“Innovation is simple. Study the future. Do what you need to get there as a winner. Do it again!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
People always tend to ask me for my ‘secrets’ for innovation and future success. I’m not a big fan of trying to find an easy way out of hard work, but if there is to be one, it’s found in today’s quote.
It’s also to be found by taking apart and rethinking the very concept of innovation, which is a part of that secret.
I’m in Buffalo, New York today, leading off a CEO session for a global food products company. The CEO has invited me in to set the tone at a 3 day corporate leadership event for his 100+ top executives, the first time the group is meeting in person since 2019. I’ll be setting the stage, so to speak, with an overview of the trends that will impact the business – the ones already underway pre-Covid, new ones that have appeared, and how the pandemic has shifted the overall pace of change.
I’ll then spend some more time exploring the concept of innovation, and will do so in the context of my main innovation mantra: “what can I do to help to run the business better, and grow the business, but most importantly, transform the business.”
With that idea in your mind, here’s the transcript of a video clip from the McKay CEO Forums a few years back in which I took a similar innovation journey on stage:
“You understand and you appreciate, everything is subjected to change.
We are in for a period of absolutely dramatic change.
To think about what we know so far, we know we aren’t prepared for a fastpaced future, but we know that everything is going to change. And to deal with that, we need to be in a mindset in which we can cope and comprehend the necessity to innovate in the context of the future.
I know we talk a lot about innovation, it’s one of these weird and mystical words, everybody’s wondering, “What the heck can I do in terms of who I am and my role and my responsibility?”
And I find there is so much confusion about innovation, because a lot of folks hear the word innovation, and they think it’s for someone like the late Steve Jobs, somebody who designs really cool technology, which changes the world. It’s difficult for us to comprehend, “Well, how can I be responsible for innovation?”
To me, innovation is much more than just new product development. Some years ago, I appeared on a CNBC show called, The Business of Innovation with Maria Bartiromo.
I thought it was gonna be a nice interview show, they’d sit me down on a couch, “Jim, tell me about some of your clients, their secrets of innovation success.”
It turned into one of these weird American talk shows where everybody’s screaming at everybody else, it was really bizarre!
But I managed to get my two cents words in.
And my two cents were that, to me, innovation is not just the development of new products, it is an organization where the leadership team and everybody in the organization are continually asking themselves three questions, “What can I do to run this business better? What can I do to grow this business? And what can I do to transform this business?“
Think about the context of accelerating trends, and the reality of these three issues. What can I do to run this business better? There’s no shortage of opportunities to take costs out of the business to become more efficient, become more streamlined to run the business better.
How can I reinvent myself on a continual basis to grow the business? How can I utilize advanced technologies to reach out to my customers to draw in new revenue? How can I innovate in the context of new product development, and new services?
But most important, how do I transform my business? If I know my business model is not going to survive, if I know it’s going to be subjected to absolutely dramatic change, how do I innovate in the context of the trends which are coming at me with furious speed to turn that into an opportunity.
The CNBC interview? An extract right here!
So the secret to innovation success? It’s simple!