The End of the Beginning (for Eye Cubed U)

16 01 2014

And the Beginning of a New Journey!  Join me….

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The Innovation Safari: Hunt For ‘Big Game’ In Your Company!

18 09 2013

safari hunt

While tracking and hunting “wild game” is not for everyone, hunting down innovative solutions for one’s company is always considered a worthy pursuit.  One would never wander aimlessly around the back-country hoping to bump into one’s prize.  In the same respect, one would never target a random innovation as the next great strategic initiative for one’s company. Take a lesson from the Eye-Cubed hunters in pursuit of corporate greatness and maintain the position as “the hunter” rather than eventually becoming “the hunted.”

The hallways of your company set the path to follow and explore.  As you traverse the dangerous terrain in complete stealth mode, you must make your first strategic decision.  Should you slink through the caverns of operations looking for innovative efficiencies or brave the open plains of sales in search of innovative products or delivery methods?  There is no “wrong” move here since with the assistance of Eye-Cubed strategies, the “prize” awaits you in either environment.

Look closely and listen carefully.  What do you see?  What do you hear?  The opportunities lie camouflaged, lying in wait wherever the bottlenecks find themselves.  You can also focus within the mundane and senseless processes.  It is within those scenarios where the innovation opportunities infest the organization.  You can root them out from multiple sources if you wish.

In addition, when you make your way across the plentiful hunting ground, spend some time forging the many streams that abound.  Each stream (of income) has a flow all of its own.  Like a native tracker who knows the signs of his prey, so too does the hunter who analyzes the streams of income that flow through your company. Is the flow weak? Are the waters deep?  Is the river wide?  And most importantly, are there hidden streams yet uncovered that need excavation? Those new streams must be discovered and included within the Game Preserve. New waters are the lifeblood for current and future nourishment.

Once you’ve spotted the innovation which you desire to pursue, you need a plan so you can sneak up on the prize and launch an attack without spooking the elusive animal.  I suggest spending the time needed to gain the buy-in from the other hunters on your expedition.  It is unlikely that you will be successful seizing your prey on your own.  Together with your team, orchestrate your plan with the precision of a champion.  Remember that implementing the plan is as important as building the plan.  By drawing on the expertise of your team members, you will increase your chances of success.

One of the greatest pieces of advice for all hunters and teams is to avoid the pursuit while maintaining a feeling of desperation.  Give your team ample time to reach your goal and bag your big game.  Be prepared that your initial plan may be incomplete or totally ineffective. In many cases, you will need to revise your initial strategy or go back to the drawing board and devise an entirely new plan.

Think of the Eye-Cubed Innovation Safari like Teddy Roosevelt thought of his hunting prowess when he stated:

“No, I’m not a good shot, but I shoot often.”





How Can You “Build The Vision For Innovation” With Eye-Cubed U?

10 09 2013

Has Apple lost it’s innovative edge? 71%  of respondents to a Bloomberg Global Poll say “YES”

Has Microsoft been dethroned due to Steve Ballmer’s lack of focus on innovation? According to Harvard Business Review, there is no question.

These giants have been scrutinized for falling out of the lead.  It seems as if the prodigal innovative leaders of each company carried the ball that kept them at the top of their game.  Did anyone believe that Bill Gates or Steve Jobs could easily be replaced?  I think not.  While each of us may be a far cry from Bill or Steve, we have an obligation to bring our organizations forward in turbulent times.  We must survive and thrive.

great profile pic

Once you know that you need to be driving your company along the Eye-Cubed Super Highway towards innovation, it is time to take the many lessons of the past and design a plan to get there.

  1. Make sure you have the diversity in leadership personality to lead innovative change.  The value of differing thought processes and skills lead to success.
  2. Perform Corporate Hydrology exercises and deeply analyze your streams of income.  Make them wider, deeper, longer and if possible, find new ones.
  3. Analyze your past and present using Dendochronology tools and determine if your organization has been innovative enough over the years and remains innovative enough today. Add the rings of change to your growing tree and visualize the evolution of each corporate innovation.
  4. Scrutinize your innovations and make sure they benefit the customer. It is all about them and not about us.  Never lose sight of the end-game.  Without the consumer, we are all looking for new jobs.
  5. Develop a consistent plan to innovate every year, especially when times are good.  This prevents you having to “swing for the fences” on the final pitch.
  6. Follow a plan to choose which innovations to pursue by determining which ones to do in the short term, medium term and long term.  Create a process to measure each opportunity.
  7. Make sure your innovators know what to expect as they effectively bring about change.  The road to greatness for innovators is long and hard.  Give them support along the way.
  8. Follow effective plans to gain buy-in among your teams.  Your great idea will die on the vine without senior management support.
  9. Understand that the innovative path from point A to point B is not always straight.  Prepare for twists, turns and huge bumps in the road.
  10. Utilize collaborative techniques to optimize the innovative process.  Bring others in and enhance your idea.

