Innovation Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®
Disruption

Lead the Disruption or Become Disrupted

In my lifetime there have been many companies that have been crushed by disruption. The irony is that they could have actually led the disruption. The fact that they were crushed by other companies was because they chose not to lead. They chose to either ignore it or fear it. And leading with fear is a bad strategy. These three businesses are prime examples of what not to do.

Sears

Sears was once America’s largest retailer. They began as a mail order catalog company using the postal service to deliver virtually anything, to anyone, almost anywhere, and it dominated its competition for many, many decades.  Sears was Amazon more than 100 years before Amazon.

In its day, Sears was the 800-pound gorilla that could, and did, decimate smaller retailers.  Unfortunately, Sears was so entrenched in their brick and mortar stores that when the world-wide web was introduced in 1991, they did not have the foresight to lead the way and make the transition.

In fact, just the opposite happened.  Their reaction was to actually shut down their catalog two years later in 1993.  Amazon.com was founded the very next year in 1994.

Kodak

A friend of mine who retired from Kodak many years ago told me that he felt there were few corporate blunders as staggering as Kodak’s decision to ignore the digital camera market. This is especially true since Kodak invented the digital camera in 1973, and it went on to be issued a patent for digital cameras in 1978.

Why, then, would the company that invented the digital camera not pursue this incredible opportunity? The answer, to them, was obvious. They did not want to interfere with their highly lucrative film processing business, and they did not believe that people would be interested in looking at photos on a computer. Wrong on both counts.

Blockbuster

When the winds of change swept through the video industry, Blockbuster was more of a brick than a weather vane.

In 2000, Netflix approached Blockbuster with a request for Blockbuster to buy them out for roughly $50 million dollars. Blockbuster turned them down more than once.

Jim Keyes, the CEO of Blockbuster said in 2008: “Neither Redbox nor Netflix are even on the radar screen in terms of competition.” By the time Blockbuster saw the success of the new Netflix model, they made several attempts to copy it.  However, they were too late.

Today, Blockbuster is bankrupt, and Netflix is worth over $100 billion.

I hate change. I really do.

People like the comfort and contentment that comes with a successful status quo. The problem is that a successful status quo is the present, built upon a strong past. Unfortunately, the present is not etched in stone for the future. Whether I like it or not — the future involves change, and the change is, by nature, disruptive.

Social scientists refer to this as the “threshold model of collective behavior.” For decades I have called this “concept recognition model.” When I was young, people didn’t think they needed answering machines — until enough people thought they did, and then they were everywhere, used by virtually everyone.  Later, people didn’t see the need, nor the value, for fax machines. Until enough people did — and then everyone had one.

In the 90’s I met many people that had no intention of ever using email.  Now, I can count on one hand the number of people I know who don’t have an email address — and they are all over 70.

Before people adopt a new concept, early adopters embrace the new process or equipment.  Later the resistant population joins in, and, under the right conditions, there is a viral cascade of change. Changing the world is always disruptive.

The only thing I hate more than change is failure.

Failure is what happens when you’re left in the dust when the change crushes our “present.” Today, more than ever, we need to choose to change before we are forced to change. By the time a business is forced to change, it is probably too late.

In today’s changing world, we will either manage the status quo which will eventually result in failure, or we can lead the disruption which is likely to lead to the reinvention of our business, and potentially the industry as a whole. So you must decide: be disrupted, or be the disruption.  I vote to be the disruption.

Brigadier General

What a Brigadier General Taught Me About Business

When I was a young man just starting my doctoral degree at USC, I had the opportunity to study under a retired Brigadier General from the army. In retrospect, he was one of the best professors that I had during my tenure. In that course, he told me a story that has stayed with me for many decades.

The General told me this story in the early 1980’s. He said that when he was a young first lieutenant (which was decades before that) he was stationed in Britain. As a lieutenent, he was tasked to do a “time and motion study” of a British artillery division. My professor went to the unit and carefully watched as the men prepared to fire the guns. He said he watched as they prepared the weapons to fire. When they were ready, one man marched confidently to the left and stood at attention with his hands behind his back and nodded to the artillery men. They then, proceeded to fire the guns.

The general (then a lieutenant), asked the man why he marched to the left and stood at attention before they fired the weapons? The soldier told him that was the way he was trained to do the procedure. The lieutenant asked the soldier who trained him. The soldier replied that the sergeant trained him. Consequently, the lieutenant went to the sergeant and asked him why he trained the men to march to the left and hold their hands behind their back before they motioned for the weapons to be fired? The sergeant replied that the master sergeant had trained him to do it that way. So, the lieutenant went to the master sergeant and asked him why he trained the sergeants to train the men to fire the weapons that way. The master sergeant said “that’s the way we’ve always done it in this man’s army sir.” He had no further insight as to why it was done that way.

