How can you inspire innovators who go against the grain? Premium
What characteristics do you share with innovative entrepreneurs? The cliché of the eternal teenager from Silicon Valley clad in jeans and sneakers is over. The most innovative entrepreneurs have contrarianism, determination and ability to create value in common, not clothing! These traits are also common to many high-performing managers. How do you find that for inspiration?
1. Be contrarian: Innovative entrepreneurs don’t have to be creative geniuses or experts but they do have to stand out from the crowd. Most value creation is produced at the level of what Isenberg calls “minnovation”: small and unexpected twists on existing ideas, often in the form of constant, sometimes counter-intuitive, improvements to business models. In fact, experts are often not in the best position to be innovative: a novice’s fresh perspective can help to overcome barriers and discover opportunities that experts only see as worthless, impossible and stupid!
2. Accept (and overcome!) adversity: To innovate, you have to move mountains. Innovative projects are seldom welcomed with open arms because they require investment and new resources, potentially take market share from other areas of your company, and can radically change the business and its habits. Which qualities do you need to overcome these difficulties? You need cast-iron conviction, the ability to choose people who have multiple skills, and the ability to sell your innovation (even to customers who don’t yet realize they need it).
3. Put your energy where it creates value: Many ideas die simply because their originators are not able to implement their vision. The challenge lies in moving beyond the idea stage to transform it into a real opportunity. Opportunity presents itself at the intersection of market needs, potential value creation, and available resources. Without any one of these three ingredients, you don’t stand a chance of moving from the idea stage to a profitable project.
Business leader testimony
What do companies such as P&G, Wal-Mart, and Ryanair have in common? Their ability to innovate is not based necessarily on radical innovation but on small, ongoing adjustments to their business models, products, and services. Such a strategy requires a company culture that promotes anticonformism and risk-taking among all employees.
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How can you inspire innovators who go against the grain?
Based on Worthless, Impossible and Stupid: How Contrarian Entrepreneurs Create and Capture Extraordinary Value by Daniel Isenberg (Harvard Business Press, July 2013), “Find Out if You’re a Scale-Up Entrepreneur with This Two-Minute Test” by Daniel Isenberg (Harvard Business Review, May 2013), Serial Innovators: How individuals create and deliver breakthrough innovations in mature firms by Abbie Griffin, Raymond Price and Bruce Vojak (Stanford Business Books, May 2012) and an Interview with Sandi Cesko, co-founder of Studio Moderna, October 2013.
Business Digest nº 240, october 2013.
Watch the video :
Daniel Isenberg On The Value Of Contrarian Entrepreneurs
Daniel Isenberg deconstructs the myths about entrepreneurs, especially that creating and capturing an incredible level of value does not necessarily require the multiplication of disruptive innovations.