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Oct 23, 2020

The word innovation is a much used banner of business leaders, academics and entrepreneurs. People like me and Lynn who work to leverage technology to solve big problems, and hopefully change the world for the better, pride ourselves on being called innovators. Even this podcast is guilty of using the word innovation as our title and brand. The irony behind his proudly used king of buzzwords is that, originally, "innovation," which is derived from the Latin word innovationem, wasn't a compliment. It was an accusation. It wasn’t first used as a noun of action – “a new idea, device, or method” – until the 16th century. Until then, “novators” were treated with suspicion. A novator was someone with deviant political or religious beliefs undermining the traditional power structure.

As we use the term today, innovation refers to the process of executing ideas which result in the creation of value for an organization and its customers. An innovative idea should be able to address a targeted need, issue, goal or objective that an organization or group has outlined.  The innovative idea should use new methods, original thoughts and creative thinking.  It must ultimately result in an advancement to a product, process or service.

I think though, that in order to get out of the “buzzword” way of thinking, the focus should shift away from the term itself to the development of skills and behaviors that are necessary to actually implement ideas.

61% of respondents participating in PwC’s Innovation Benchmark report say embracing an open innovation approach to generate new ideas is definitely something that is recognized as beneficial to any organization.  Yet, nearly three out of four global executives believe a lack of skills is an issue facing their industry. And 64 percent say this problem is restricting their ability to innovate. (GE Global Innovation Barometer)

The guest on this episode, Brant Cooper, understands that business and personal success is about building innovative skills and behaviors. He is an expert at teaching leaders how to find personal and economic growth through creating new value for fellow humans. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur and CEO of Moves the Needle. With over two decades of expertise helping companies bring innovative products to market, he blends agile, design thinking, and lean methodologies to ignite entrepreneurial action within large organizations. Brant leads a team of 4 to produce a $2M annual run rate. He has helped more than 60 enterprise clients build an “entrepreneurial spirit” in their organizations.