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Great examples of ways to cultivate innovation - other companies in other industries, other verticals:  “Who else has solved a similar problem?”

A medical device company that made angioplasty equipment wanted to create a computer simulation that would predict how the “balloon” would expand.

Where did they turn for an accurate computer model?

In the past, they worked with car manufacturers and built statistical models that simulated the expansion and contraction of airbags. This proved to be a wildly accurate way of predicting how a balloon catheter would operate.

When you are working on your next business challenge, ask yourself:

“Who else has solved a similar problem?”

In doing so, you might significantly accelerate your innovation effort.

Blog author Stephen Shapiro is the author of five books including “Best Practices Are Stupid” and “Personality Poker” (both published by Penguin).