I see patterns. Fear not, this isn’t the introduction to a new M. Night Shyamalan movie but I do enjoy opportunities where I can connect the dots. Maybe it is the linear, logical, left –brain, former programmer in me but I relish when I find patterns that emerge across different disciplines, groups, organizations, etc. Five years ago I was part of a public policy group that mixed professionals from different worlds – for-profit, nonprofit, government, education, etc. The goal of the program was to advance public policy awareness and build public policy leadership. What I quickly recognized was that many of the same issues that were challenging me in the “for-profit innovation arena” were also plaguing these other groups. The challenges of funding, personal & organizational risk, managing expectations, and the fear or failure were consistent. There were some nuances but there was far more similarity that difference.
Have you ever looked around a room and thought to yourself, “This is my tribe!” I just had the good fortune of having that feeling last month when I attended my second Business Innovation Factory Summit, BIF for short. This is the 11th year that host Saul Kaplan (@skap5) and his cadre of BIF-zites have hosted the two-day summit in Providence, Rhode Island. Unlike most other conferences that host speakers with their canned presentation, BIF instead chooses to focus on unique storytellers. These storytellers share their ideas, their insights and their personal journey in an attempt to change the world in their own way.
On Sunday morning three high school students were anxiously waiting for their science experiment to be lifted into orbit on board a SpaceX rocket that was scheduled to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). The students had been waiting for this day for eight months. Eight months ago the same students from North Charleston, South Carolina had watched as their experiment was launched on board an Antares rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia. Just a few seconds after liftoff the rocket had exploded knocking one of the students off of his feet and giving off a tremendous blast of heat. This time would be different. Surely lightning wouldn’t strike twice?
We often hear about the importance of failure when driving new ideas or new businesses. We’re given advice to Fail Early, Fail Often, and Fail Cheap. While this well-meaning advice is accurate on the whole the reality is that failure in most organizations comes with pretty heavy consequences. Within mature organizations a failed initiative can have a dramatic impact for both the individual and the long term success of organization itself.
We are excited to announce a truly unique one day conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota – The Phoenix Rising Event! A day focused on strengthening our local community of entrepreneurs and innovators by addressing the fear, stigma, and shame of failure head on. Please mark your calendars and join us on Wednesday, May 20th, 2015.
Yesterday Target Corporation announced that it was closing its 133 Canadian stores. This announcement comes less than two years after they launched their first Canadian stores in March 2013. According to Target CEO Brian Cornell the decision came down to the fact that it would take six more years before they would see a profit on their Target Canada subsidiary.
Is your organization struggling to drive new innovation initiatives? The culprit may be that your employees are too afraid to fail. When talking with organizations I often hear the same refrain – we want our people to innovate but they won’t step forward to lead new innovation initiatives. Earlier this year I consulted with a company that was struggling with the same problem. The organization had been around for over 25 years and just a couple of years earlier a new CEO was brought in from Silicon Valley. The new CEO saw a lot of potential within the organization but too much of that potential was locked up behind department silos or trapped in the mindset of how things had always been done. He wanted his people to be free to innovate and drive the next wave of ideas and opportunity for the organization but after two years he wasn’t seeing the results he had hoped for.
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