It does not matter what industry you are in, Eye-Cubed companies survive because they evolve.  Peter Drucker, one of the greatest business minds in history aptly puts it “Core competencies are different for every organization..But every organization needs one core competence: innovation”.

It is time to consider engaging Eye-Cubed U as a speaker to facilitate the analysis of your innovative process within your organization or to address the innovative leaders attending your next conference.   Take advantage of the Eye-Cubed-U philosophy.   I look forward to discussing availability for your next corporate event or conference.

David J. Sussman, Esq. CLU

SVP PFP-Schmitt Sussman Enterprises, Inc.

Founder and President, Eye-Cubed-U, LLC

Building the Vision for Inspiration. Innovation. Implementation.

Cell Phone:  203-247-2104:  Email:  dsussman@pfpservices.com





Innovation “SCREWED” The Wine Industry! What will it do to yours?

14 08 2013

glasses_wine_against_sunset

The sun sets on a warm summer evening.  You slide the chilled bottle of Kim Crawford Souvignon Blanc out of the ice bucket.  The sound of the bottle against the ice and the water dripping from its sides fills your ears. With towel in hand, you wipe the excess condensation away, creating the most perfect, romantic moment.  And now for the big finish!  You lift the corkscrew and raise it to the mouth of the bottle.  You crave that sound of the initial release as the cork breaks free and offers you the delicious, crisp liquid within.

“WHAT?  NO CORK?  A SCREW CAP?  YIKES!  My moment is ruined.”

No way!  In fact, you are on your way to an incredible evening. What just happened?

You experienced innovation within the wine industry, a process that took 45 years to evolve.  The Stelvin Screw Cap, by Amcor,  was developed in the late 1960’s yet had not penetrated the wine industry until recently.  In fact, the adoption rate in New Zealand was at a mere 1% in 2001.  By 2004, 70% of the wine out of this area was sealed with the Stelvin Screw Cap.

There were two issues.

  1. There were practical issues regarding quality control and the impact screw caps have on the product.
  2. There were damaging consumer perceptions of screw caps and the negative impact they have on the experiential value of wine.

INNOVATION’S IMPACT ON QUALITY

All concerns posed are real.  In order to move the innovation forward, testing must take place.  The supporters and detractors of the innovation must clear the air with regard to the facts.  In the end, if there remain concerns (real or perceived), those can be addressed and debated.  The less impact the innovation has on the original quality, the more likely it will be adopted.  Furthermore, there are many instances when the innovation improves the original quality of a product or process.  These facts must be explored and communicated throughout the industry.

CONSUMER’S PERCEPTION OF INNOVATION

What does the consumer think about the innovation?  Unfortunately, the answer to this question guides the impact the innovation will have on changing the industry.  Without consumer adoption, the market needs may be significantly limited.  The innovation may need a PR machine with the “right” supporters publicly pushing adoption.  Educating the public is also a strategic initiative.  By creating a wave of positive perception, the wave of demand will follow.  Breaking the perception barrier, if it is a factor, is clearly the key to success.

Eye-Cubed lessons abound within this story.

  • The atmosphere was ripe for inspiration
  • The industry had matured enough to be inspired for a change.
  • The issues “for” or “against” the innovation were addressed.
  • The plan to break the perception barrier was implemented.

Never pick a grape prematurely.  Never serve wine before its time.  And never underestimate the determination of an Eye-Cubed leader who has been inspired to innovate and brave enough to implement.





Follow the Ye____ Br___ Ro__ To Collaborative Innovation

31 07 2013

follow-the-yellow-brick-road-5

When you put it all together, innovation is not a solitary endeavor.  You need collaboration.  But how do you do that?   Where does it fit in the process?  Most importantly…HOW DO YOU GET THERE?  The road is laid out in front of you today.  Simply put one foot in front of the other, and soon you will be walking towards Eye-Cubed greatness.  Do not trip along the way!

