Impressed, Saddened and Motivated for the Future

Good Morning Innovation Leaders, Recently I was in Istanbul Turkey helping a very progressive European company reinvent itself so to be more relevant to emerging nations.   The specific task was ideas for reinventing a 100+ year old brand to make it meaningfully unique to the citizens of Russia, Turkey and China.

I was impressed and saddened by my week in Istanbul. 

I was impressed at how aggressive for innovation these international business leaders were.  Despite the fact that sales were growing 30 to 50% for the 100+ year old brand in some of these countries the leaders said it’s not good enough.  As one said, “we’re just growing because the market’s growing, we need to innovate - we need to think bigger.”

STOP AND REFLECT - what's it going to be like when business leaders in China, Russia, Turkey etc who have a passion for REAL growth - decide to grow their business by exporting to the USA! I was saddened when I compared this attitude versus the older USA entrepreneurs who I’d worked with the week before in the midwestern USA who admitted in a pre-survey that their companies were in decline.  However, they also didn’t see a need to innovate or an urgency to change their ways.

I was impressed at how this melting pot of people in Istanbul from seven countries were willing to collaborate with one another.  They were open to sharing their thinking, creating and debating ideas.

I was saddened at how the “old” USA Business Leaders were unwilling to change.  Instead of pushing for change - many defended their inactions.  They whined and made excuses -- excuses about their problems with foreign competitors, their problems with workers, their problems with government.

It's time for Real Leaders to Lead -- and this means...making the organizational commitment ....

1. Constancy of Purpose:  This means a longer term view --  a purpose that transcends the quarterly earnings report or the next election cycle.  A vision of what is the right thing for the organization and it's customers -- over the long h

aul. It means having an Innovation Pipeline that enables long term growth.
2. Meaningfully Unique:  This means setting a higher standard.  Setting a standard that the products and services your organization offers make a real difference that matters. And that are genuinely new to the world (monopoly not commodity)  In the case of companies it means having an offering that customers are willing to pay more money for - and that it is patentable

3. Systems Thinking:  This means looking at the whole system -- from suppliers to factory to customers and our customers customers.  It means vaporizing silos between company departments.  It means looking at problems as problems of systems as opposed to workers - ASSUMING the workers are willing.   Those that are not willing have an opportunity to work somewhere else  :).

The workers cannot make these three commitments - only the Leader can.  The workers cannot set long term purpose - they can't set higher standards- they can't cut across silos...

Think about it --- if you the leader want to leave a great legacy - you are going to have to get up, get going and lead a transformation.  A Transformation to an Entrepreneurial Culture of Never Ending Innovation.  A Transformation from a company that's growing at a few percent to one that's growing at 20% per year.

If you are ready - the Innovation Engineering Institute alliance - of NIST MEP Centers - University of Maine (and other Universities) and the Eureka! Ranch team are motivated to help you.

And yes - I am personally ready to help you too -- just email me at Doug Hall @ Doug Hall.com.  I have nothing more important to do.  (Note: I've added the spaces to that spam robots don't pick up the address as an email - as it's posted on the public internet).

Doug Hall