There is one week every September where I fully immerse myself in ideas, possibilities and new people. Last week I attended the Business Innovation Factory’s annual innovation conference. Here’s what I learned and was reminded of:
1. Show up more. (Or better, always.)
When we lay bare our vulnerabilities and dreams, we connect with people in rich ways. As author and venture capitalist Whitney Johnson said, “There are no regrets when you show up, and when you show up your dreams can find you. Dreaming is at the heart of disruptive innovation.”
2. Good questions start good ideas.
I’ve attended every BIF conference and have noticed that innovators ask good questions, and those questions get people thinking in new ways. One of my favorites this year were what educator Angela Maiers uses to challenge high school students as part of the Choose2Matter movement: What breaks your heart about the world? What can you
When life slows down during the summer I notice more, read more, and reflect on changing trends and emerging opportunities. Here are some of my random observations.
Chief Communications Officers/Chief Marketing Officers:
There are a lot of C-level titles in companies and one that is slowly fading away is the Chief Communications Officer. The duties of that position are increasingly being folded in under the Chief Marketing Officer. SAP, FedEx, IBM and other companies have all recently made this change. Much of marketing and communications is similar, particularly the shared goal of building the company’s reputation. But reputations need to be earned, not just communicated, and therein lies customer experience, product and service, front line employee engagement, customer service and a host of other factors that fall largely into the marketing bucket. There are still some special communications skills distinct and separate from marketing but do they warrant a C-level executive
12 Good Questions: For Growing at Work from Lois Kelly
Every once in a great while you hear a question that changes how you look at things, how you approach strategy, design, marketing, innovation, and maybe even your own life. Here’s one that’s rocking my thinking:
“Who do you want your customers* to become?”
In his book of the same name, MIT’s Michael Schrage says, “Successful innovators don’t just ask customers and clients to do something different, they ask them to become something different.”
Because customers are always changing, strategy shouldn’t focus on existing customers but on who tomorrow’s customers will — and should — be, and then designing our offers to help the customer become that person. To realize new attitudes, behaviors, values, and habits.
Facebook asks users to become more open about sharing their personal information.
Disney helps little girls become princesses. Amazon has asked people to become different kinds of shoppers.
Google has asked us to become impatient searchers who demand speed. Social
We can’t do it alone,
whether it’s changing things at work
or living through personal challenges.
I have often written about the need to find allies at work to accomplish change and stay positive.
While I know this to be true, I have been guilty in trying to go it alone. I am the fire-starter, the organizer, the person who gets things done. My husband has a similar mindset. So when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease two years ago, we found one of the most renown Parkinson’s neurologists, got the medication, read the books, and decided that we wouldn’t let Parkinson’s define our lives.
It was with great apprehension that we went to a five-day a “wellness retreat” with 57 other people with Parkinson’s and their care partners last week at Kripalu, the yoga and spiritual center in the hills of Western Massachusetts. Since the program was sponsored by the National