Inc Magazine: August 1, 2002

Special Series: The Innovation Factor

Built to Invent
Innovation is the lifeblood of entrepreneurship. No other factor contributes more to a company's growth -- or is more misunderstood. Too many businesspeople think that innovation comes in unpredictable flashes of inspiration. But true innovators know that ingenuity is systematic, organized, and rational -- and that it doesn't stop at the lab door. Part 1 of a three-installment series on hypercreative organizations and the strategies behind them.
Inside the Idea Mill
What's better than one blockbuster innovation? A company designed to crank out innovations one after another.
The Innovation 50
A listing of the most inventive small companies in entrepreneurial America.
A Field Guide to Innovation
From motivation to marketing, the best practices of the Innovation 50.
Time Travelers
How do innovators know where to place their bets? They send their employees into the future.


Independents' Day
Want to start your own revolution? It's easy. Just bring together a group of strong-willed entrepreneurs and form an alliance. Your independence may depend on it.
Hook, Line, and Sinker
Disciples of Fish are bringing the happiness revolution to corporate America. It sounds as if they're fighting the good fight. But there may be casualties.

In Every Issue

Readers react to recent Inc magazine articles. Plus: An update on the MEP and why the Bush administration is significantly cutting its funding to this successful, cost-efficient program designed to help small manufacturers.
Archive: Food Chain
Williams-Sonoma owes much of its success to our national passion for nesting. But the company's founder and its first customers were actually globe trotters.


High Concept: This Phone's for You
The next great advance in wireless? One word: plastics.
Dossier: Trade Secrets
Stephanie Black's film Life and Debt challenges a political position that many CEOs support.
Main Street: The Barber of Civility
Foltos' Tonsorial Parlor is no ordinary barbershop: it's also a performance space, a news publisher, and the anchor of one small Illinois town.
60-Second Business Plan: Blot-Com
Psychological testing over the Internet: does it allay employers' misgivings or merely make them worse?
Business for Sale: A Mogul's Mogul
Ah, to buy a ski resort. But one aspect of this deal earns it a double black diamond.

The Inc Life

Profile: The Bipolar CEO
Duncan Harrison runs one company in Alaska and another in Hawaii -- and divides his existence in half, every single month, between the two. Here's what it's like when you invent exactly the life you want simply because you can.
What I Know Now: Out of Control (at Last)
A perilous vacation teaches the healthy difference between control and influence.
Returns: Angels After Dark
Stocks, shmocks. What angel-investor wanna-be wouldn't like a piece of a nice rock-and-roll emporium?
On the Side: Making Book
Many entrepreneurs write books, but few write fiction. Ken Merrell is an even rarer breed: a dyslexic author who can't read his own work in public.


The most recent corporate scandals are likely to accelerate a trend that's been building for years: bring your own business.
Street Smarts: A Few Good Competitors
Every company needs a few good competitors. Not only do they keep you on your toes, but they can help you set high industry standards.

The Whole New Business Catalog

IncQuery: In Search of the Dream Business
Advice on researching a "can't miss" idea, deciding whether to hire your first employee, and exploring various approaches to selling.
Marketing: Honeys, Hand Me a Polygamy Porter
Can chutzpah build a brand? Greg Schirf is betting the head off his lager that it can.
Benefits: Taming the Health-Care Monster
A new kind of insurance plan puts employees in the driver's seat. And the potential savings for company owners look awfully good as well. Could this be the answer to double-digit premium hikes?
Strategies: Radical Sabbaticals
Threatened by downsizing, small companies are making an effort to find alternatives to layoffs.
Hands On: Not-So-Bright Ideas
Voyant Technologies honors employees who come up with great new product ideas, as well as those less-than-shining suggestions.
Hands On: The Right Fit
To relieve his hiring headaches, Clifford Public Relations CEO Mike Clifford invites major clients to help pick their own account representatives.
Search: It's 2010. Bring on the Designer Babies
Inspiration for brainstorming, practical advice for public speaking, and assistance for navigating government agencies.

August on the Web

The Real Cost of Layoffs
Cross-training employees and offering reduced-pay sabbaticals, writes associate editor Thea Singer in "Radical Sabbaticals," are just two of the inventive ways business owners are avoiding layoffs. Still others believe layoffs are the most effective method of shaving dollars off expenses. Before you consider layoffs as a cash-flow fix, check out's analysis of the direct and indirect costs to ensure your decision truly pays off.
United We Stand
What if your competition suddenly became your ally? As Susan Greco and Kate O'Sullivan explain in their coverage of six small-business alliances, you might gain more clout with suppliers, more bandwidth to compete for larger projects, or an easy way to take your business national. On we've provided a checklist of criteria to help you manage your collaborative relationship and ensure that you and your new ally are a good fit.
What's the Big Idea?
In "Inside the Idea Mill," senior editor Leigh Buchanan profiles Augustine Medical, a company that's made innovation an integral part of its business. talked to the company's director of intellectual property for pointers on applying for patents. In this primer you'll discover what to consider when filing for a patent and the strategic decisions you'll need to make.
Steal These Strategies
As part of this month's innovation coverage, Leigh Buchanan and Thea Singer have compiled the best practices of highly inventive companies in "A Field Guide to Innovation." But there were so many to choose from, they didn't all fit in the magazine. Check out for more smart strategies from America's most innovative small businesses.

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