The leaky bucket…

So, my professor (then a lieutenant), went off to produce his report regarding the process. One evening he decided to take a break and went to a local pub frequented by many military personnel. While there, he found himself sitting next to a very elderly retired sergeant major from the army.

Now you have to understand that I met the retired general in the early 1980’s and he spoke to this sergeant major when he was a very young first lieutenant. He said this retired soldier was involved in the military back in the old “cavalry” days.

My professor told the retired soldier that he was very perplexed by this artillery process and he asked him if he had any idea why the men would march to the left and hold their hands behind their back. When my professor asked his question, the old sergeant major said, “why lad… they’re holding the horses of course.”

The general, now my professor, said that it had been decades since the military had to hold the horses before the men fired the guns. Yet, there were still men holding these non-existent horses! He also had another great story about communication.

networking scorecard

The Networking Scorecard Mobile App

Network on the Go with the “Networking Like a Pro” Networking Scorecard Mobile App

It’s easy to feel like networking is a waste of time —but that just means you’re doing it wrong. In this new edition of “Networking Like a Pro”, networking experts Dr. Ivan Misner and Brian Hilliard reveal key networking techniques to help you grow your business. Now, the power of networking smarter comes to your smartphone.

In this comprehensive app, your mobile device now becomes your networking tool. You will discover strategies that go beyond collecting business cards and turn networking into a profitable resource for your business. Dive into this app based on the book. Discover how the most successful networkers leverage their brand, expertise, and customers to achieve greatness in life.

In the book, “Networking Like a Pro”, you will learn how to attract the right people with a carefully crafted “Unique Selling Proposition” to gain your most valuable customers with referrals from networking partners. Plus, discover how to make your best first impression with the “12 x 12 x 12 Rule”. Learn how to decide which networking events and activities will best fit your needs. Finally, build and expand your network with a calculated follow-up strategy. Finally, learn to avoid behaviors that damage your reputation and push potential partners away.

Features of this amazing app:

  • Track networking activities like thank-you notes, meetings, calls, events, and referrals
  • Earn points to track your networking skill level and performance
  • View weekly networking activities at-a-glance
  • Set up a customized networking calendar
  • Access resources, worksheets and templates from Dr. Misner, Brian Hilliard, BNI, and Asentiv designed to help you get the most out of your network.
  • And most importantly, measure if you are Networking Like a Pro!

In business, you achieve what you measure. Now you can take all of the “Networking Like a Pro” action items from the book with you on the go. The Networking Scorecard™ App provides you with a mobile solution to measuring your networking efforts. If you’re ready to build connections that turn relationships into profitable customers, this mobile app is for you!

Download the free app now

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.networking.scoreboard

https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/the-networking-scorecard/id1318616340?mt=8

monorail

Technology and My 8-Year-Old Self

It was a crowded day at the Toronto airport as I was walking to my gate recently. On the way, I heard a soft but steady swooshing sound coming up behind me. I looked up to see a red monorail drive on by above me. I immediately had a monumental flashback to my first visit to Disneyland circa 1964. I was roughly 8 years old and was in awe of all the amazing things that I witnessed, most of which was in of the Tomorrowland exhibits.

monorail

The Disney monorail was the first daily operating monorail in the United States. In my flashback to my early visit to the park, I remembered wondering if something like this would ever be commonplace. It was amazing to see it operating in Toronto and going right through the building much like it did in Tomorrowland many years ago.

As I stood there watching the monorail go on by, I realized that during that same visit (or one soon after), I also spent time gawking at the first ‘push button’ telephones and first ‘touch screen’ computer monitor (it had 9 sections and all you could do was play tic tac toe). The push button phones transitioned into daily use in the following decade but the touch screen technology took many more years to become commonplace.

It makes me want to go back to Disneyland to see what the future holds for the next generation. What technology did you first see at a Disney Park or World Fair? I’d love to hear about your experience.

The Book of Doing and Being

In this video, filmed during a recent TLC (Transformational Leadership Council) Conference, I talk to my good friend, award-winning motion picture producer and writer Barnet Bain, about his newly-released book, The Book of Doing and Being.

In the video, Barnet talks about how creativity has a significant place in our businesses and our relationships, but that the ‘really big game’ is in innovation.  He says, “Innovation is to creativity what e-mail is to snail mail.”  Watch the video now to find out how innovative thinking is available to absolutely all of us, despite the fact that very few of us are trained to see the world in terms of innovative responses as opposed to creative responses.

Barnet has devoted his life and career to manifesting his creativity in a way that not only gives his life purpose but brings meaning and hope to the lives of others.  With this book, he reveals to us how we can do the very same thing.  Put simply, if you want your life to count in ways you’ve previously only dreamed of, you owe it to yourself to read The Book of Doing and Being.

So what do you think of Barnet’s ideas in the video?  If you’ve already read the book, what are your thoughts on it?  Please leave your comments in the forum below.  Thanks!

 

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