as innovative, saying, "We're not creating the iPod."

Discovering the Best Business Ideas: The Keys to Successful Innovation
By David Smith, Originally Posted on Inc Magazine

Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, and Henry Ford were some of the most brilliant innovators in our country's history; yet, Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer might argue that it was not their genius that was responsible for their iconic status, but rather their insatiable hunger for creating, developing, and sharing ideas.

Innovation Measure: Time Since Last Contact (TLC)
By Ryan Jacoby, Originally Posted on do_matic

For most challenges, the primary source of your inspiration should come from understanding or being inspired by users, customers and other influencers. Yet, most of us chain ourselves to our desks or hide behind self-imposed and self-erected barriers. I'm no exception. I can get focused on a design challenge and lose sight of what my users and customers need when I'm not careful.

The point is, the questions, needs, answers and inspiration are all out there, not in here. So, I'd like to propose another innovation measure: Time Since Last Contact (TLC).

Lessons on Innovation From Jack Sparrow
By Harvey Schachter, Originally Posted on The Globe & Mail

If your company is trying to be more innovative, why not take Captain Jack Sparrow as your model? On his ThoughtLeaders blog, consultant Mike Figliuolo highlights these attributes culled from Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Innovation: It Isn't a Matter of Left or Right
By Steven Johnson, Originally Posted on The NY Times

In my research, I analyzed 300 of the most influential innovations in science, commerce and technology – from the discovery of vacuums to the vacuum tube to the vacuum cleaner – and put the innovators of each breakthrough into one of four quadrants. First, there is the classic solo entrepreneur, protecting innovations in order to benefit from them financially; then the amateur individual, exploring and inventing for the love of it. Then there are the private corporations collaborating on ideas while simultaneously competing with one another. And then there is what I call the "fourth quadrant": the space of collaborative, nonproprietary innovation, exemplified in recent years by the Internet and the Web, two groundbreaking innovations not owned by anyone.

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