Spotlight: Innovation Author and Radio Host Phil McKinney

Shona Sanzgiri / November 30, 2015


My name is Phil McKinney and I’m an author (Beyond The Obvious), a nationally syndicated talk radio host (Killer Innovation) and an innovation coach and advisor to businesses, governments and NGOs. I blog at

I retired as CTO at Hewlett-Packard (HP) at the end of 2011.

My love of design is what originally brought me to Flipboard. Robert Scoble, who is a longtime friend, introduced me to Flipboard and the first magazine I came across was on architecture, which was my original major in college. I had a found a way to indulge myself in my passions from an incredibly wide and diverse set of sources.

I use Flipboard to stay up to date on the latest trends and activities in design, technology and innovation. It’s a key resource for my team as we research guests and content for the radio show, the blog and my upcoming books. I’m not sure I could juggle all the reading I need to do without Flipboard. If I find something that I think would be a fit for an upcoming show, my next book or for my store, I flip it into private magazines for later reading.

I also use Flipboard as a way to collect and share what I find interesting and inspirational. I categorize my flips into public magazines to make it easier for others to self-select what they find interesting. For example, my Killer Ideas magazine has the most followers and focuses on those flips that get the reader to think differently. The Killer Design magazine builds on my love of design, architecture, types/fonts, color, etc. My Innovation.Tools magazine, which is my newest magazine, shares tools, tricks, books and anything else that I think inventors, innovators or creatives should use.

I enjoy reading on Flipboard because it allows me to quickly flip through large amounts of content quickly and to save and share those that I find interesting. The mobile apps (I carry both iOS and Android devices) allow me to “snack” on content whenever I find I have a few minutes to spare. The result is that it greatly improves my productivity by allowing me to take advantage of slack time to stay on top of the mountain of information that is critical to my work.

Flipboard is not just about reading. With the recent launch of my online store, I’ve found Flipboard to be critical to discovering products for the store.

The first article I flipped was “Leadership Books: Top 10 Books That Help Leaders Keep Their Skills Sharp.”

The best article I read all week was Harvard Business Review’s “Creativity and the Role of the Leader,” which talks about the struggles and challenges of building and leading creative teams.

A particularly enlightening magazine I’ve found on Flipboard is Future of Meetings and Events by Oscar Cerezales. Why? A big part of what I do is either speak or host events such as Innovation Boot Camps or Executive Strategy Retreats so I’m always on the hunt for the latest ideas on how to keep our events fresh, new and innovative.

My biggest influence was my first mentor, Bob Davis. His approach to rotating me through every job in the company helped prepare me for eventually becoming CTO at a company like HP and then eventually become a CEO.

My “media diet” includes following more than 70 Flipboard Magazines across a wide range of topics such as photography, typography, technology, business, futurists, finance, talk radio/podcast, creativity and inspiration.

I also subscribe to another 30 traditional digital magazines, follow more than 50 blogs and subscribe to a few dozen podcasts.

I find new information by challenging myself to get out of the rut and use the Flipboard search feature to discover flips around a topic or trend that’s emerging. I then follow the magazine where I found interesting flips. My objective is to create an environment where serendipity can emerge and I discover something that I would have never have stumbled upon had I stayed in my digital cocoon.

I always scan through the list of magazines that Flipboard recommends as “You Might Also Like.” I have found a number of new magazines to follow that I would have never considered.

A unique productivity tip of mine is to use the Eisenhower Matrix when planning my day. I create a 2×2 matrix with each box labeled as: 1) Urgent/Important, 2) Not urgent/Important 3) Urgent/Not important and 4) Not urgent/Not important. I only work on those items in 1 and 2.

~ShonaS is curating Media Message