Tag Archives: amazon

The attitude needed to be a better forecaster…and innovator

SuperforecastingPeople who are good at forecasting, including innovators, are good at changing their minds; an uncommon attitude. Changing ones mind contradicts the conventional wisdom of relying on experts for right answers. Truthfully, experts have no place in predicting future events because when it comes to discovering and predicting the unknowns, experts are overrated.

How so?

What large companies still don’t get about marketing innovation

Though we are fairly well into the internet economy where brands can communicate directly with customers in a variety of ways through social networks, one belief from the old order still holds true: incumbent brands believe that in order to win the hearts and minds of customers, that they can out-market upstarts that gain loyalty through the great products and services they deliver.

There are only a handful of companies that can both make great products and advertising. We continually marvel at products and services from visionary companies like Apple, Google, Uber and others who gain our loyalty the product and service excellence; you can actually feel their dedication.

Enthusiasm drives employee engagement…and innovation

As much talk and attention innovation gets, the topic of employee engagement isn’t far behind. And with good reason, the latest report from Gallup concluded that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work. Damn!

But Gallup also points out that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by up to 202%, so there’s something we can learn from organizations with highly engaged employees.

It’s important that we must make a distinction here, for an engaged employee is not a satisfied employee. The point being that just because companies post pictures and videos of their employees having fun doesn’t mean that they are also satisfied with their work.

With that said, the following thread on Quora caught my attention because the person responding indicated why she was both engaged and satisfied with her work: Why are so many people content with just earning a salary and working 9-6 their entire adult life?

Innovation begins in the heart

How diluted has the word innovation become that, on top of confusing it with anything new, we rationalize why we should innovate.

Here are a few:

  • Let’s innovate so we can grow our business, otherwise we won’t!;
  • Let’s innovate so we can eek out a little more revenue from existing products and services;
  • Let’s innovate so we can develop new revenue streams, new business, new products & services;
  • Let’s innovate so we can be competitive with the rest of the world;
  • etc..

I’m sure you’ve heard some version of these before, and there are more like these. The above rationalizations are correct, but does it get you fired up? I’m sure it doesn’t.

An indicator that all this rationalization it doesn’t work to spur action is how many people still ask themselves: what’s the point?

Why do you want to “innovate”? Seriously, think about it…

Is it because you’re embraced common rationalizations followed by everyone else who can’t think for themselves? If you are, it sounds to me like you are playing not to lose.

Jeff Bezos: Failure can’t be separated from invention

Jeff Bezos - Caricature

Jeff Bezos – Caricature (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

How do you maximize people’s potential to drive innovation? As Bob Ross says, “We don’t make mistakes, only happy accidents”. So, let employees make happy accidents.

This is what happens at the world’s most innovative companies, one of which is Amazon.

There are many lessons we can learn from Jeff Bezos about maximizing people’s potential to drive innovation. For example, in his annual shareholder letter, Jeff Bezos closes the letter with some final tips on what lets the company continue to lead. One is that invention comes from everybody, not just senior leaders. A lot of those ideas are going to fail. That’s not a bad thing:

Are all innovators alike?

Are all innovators alike?

Nuances and details are lost in the sea of bullshit that is media and human irrationality, and an outcome is one of the most dangerous things humans do: build people up to more than they probably are.

Sure, the world needs heroes that carry a positive narrative that others can latch on to and get inspired to make a story of their own. My heroes are Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan. You have your own, for your own personal reasons.

And just like you and I have our own motivations for why we do something, what we do and how we do it; so do other potential innovators.

Truth is, that in a world where people are fitted into boxes, everyone has their own creative style. Some people are more systematic than others, and some of us are more intuitive. I believe that failing to understand this distinction between people is a huge innovation obstacle!