Shirley, You Can’t Be Serious!


The business of innovation is hard.  But, it doesn’t have to be considered work.  Instead, it can and should be considered fun.  What we need, in order to make it happen, is more time – time to have fun that is.  But why stop there?  We should reward the funny and encourage former class clowns to think more like they used to.  According to research cited in Praveen Gupta’s book, Business Innovations in the 21st Century, truly innovative thinking is likely to come from funny ideas: they may take the longest to germinate but they are more innovative than are good ideas.”

So, next time you are sitting around the conference room brainstorming, ideating, or otherwise devising the next big thing, be sure to take time and fully listen to the suggestions that begin with “knock-knock” or “a guy walks into a bar.”  To be truly funny is to be innovative.

About Author

Mark Schmit

Mark Schmit has served multiple roles while with MEP and is currently the National Accounts Manager. In this role he is responsible for developing partnerships with both the public and private sector entities. Mark identifies new business opportunities that leverage state and federal funding with the goal to improve the competitiveness of US-based manufacturers. His major area of focus is supply chain improvement.


  1. Why am I having trouble trying to manufacture my invention. I need tooloing and machine machine manufacturing.

    Hello! Michigan Manufacturing,
    My name is Patrice McDonald of MsMac Designs, Inc. I am the patent owner and inventor of the first cake stand ever created to change the historical stacking of the three tier cake. Our patent number is D490, 657s. The manufacturing of this product will bring new display ideas to the food display industry. This product is also versatile that it will also promote “The Art of Food Display”. Visit our company web-site for viewing ( Our product market (a 400billion dollar market) has been stagnated and has long for a change. I have exhibited the product at the RBA-Retails Bakers of America International Convention in Chicago at the McCormick Center. I had huge attention: 15 distributors (including the distributor of Las Vegas), a manufacturer, and the editor of the International Magazine Modern Baking. The editor is a fan of the product looking forward to me manufacturing the product to showcase in their magazine. He has displayed the product already once for note as a product that will be coming. I have been an exhibitor for dummies to the fact that I had huge orders and did not have machine manufacturing complete. I have now had engineered drawings, e-drawings, and a prototype done. I have had all the attention but the tool making is now the problem. I have gone to the Governor’s seminars to contract with the government but in order to receive the contracts the manufacturing has to be in place. I am hoping to partner with a Michigan manufacture to create jobs and a global product. If you can investigate the market you will see the baking industry is a silent unspoken market with huge sales. People never stop getting married (10,000,000 weddings a year), never stop celebrating; culinary artistic designs have never been displayed in the illumination this product brings. I have interviewed with Disney at Disney with an order but no manufacturing. This product can bring huge revenue to Michigan machine manufacturing. I have other products to patent. I have cake decorated for over 20years and know that this market is stagnated and ready for change. The three major catalogs of the United States (Deco Pac, Bakery Craft, Philef & Holding) display the same pictures year after year never even taking another picture because they know that there’s nothing to compete with.
    Look forward to team up and manufacture Michigan. I can be contacted by e-mail:, phone: 313-804-7456.
    Thank You,
    Patrice McDonald, CEO
    MsMac Designs, Inc.


  2. Mark,
    I find that encouraging! Our company does more R&D projects than any other small company that I know of and we have a lot of fun at it. Our culture is very open to new ideas and when that is encouraged, that’s what you get. It takes a while for new people to get use to the idea but when they relax and start to let go, good things happen.

  3. Hi there,

    To make the innovation knowledge more affordable, we just released the Business Innovation in the 21st Century on Kindle for only $0.99. Amazon has an option for Free also. I just wanted people to know this.


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