  1. Own the idea/innovation or solution.  This is the toughest step but necessary to get your innovative idea into the pipeline.  Use all of the resources available to you to evaluate the innovation, analyze the cost structure and strategize about the implementation.
  2. Develop the innovation as far as you can on your own.  Run with it.  Map out the plan.  Come up with as many obsticles as possible.  Overcome as many objections as you can foresee.  What technology will you need?  What resources are anticipated?  How long will the solution take to implement?
  3. Meet with individuals/ key execs (one on one) to get buy-in and gauge the reaction or objections to your idea. If you think about the solution day and night, you will have made the ‘Kool aide’ and have been drinking it all along.  Others need to be brought up to speed to where you are.  Tell the story with energy and conviction.  You need to sell the innovation.  Then do the hardest thing possible…. SHUT UP and listen.  Remind yourself that everyone has the power and capability to enhance your idea, uncover real concerns that can be overcome and add tremendous value to the innovative process.  This buy-in is a critical step in getting your innovation to the drawing board.  Do not come up short here.
  4. Listen to others for enhancements, add-ons that build on original thought.  Take all of the ideas and bring them forward with you to the next meeting.  Your innovation will take incredible shape and breathe a life of its own.  Momentum will build along the way as your team joins you on the Yellow Brick Road.
  5. Pull team together for a green-light thinking/brainstorm session.  Guide the discussion with strategic participation.  While everyone has participated individually, this is a time for the team to own the project.  Everyone will have an opportunity to build upon and enhance the idea further.  Avoid the common pitfall of doing this step too early.  You will end up with a watered-down version of your idea or concept.  What your company needs is the direction necessary to lead through the innovation process.
  6. Gain commitment from leadership to pursue innovation.  You need resources and time to execute the plan.  Agree on both and you are on your way!  Make sure you uncover the hard costs ($$$) needed as well as the softs costs (time and personnel from other departments within your company) that will result from the project.

Successful green light sessions have direction and a plan.  When you follow the Yellow Brick Road towards collaborative innovation, you already know the objections, enhancements, concerns and interest level.  You are way ahead of the game when you do the necessary work ahead of time!

Innovation needs direction, leadership and strategy.  To be considered an Eye-Cubed leader with the “Innovator” quality, you need to have the answers, not just the questions.  Everyone knows the questions.  To find the answers, simply Follow The Ye____ Br___ Ro__!





When Down To Your Final “Out”, Swing Like You Would In The First Inning!

9 04 2013

Innovating under pressure is harder than being randomly called out of the audience and asked to come on stage and “be funny”.  While anything is possible, it is unlikely that most folks can get it done.

Under Pressure

Preparation is the fuel for luck.  The same goes for innovation.  The more innovative your company is, the more innovations your company will uncover.  It is simple, Eye-Cubed companies succeed more often and sustain greatness for a longer period of time than those companies that reject the principles of inspiration, innovation and implementation.  Eye-Cubed qualities are not turned on or off.  They are infused in the fabric of the organization.  So once you have it, nurture it and develop it.  Give your team the greatest opportunity to widen, deepen and lengthen your streams of income.  More importantly, maintain the Eye-Cubed culture to find new streams of income.

But if your in the unfortunate position that you have one more shot at success and your next innovation either saves your company or you shut the doors, take a deep breath and stick to the Eye-Cubed plan.  While there is no doubt that your probability of success improves when you enter the process with positive energy, you cannot avoid the hurdles facing any of the innovations that came before yours and those that will come after.  There are no short cuts.

You need a great idea.  You need buy in.  You need to test, tweak and perfect.  You need to infuse it into your operations.  Time to read the posts in Eye-Cubed-U and hit that game winning home run, sink the final shot as time runs out, score the winning goal as time expires or chip in for an eagle on the 18th for the win.  It can be done.  It has been done.

Encourage inspiration.  Embrace innovation.  Execute Implementation.





Innovate From A Position of Strength!

2 04 2013

There is smooth sailing in your company.  You have a great product, your service is needed in your niche and your profitable.  So if it aint broke, then don’t fix it!  Right?

Unfortunately, this philosophy may be a sure sign of doom.   We can never take current success for granted because we know one thing for sure and that is true for all income streams.  They share the same fate if left alone.  They will eventually dry up.  Nothing last forever.  So what are you to do?

super-strength

Innovate when in a position of strength.

It is our roles as leaders to make our income streams wider, deeper or longer.  And even more important, we need to be capable of finding new streams of income.  There is no better time to dedicate your search than during good times.

There is a long timeline for successful innovation.  It may take years to develop a new idea, years to test it, years to gain the necessary buy-in for change and years to implement the innovation into the culture of your company.  What makes the process even more intense is the fact that more innovations fail along the way than are successful.  The odds are stacked against you.  To get one phenomenal innovation into the fabric of your company, you have to endure many ideas that fall by the wayside.

Therefore it is critical to continue to foster a culture of inspiration, innovation and implementation.  The Eye-Cubed atmosphere allows for a flow of results.  But it must be consciously maintained.  Decide on a specific budgetary item identified as “innovations” and invest annually in the process.  It takes time to build an appropriate pipeline to avoid skipping a year.

By maintaining the Eye-Cubed discipline of innovation, you and your organization have the greatest chance for sustained growth and flexibility on your way towards greatness.