Tag Archives: Innovation

Doing what everyone else is doing is the wrong strategy

What do high-flying startups know about growth that others don’t?

According to new research on startup growth, there are ten things high-flying startups do differently to grow quickly. One of them, and it isn’t a surprise, is they change the game by playing by a different set of rules:

None of these breakout companies did it the same way that the incumbents grew in their vertical or type of business. They all picked their own path, often leaving people wondering what they were thinking. HubSpot charged for upfront onboarding, which people thought was a mistake. Turns out it’s a huge piece of their massive retention success.

Yelp stayed away from paying for reviews and wooing food critics, instead focusing 100% on the community above all else. In a landscape where Citysearch and other behemoths catered to businesses and paid for reviews, this seemed almost foolish at the time.

Pretty straightforward, but unfortunately “changing the game” is still very much an anomaly. Why? Because herd mentality is the default setting for most.

One point I strongly make to startups is they need to have a point of view, a set of opinions about what they do; what are they about. Frankly, this is very much a maverick approach to strategy, one where you want to be the only one who does what you do and thus make competition irrelevant.

 

If you mimic the herd, you'll regress to the mean

Good strategy is about making decisions, about choosing WHAT NOT TO DO as much as WHAT TO DO. Making this decision is critical for high-growth startups, and for yours too.

Bottom line: If you mimic the herd, you’ll regress to the mean. Aim to be the only one, not just another one.

To innovate how you innovate…

Usually, every business that starts goes through some hard times and then eventually succeeds. But, also, most eventually fail because they’ve failed to change with the times; they stagnate. Well, a few months ago I wrote a post where I laid out five ways you can avoid stagnation and thus innovate how you innovate.

What a culture of innovation looks like

Creating the conditions for innovation to happen is at the top of the agenda for any leader, but in many organizations, innovation is more of a word used between sentences than an outcome. In other organizations, innovation happens in spite of outdated beliefs and structures because someone choose to not play by the rules. In innovative organizations, on the other hand, innovation is business-as-usual; it is a mindset.

Which begs the question, what does a culture of innovation look like?

Top storytelling tips for innovators and entrepreneurs

A Story Without Love is not worth tellingAs a well known Disney fanatic, I get asked about storytelling quite a bit. And, my number one and only tip is this: be authentic.

It doesn’t seem like a lot, but many people are afraid to be authentic. A great way to express authenticity through story is by talking about a time or situation when you were the best version of yourself (success); and likewise when you were not (learned from failure).

Why? Because it tells us two things that any person can empathize with: your success and your lessons from failure.

In essence, there is a transformation. Those are stories worth telling because they shaped who you are :).

How do you measure an innovation ecosystem?

how do you measure an innovation ecosytem?Here’s a recap from our #innochat session on Measuring an innovation ecosystem. Below are the questions we discussed with my own and answers as well as responses from other participants.

Want to read the whole chat? Great! You can find the complete transcript of the chat in PDF.

18 questions for crystallizing strategy

strategy is a guide to behaviorDid I ever tell you I love questions? I ask them constantly, and collect them intensely. For the purpose of culture, leadership, strategy and innovation, there are many types of questions that if used correctly can help you see a challenge from different perspectives that may lead to developing unique solutions; the types that can be revolutionary.