The year Ben Franklin turned 59, he wrote a letter to his wife Deborah announcing that he was “retiring” during the year. He was retiring from the printing business, selling his half of his printing partnership with David Hall (no relation). Printing had generated Franklin’s wealth and had brought the world such publications a Poor Richard’s Almanac.
Dr. Franklin’s retirement from printing gave him space to spend more time as a philosopher on science and governments.
Voluntary retirement is hard. That’s because the “job” we are retiring from also often defines who we are. It is likely the source of our financial and psychological wealth. However - if we are to grow during our lifetime we have to retire many times. We need to let go of the comfortable and familiar and stretch ourselves into new worlds for ourselves.
I’ve found that every 10 years is about the right timing for retirement and reinvention. It’s not something that’s planned in my life. One day - often at the start of the year (Jan 1) or the middle of the year (July 1/4th) I wake up one day and decide it is now time to retire from this life journey and move to the next.
THINK - in your life - what have you been doing too long? Aren’t you bored? Aren’t you ready for a new challenge? Aren’t you ready to become a learner again?
January 17th of 2018 it’s time for me to announce MY RETIREMENT from consulting so to enable the next phase of myself and the Eureka! Ranch. For over 30 years my team and I at the Eureka! Ranch have offered consulting services to major corporations. During that time we’ve reinvented our consulting from - the caffeinated Eureka! Inventing days featured on DATELINE NBC - to the SCIENCE of Inventing 6X BIG IDEAS - to our current 10X more reliable and effective SYSTEM DRIVEN INNOVATION approach.
However, at the heart of it - we were CONSULTANTS. Websters defines Consulting as “providing professional or expert advice.” And that pretty much describes our work - providing ideas and advice to corporate executives on innovation.
While consulting has been our primary focus, over the last 10 years we’ve also spent time on ENABLING innovation (through training certifications & software). As time has gone on - our passion for enabling has grown - last year we were split 58% consulting / 42% enabling.
However, it is time to do LESS and OBSESS - on ENABLING INNOVATION BY EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, EVERYDAY. It’s time to leave consulting - if we are to fully achieve our potential - it’s critical that RETIRE from consulting and focus 100% of our energy on Enabling through training and software.
Why are we retiring what has been one of the most successful innovation consulting firms on earth for the last 30+ years?
1 Consulting doesn’t help us accomplish our mission - to “Change the world by enabling innovation by everyone, everywhere, everyday.” Enabling through certification and software is a force multiplier. Working with our partners at the University of Maine we’ve created an amazing INNOVATION ENGINEERING curriculum of 6 college courses - a complete field of study that we teach on and off campus. We have over 50 licensed partners around the world who are teaching it - from universities to consultancies. It’s time to turn that into 1,000 partners!
2 ENABLING through Training Certification & Software is more MEANINGFUL WORK. While I have loved giving ideas and advice to executives. It is much more rewarding to teach and enable others. Consulting advice comes and goes. Our Innovation Engineering training programs - IE Blue Belt, Silver Belt, Black Belt - transform the mindset and lives of individuals forever. Our Innovation Engineering Labs SOFTWARE tools enable individuals, teams or companies to do things they could never even imagine.
3 If we are to be the world’s GREATEST INNOVATION TEACHERS we need to WALK THE TALK. As such, I am proud to announce the expansion of Brain Brew Inventors - a Eureka! Ranch company where we USE AND ABUSE our training and tools. Brain Brew Inventor projects offer a torture test “laboratory” for our teaching - pushing the edges of technology, business model, rapid research and speed to market.
Interestingly, Brain Brew Inventors takes us back to our roots. You see, Eureka! Ranch Consulting was “born” from our work as hands on inventors. At P&G I lead a team of three that created and shipped 9 innovations in 12 months. Over the years, by special request, we have done a few of these “adventure team” efforts as we call them for P&G (yes even after I left they hired us to do them), Walt Disney, American Express, Minnesota Power, etc.
In 2018 - Brain Brew Inventors is open for business — with a focus on discovering how to help everyone activate smarter, faster and more innovative projects. We fund independent projects that interest us - plus do “contract collaboration” with corporate partners to invent, patent and accelerate to market “Big Ideas.” NOTE: When we do collaborations we have a set of “Rules of Engagement” that they have to agree to - so to ensure our collective success.
Currently, we have some amazing products on the market and more ready to ship that involve accelerating the aging of whiskey, bringing unique smoked tastes to foods, and amazing new cooking systems. If you are interested in a conversation about Brain Brew Inventors message me on LinkedIn or email DougHall@DougHall.com
I fully respect that there are many executives who prefer to have a consultant advise them. They are not interested in education - and don’t have the energy or courage for WOW Inventions.
Franklin wrote that it would take a year for him to wind things down. So too it will take us time to transition. However, when the calendar turns over a year from now - those executives who want advice instead of learning or big inventions - will have to find someone other than the Eureka! Ranch to work with.
Our mission - my mission will be to help those - at all levels in organization - who wish to learn how to think smarter, faster and more creatively - drive increased innovation speed and decreased risk.
It’s hard to stop - especially when you don’t have to. What you’ve been - what you do - has become easy for you as time has gone on. Letting go of what you are - can be to the pessimist - scary, unknown and uncertain….hmmmmm… the optimist’s view of that is simply… Letting go of what you are is exciting, thrilling and engaging!
Retiring isn’t the end the end of work. Rather, it’s the beginning of a new and improved edition.
So what are you waiting for?
If you’d like to join us on this journey - I am leading an Innovation Engineering Black Belt course January 16, 17, and 18th at the Eureka! Ranch in Cincinnati. We offer massive scholarships to individuals and small companies. Send me a message on LInkedIn or an email at dougHall@DougHall.com to learn more.