How do Innovators Prepare?

Corporate innovators and entrepreneurs prepare? Yes, they do. Many people I talk to mistake the ability to be flexible, to iterate and to take action with not preparing to begin with.

This article talks likens Innovators to Adventurers and highlights the importance of preparing for both. In particular it discusses, the story of Roald Amundsen who led the first expedition to the South Pole. It discusses his knowledge of local techniques, attention to details and the ability to foresee difficulties.

It’s a fine line between over analyzing with preparing. Innovators would be wise to take a few minutes, follow Amundsen’s lead and prepare wherever possible.

Have a specific vision for the future

The Internet of Everything is a popular term. The interesting thing to me in David Evans’ (Cisco’s Chief Futurist) blog posting, is how clearly he sees it. He provides examples of technology being applied to water, traffic and agricultural systems. The level of precision he applies are terrific, allowing the reader to get a glimpse of the future.

It is important to apply this level of precision when picturing future trends. The growth of everything mobile is well noted. Companies can benefit from imagining specific use cases with the same level of precision as Cisco. This allows for two benefits, 1) understanding how the technology can be used to benefit users and 2) providing specific direction for companies to develop specific applications and experiences.

How to make your company more like Apple

Who doesn’t want to be more like Apple? Innovation, huge market cap, widely acclaimed brand and more….

This posting discusses Apple’s long term strategy that focused on schools in the 70s and 80s. This has created a core of brand loyalists that are more likely to buy Apple products now that they’re older.

Apple also does not compete on price and can thus claim healthy margins.

The most interesting part of this posting finds that 3/4 of Apple’s revenue last year came from things that were impossible just two years ago. That’s absolutely astounding. More importantly, and I quote Daniel Burrus’ book Flash Foresight, “[Apple] give(s) people the ability to do what they currently cannot do, but would really want to do if they only knew it could be done”. Focus on what would make your customers’ lives easier, even if they don’t know it.

Check out Burrus’ full article here.

Linking Startups with Corporations at RocketSpace’s Innovation Summit

On November 29th, RocketSpace hosted 50 major corporations to its first ever Innovation Summit. The keynotes were IdeaFaktory’s Steve Faktor, UC Berkeley’s Dr. Henry Chesbrough and RocketSpace’s Duncan Logan. The day revolved around open innovation and linking startups and larger corporations.

The company’s involved included NTT Docomo, Salesforce, Yammer and Pearson PLC.

Check out the RocketSpace’s writeup here and note the link to their Ambassdor program at the bottom of the page.

Speed Dating for Business

Speed dating in this context, matches external Entrepreneurs with internal stakeholders. There’s a selection process to get the right people on both sides.

There’s an example of how Kraft Foods is collaborating with mobile startups with the goal of transforming consumer engagement.  The program is called Mobile Futures and selected startups work with teh company to scale and activate new brands into market within 90 days. The second phase takes those lessons and sparks Intrapreneurship by incubating new mobile ventures also in 90 days. Teams them present their new ventures to secure funding.

The author points out that this relationship between Entrepreneur and Big Company, is designed to provide a shot of innovation rather than a long term IV.  Click here to check out the full article by Peter Guber.


3 Keys Leaders Can Use To See The Future

Being anticipatory rather than just being agile is key tot today’s leaders.

  • Make the future more visible – look at the nature of changes –  cyclical (eg stock market cycles) vs linear changes (eg evolution of music consumption)
  • Identify hard trends that will happen – eg how people are watching TV
  • Look outside your industry for solutions you need – this is my favorite one, and focuses on leveraging innovation, technologies and lessons learned from outside your industry.

Click here for Daniel Barrus’ full post.

A Lesson from Google: Why Innovation is the Key to Your Company’s Future

Interesting to see a discussion about Google focused on their mistakes. The article discusses how Google has moved from innovating (search) to innovating / copying with Smart Phones and finally to almost outright copying Social Media.

It’s an interesting reminder that today’s innovator is tomorrow’s copycat. Of course, Google has continued to innovate, but it has continued to allow others to come up with the new markets that it tries to innovate within rather than define those new spaces itself. Case in point, I just saw Google’s latest flight search engine, which looks a lot like Kayak.

25 Awesome Innovation Quotes

Nothing like a good quote to get us motivated and focused.

Here are my top 5…click here for the full list. Check out the comments below the list for more good ones.

  1. If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. (Einstein)
  2. Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. (T.Dewar)
  3. There are no old roads to new directions (BCG)
  4. A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind (Szent-Gyorgyi)
  5. The impossible is often the untried (Goodwin)