Tag Archives

3 Articles

Every Company Must Be Innovative: Is Yours?

Posted by Editor on
Every Company Must Be Innovative: Is Yours?

zidle banner-new-2

According to Steve Jobs, “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”
Dr Yoram Solomon, founder of Large Scale Creativity, will tell us how to unlock innovation on the individual and organizational level on this week’s podcast of The Business Edge

He discusses how to create an environment for creativity and innovation that costs little and leads to big results. His firm belief, like Steve Jobs, is that everyone has good ideas to increase productivity and profitability; the challenge is to tap into the brainpower of your people and turn their ideas into reality.

Listen and learn the answers to these questions:
Is creativity the same as innovation or are they different? Why are start-ups more innovative than mature companies? What role does culture play in fostering or restricting innovation? How does trust affect innovation? How does innovation affect trust?  Who’s responsible for coming up with and implementing great ideas? Is it management’s fault for not accepting great ideas or is it something else?

Are You Thinking Outside The Box? BY MARCIA ZIDLE

Posted by Editor on
Are You Thinking Outside The Box? BY MARCIA ZIDLE

think-outside-the-box (1)

What would your business’s “greatest hits” be if it went under tomorrow? Or what games are played here? Or if you worked in a big glass fishbowl, what might you do differently?

I’ve used these thought-provoking questions, during team building, business and strategic planning as well as leadership development to get people thinking in new directions. Here are three “shake-em up” questions that have generated great discussion and creative solutions.

1. What drives our best customer’s crazy and what makes them exceedingly happy?
This goes beyond the cliché of being customer focused. It energizes people to talk about what they really know about your customer’s needs and expectations. A follow up question could be how can we help our best customers get rid of the thing that drives him crazy and supply the things that will bring a smile to his face? And it can lead to the development of new products and services that will benefit the customer and the company as well. So shake the ideas tree.

2. What is the most likely reason someone would want to join our company and why someone would leave it?
This probes deeper issues about what’s attractive and also unattractive about the company and its culture. It can set off fireworks about hiring and firing polices; about good and bad managers; about wages and benefits and a whole slew of other talent management issues as employee motivation, engagement and development. So don’t ask this question unless you want to hear the good and the bad and also are willing to do something about it.

If someone burst into your meeting and shouted “I’ve got good news and bad news,” what do you think those two pieces of news might be?

This question can open up a discussion of how things are really going. I have found that people are under the illusion if we don’t talk about it, it’ll get better or hopefully go away. But generally it doesn’t. It gets worse. So it’s better to find out there are, for example, defects that are being ignored or that the deadline will not be met – and deal with it promptly. You then can stop production until the defect is corrected rather than ship it out and hope the customer won’t notice. Or you can talk with the customer  about extending the deadline now rather than beg forgiveness later.

Smart Moves Tip:
All companies need fresh ways to approach problems and opportunities. Or else they will stagnate and perhaps, die. So set aside time at your next board, staff, team meeting or retreat to think outside the box by asking “shake-em up” questions. It may generate some controversy, but that’s OK. It’s better to get an issue out in the open where it can be addressed rather than hidden where it can lead to petty disagreement, employee disengagement and worst of all, customer dissatisfaction.


Marcia Zidle, the smart moves executive coach and speaker, is host of The Business Edge on the Voice America Business Network. The show features the Smart Growth System providing small to medium sized businesses the proper foundation for expansion: a Growth Agenda that becomes their roadmap, a Growth Engine that attracts and engages the best talent and Growth Leaders that make it happen. Marcia, the CEO of Leaders At All Levels, brings street smarts to help businesses get on the right track and not get sidetracked on their path to higher performance and profitability.


The Rise of Alternative Car Companies Is Transforming the Auto Industry BY NANCY LIN

Posted by Editor on
The Rise of Alternative Car Companies Is Transforming the Auto Industry BY NANCY LIN



Tesla, known for high-performance electric cars, turned profitable in the first quarter of this year after 10 years in business. Its Model S performance sedan had surpassed Mercedes S-Class and BMW 7-series in sales during the same period.

Just a decade ago, it would have been hard to imagine a successful new entrant into the U.S. auto industry, which had not added any new companies, probably since the early 20th century.  Earlier this month, Tesla announced its plan to dramatically expand its supercharger network, making it possible for the car owners to drive across the country without power shortage. This could lead to increasing adoption of electric cars.

Another new auto company also made history this year. Local Motors launched the world’s first car designed based on a crowdsourcing model. John Rogers Jr, President and CEO of the company, explained the company’s business model during an interview on the  Business Reinvention show this week. He predicts that it can be profitable making small quantity of cars. Local Motors is trying to reinvent auto manufacturing and the business model. It hopes to reduce design cost to $3 million and cut the lead time to 18 months. The company taps into a virtual community of designers and engineers. Consumers can post ideas on their website and vote to determine which idea gets developed. Rogers estimates the break-even point at 2,000 cars for each design. This would be a huge change, compared to billions of dollars that big car companies now spend on car designs, which usually take about 3 years.

Not only is the company challenging the way cars are designed and built, it is also betting on a new way of selling the car. The company plans to build 2 additional microfactories in the U.S. Instead of building the factories where labor is cheap, the company is actually looking for locations where the communities of car enthusiasts are.  It may sound counter-intuitive but if you take a close look at their business model, it makes a lot of sense. Orders can be placed online, a new way pioneered by eBay Motors and is gaining popularity.

Currently, the company only has a microfactory in Phoenix. It uses parts and chips already available on the market to help reduce the production cost. It acts as show room or dealership as well as a manufacturing site. Many enthusiasts will drive hours to the microfactory to take a look at the car.

The collaborative approach could also be a draw for the Millennial generation who would otherwise prefer to rent than to own a car. According to the Federal Highway Administration, only 43% of potential drivers 19 years old and younger had drivers’ licenses in 2008, compared with 64.4 percent in 1998, The crowdsourcing  model could re-engage the young drivers and get them excited about having their own cars.

Jay Rogers Jr. worked for a medical start-up in China after college. He served in the Marine Corps for 7 years before going to Harvard Business School. He co-founded Local Motors in 2007. Now he is focusing on transforming the auto industry. When asked if he likes to live dangerously and make a big impact in the world, he answered without hesitation, “That’s exactly right!”

So will Local Motors be the next Tesla? He tweeted back, “No, we will innovate 5 times faster at 100 times less cost.”

Listen to the entire interview for more insights.


About the Guest Blogger

Nancy Lin is Host and Producer for Business Reinvention. The show features innovative companies and trends that have the potential to transform industries and reinvent business models. She brings to her show a strong understanding of business having worked for Yahoo, DHL, Johnson & Johnson and Pepsi in the US and international markets and driven strong growth with innovative business strategies. She is also an executive coach, a business consultant and the founder of Change Agent SF, which helps clients transform the way they look at their businesses and leadership. Follow Nancy on Twitter @BizReinvention for more innovation news.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)

Follow by Email