Host Tamara Kleinberg pulls out the top insights from her dozens of 2017 interviews with leading innovators. Innovation strategy that includes — embrace change, get emotional, question everything, seek conflict, experiment, learn the language. To close out the year, Tamara digs into all of these key innovation insights on Inside LaunchStreet.
[2:13] Tamara reflects back on some of the highlights from 2017.
[3:31] The first theme Tamara picked out from the 2017 podcasts was that it’s time to stop fearing change; it’s time to turn our mindset to embracing change. It’s not one big massive disruption; the change today is just a constant hit on micro disruption. We must embrace change as our most leverageable asset.
[6:50] The second theme Tamara reflects back on is emotions. Tamara shares a personal experience of how Lululemon’s recent change of shopping bag wording made a powerful emotional impact on her friend. We, as human beings, constantly make emotional decisions. Yet, when it comes to work, often we’re told to leave our emotions at the door. Clients and customers are shopping based on emotional experiences. When we strip away emotions, we strip away creativity and innovation.
[9:52] Tamara challenges listeners to pause and examine if you are stripping away emotions from the workplace. She believes that adding emotions will bring more innovation.
[11:42] Tamara discusses the importance of questioning EVERYTHING. Our ideas, our decisions, our rules, our outcomes. Value the people around you that are really good at questioning. Get introduced to the “yes, butters” and find out about how they benefit our ideas.
[14:57] Listen in to find out how conflict is good. What is the job of the tenth man mindset? Tamara shares a trick — the stage must be set for constructive conflict. Tamara explores constructive conflict in one of her on-demand training videos. Focus on debating ideas, not each other. Tamara challenges listeners to go out and engage in some conflict.
[18:05] Build a culture of experimentation, not presentation. Why are innovative ideas the first to get shut down on paper? Tamara shares how Tough Mudder’s initial business plan failure launched him into global domination of extreme sports. Experiment first. Find one customer, build one mock marketing page. This will help you see the brilliance, viability, and holes. When you present results, you have proof of your validity. Experimentation provides momentum for your ideas.
[23:40] The last theme Tamara shares is the importance of having a lot of ideas. In quantity, you’ll find quality. Learn how to speak the language of innovation. Once you have done your experiment, learn how to present ideas in a way that gets them on board.
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Shawn Madden is a serial entrepreneur in the social sports industry. He is the Founder, CEO, and Ambassador of Fun at Underdog Sports Leagues, League Lab Software, and FunCorp Parties and Events. He stopped by Inside LaunchStreet to talk to us about the power of fun in building cultures of trust, productivity, and innovation. We chat about what happens in teams without a foundation of friendship and why ping pong tables aren’t always a bad idea.
[1:44] Friend-building is creating a better social connection and connections in your workplace to have a better workplace culture. Shawn compares friend-building to a leaky window. Don’t let valuable productivity and engagement in communication leak out your windows. Get introduced to the Abe Lincoln friend.
[6:07] How does fun affect the bottom line? Would people rather get paid more or have fun at work? Find out how fun is a powerful recruiter.
[7:20] Einstein believed play was the biggest part of his creativity and ingenuity. A fun culture can help alleviate stress and help people to feel more like a team.
[8:44] Listen in to find out how fun helps with innovation and how it plays into the failure factor.
[10:50] Failure to create a fun culture can lead to “interview talk land.” How do you bring the fun to your teams? Will a foosball/ping pong table bring the fun? How many people are meeting for the first time at the foosball table? Are social creations being created?
[13:41] Tamara mentions that the magical piece of equipment — the ping pong table in the foyer — doesn’t do the work for you. Shawn believes that you must create activities and events that are purposeful.
[15:50] One of the biggest things we can do is to break the silos that already exists. Listen in to learn about the different types of silos and how to change these connections.
[17:33] Team building can combine companies to bring together more people. This helps aid in collaborations. Shawn shares a success story about a construction company out of Portland.
[19:18] Clients often call Shawn when they realize that they need help with party planning, or they need to do better to create a winning culture. Should the company party default to the HR department?
[22:09] The benefits of friend-building include unlocking a few quiet giants. It can help unlock people’s vulnerability and talents.
[24:23] How does Shawn help people overcome resistance and the feeling of this is just another day at the rodeo? Friend-building needs to be seen as a long-term investment. You’re investing in their social wellness.
[26:46] People don’t really know what interests their team has. The teams are disconnected; that’s the elephant in the room.
[28:56] Shawn suggests a good way to start getting to know your team better is by playing the icebreaker game, high/low/betcha didn’t know. You can ask questions like: What was the high of your day? What was the low of your day? Then, you offer something that your team doesn’t know about you. Most people just need a little nudge to open up about their life.
[31:25] Shawn offers a piece of advice to entrepreneurs. He advises to start very simply but never force friend-building. Look for things you’re already doing, and build on more frequent opportunities.
[33:11] Teams with a foundation of friendship have fewer sick days and increased productivity and engagement.
[34:29] Connect with Shawn and watch a video about the ‘friend wheel’ at Funcorp.
[35:00] Tamara challenges LaunchStreeters to pick one thing to increase friend-building. Try the high/low/betcha didn’t know game!
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George Couros is a leading educator in the area of innovative leadership, teaching, and learning and is the author of the book, The Innovator’s Mindset; Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity. On Inside LaunchStreet, we talked about the biggest barriers to innovation, why big institutions are so resistant to change and how to become the ripple effect of innovation inside your organization.
