The Spark

July 18, 2024
Mass is over, but how niche is too niche?
Make a big business by nurturing a niche network
June 12, 2024
Vizible to the naked eye
Why data visualization is a game-changer for explaining your big idea
April 29, 2024
Spice up your product development process
To keep your audience looking hot
September 28, 2023
Who’s paying your rent?
How smart brands find new audiences without losing their current one.
August 2, 2023
Innovate Faster—Meet Design Sprints & Heat-Testing
How design sprints and heat-testing bring speed and confidence to product innovation.
July 20, 2023
Now serving: piping hot hyper-niches
How to survive (and thrive) in a marketing world that’s increasingly niche-ified
June 8, 2023
Is Hollywood’s growth strategy flawed?
How blockbusters can crowd out product innovation
May 19, 2023
Testing for concept validation before product development
In innovation and new product development, bad ideas are not the problem. The problem is the ability to discern good from bad.
May 4, 2023
How to rebrand—and know it will land
Your strategy: deconstruct, reconstruct, test.
April 25, 2023
Can you be average and innovative at the same time?
When do you step out vs toe the line of average?
March 2, 2023
The one wring to rule them all
How to identify the best innovation ideas
February 16, 2023
Customer acquisition 101
From social media to customer acquisition cost, here’s your ultimate guide to understanding the basics of customer acquisition
January 18, 2023
Is this what you predicted?
Hello, and welcome to prediction season. If your appetite for soothsaying hasn’t yet been sated, here is a collection of about 100 predictions for 2023 from everyone from Accenture to the Zukunftsinstitut.
January 15, 2023
Is it time to rebrand?
Signs you’re due for a brand refresh
November 16, 2022
Drink Me!
Down the rabbit hole of a new sustainable beverage brand
September 13, 2022
Here's How to Run Faster Than the Competition
Is your company running faster and faster just to stay in place?
July 20, 2022
Mommy, where do new products come from?
How to talk about innovation in a topsy-turvy time
May 19, 2022
Reporting for Beauty
The Innovation Your Brand Needs to Age Well
April 21, 2022
Getting the brand back together
How rebrands are putting on a great show.
March 15, 2022
Moving new product ideas forward
Spring forward and work backwards: How to build momentum for a big new business idea
February 8, 2022
Now serving: half-baked new business ideas
Is there a right way to generate new business ideas? 
January 6, 2022
New year, new digital overload
Dear Digital Diary, HELP-I'm Drowning! Why we need a middle layer to protect us.
December 7, 2021
A punch in the face or an incredible year?
Change is afoot in 2022
November 4, 2021
Politics, Politeness, and Other Innovation-Killers
Ways To Build Innovation Into Your Business.
October 5, 2021
The Survey Issue
According to survey data from BI Survey, “58% of respondents say their companies base at least half of their regular business decisions on gut feel or experience [emphasis added] rather than being driven by data and information.” Hmm.
June 22, 2021
The Membership Models Issue
Everyone from AAA to Zipcar has a form of membership. What’s driving all this joining?
May 13, 2021
Failure looks great on you—really
Let’s use failure to learn as much as possible. But failure, like success, can be managed.
April 2, 2021
Ready for a Decade of Disruption?
How do you prepare for disruption? First, know what’s coming. There’s no certainty, of course, but there are smart ways to plan for big shifts.
March 11, 2021
5 reasons to test now and build later
Validate-first, build-later requires product innovators and marketers to get their hands dirty with testing when the product is still just a tiny spark of innovation.
February 2, 2021
If you are not experimenting online, this is your year.
Why this year? We think 2021 is going to be a year of great change.
October 14, 2020
What? You haven’t started a business this year?
In this issue, we will do a quick survey of how growth strategy is changing and then explore a framework for thinking about customer acquisition strategy.
August 31, 2020
How marketing is changing in 2020
The massive shift in behavior accelerated by the events of 2020 is causing a follow-on lurch in marketing—marketers are sprinting to keep pace with a customer whose behavior and attitudes have changed in a matter of months.
August 26, 2020
Getting the Most Out of a Virtual Internship
Whether live or remote, college is restarting, and so we are saying good-bye to two amazing marketing interns who helped us manage a busy summer.
August 4, 2020
The Trend Friends Issue
Can we innovate our way out of an economic crisis? Fingers crossed, everyone.
July 2, 2020
Time to Sharpen Your Knives
This week, we are celebrating the innovators and the hustlers—the people who are finding solutions because they see no other choice.
May 28, 2020
There must be a pony in here somewhere!
Glib or not, digging through the manure pile to find a glimmer of opportunity will contribute to getting the economy back on track.
April 23, 2020
For Crisis's Sake
If you are wondering how marketers behave when panicked, look no further than your email inbox and social media feeds a month or so ago.
April 9, 2020
Who Moved the End Zone?
Need some new plays?
February 25, 2020
Cook the Books
The business book is a conundrum. With so many ways to convey ideas, why does it still exist?
February 6, 2020
Hornswaggled Again!
In the beginning, there were catalogs.
January 16, 2020
Rent Me
By all accounts, the rental economy is on a tear. And it’s not only millennials who are eating it up.
January 2, 2020
It's January 2nd. Do you know where your trends are?
We have big plans for this year, and we bet you do, too. In fact, expectations are so high for the new year/decade, it can seem a little overwhelming.
November 15, 2019
Bet Your Aas
Big companies are getting savvier about innovation. And a number of service firms (Spark No. 9 among them) are evolving to help them.
October 24, 2019
Calling All Shape-Shifters
Sometimes we get stuck. We need the big idea—the hot new product concept, the clever business model, the catchy tag line. We’ve done our homework on users and their needs.