[1:11] George defines the components of an innovator’s mindset. You must believe in yourself, learn over time and do something to apply the learning.
[2:44] Why is there often a gap between the generation of the idea and the bringing the idea to fruition?
[4:08] Tamara reminds LaunchStreeters that it is important to take learning, filter it, and apply it to your world. She also cautions that if you’re compliant, you’re often moving backward.
[6:59] George shares why we often have a myopic view in regard to our own work.
[9:34] Learn why innovation is becoming more important to education now more than ever. Why is school no longer the place of learning?
[13:13] Tamara believes that kids are changing and that access to a phone or computer is access to knowledge. She shares that tomorrow’s marketplace is not about test performance. Is the education world reluctant to these changes?
[14:43] George shares a quote by A.J. Juliani, “The job of schools is not to ‘prepare’ kids for something; it’s to prepare them for anything.”
[16:15] Tamara challenges LaunchStreeters to be ready to adapt and change. Risk taking and change are often uncomfortable. We need to be ready to move from a comfortable state to a pursuit that is better.
[20:47] Tamara states that education is a critical factor in our society. What happens if education doesn’t innovate? George talks about the downfall of Blockbuster and the rising of Netflix, He tells that in Canada, the taxis had a moratorium and they had a critical choice. They could have either improved things or continue to complain about Uber. Find out the outcome of the taxi moratorium and how things have changed.
[23:39] George shares some of his characteristics of the innovator’s mindset in his book, The Innovator’s Mindset; Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity. He first shares the power of being empathetic. George quotes Ewan McIntosh,”We don’t want our kids to be problem solvers, we want them to be problem finders.” It’s important that kids are critical and pose a solution.
[25:54] Next, he shares the characteristic of resilience. Everyone’s situation is unique. We all need to find ways to work through things. Reflection is also a big part of this. We need to look back in order to move forward.
[30:09] How do you pattern interrupt someone to get them to realize what they are doing isn’t working? George shares an example from the airline industry. When the executives routine was disrupted, they focused on innovation.
[34:52] Problems in education translate into similar problems in the business world.
[38:44] George shares that his passion around innovation in education began eight years ago when his superintendent started him on a project called, The Division Principle of Innovation and Learning. He began by exploring what innovation in education actually meant.
[42:09] Tamara highlights that the leaders have to be innovative in order to experience the ripple effect of innovation. When ideas are challenged, growth occurs.
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Drew Boyd is a 30-year innovation veteran and the co-author of the book, Inside The Box: A Proven System of Creativity For Breakthrough Results. He stopped by Inside LaunchStreet to talk about why going outside the box sets you up for failure, how to innovate against your constraints, and the five patterns of innovation anyone can do.
[1:22] Drew defines creativity as the cognitive process, the stuff that happens in your head. Innovation is what you do with the ideas to generate them into the marketplace.
[2:04] Tamara poses the question, “Are you good at either creativity OR innovation? Which is better?”
[3:12] Drew debunks the creative genius myth.
[5:19] Get introduced to the ‘ruined product’ exercise. Listen in as Drew discusses this powerful innovation strategy that focuses on the cognitive process of ‘fixivness.”
[8:25] The innovation magic happens when innovators prove they are able to work backwards and confront cognitive bias.
[10:17] Tamara challenges Launchstreeters to work through the ruined product exercise. Drew encourages that every company incorporate innovation as a routine skill that effects everyone.
[12:01] Get introduced to J. P. Guilford's famous 9-dot puzzle that started the notion of thinking outside the box. Why is the notion of thinking outside the box misleading?
[15:51] Drew and Tamara groupthink why brainstorming is not an effective innovation strategy. Drew believes that unconstrained brainstorming doesn’t work and that the mind slips onto something it knows. Constraints actually free up the mind to create. Constraints are real and the ideas need to be real.
]21:21] Drew’s book, Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity for Breakthrough Results, introduces five patterns to guide the brain to crazy configurations. These innovation strategies will help you remain inside the box.
[23:29] The five patterns are identified and examples are given: 1. Subtraction: remove an essential element. 2. Multiplication: make a copy of a product but change it in some way. 3. Task Unification: giving a component an additional job. 4. Division: divide and rearrange in some way. 5: Attribute of dependency: one thing changes as something else changes.
[26:56] Uber and AirBnB were founded using the task unification technique. (Take something that you currently use and use it for something else). Drew shares that a product that has been invented using the five patterns has a much higher chance of success. Listen in to find out why.
[30:17] Drew shares how one company used the division technique on hoses and developed a non-kinking, heated hose. Drew said, “The trick is to build boundaries around the problem, then apply a few of the patterns.”
[34:52] What challenges are facing businesses today? How can innovation help to overcome these challenges?
[36:40] Drew believes that companies are making three major mistakes around innovation. First, a chief officer should not be assigned to innovate. Second, Companies are failing to see innovation as a skill. (Not investing staff in innovation.) Third: Companies must recognize there is not one lone genius. Companies need a cross-functional team.
[38:32] Action learning is a strategy used by the military. Learn how the four steps of action learning complete the failure mantra, and which step is the golden ticket for success.
[41:00] You need to embrace failure but you must embrace the other three parts too. Reflection is a key piece of life.
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