What role should innovation play in the development of a new venture?
Tuesday March 16, 2021
What role should innovation play in the development of a new venture?
By Bill Van Eron
Conscious Innovation & Biz Relevance
Headwaters Marketing & innovation
There is plenty of wisdom regarding the longtime focus on product or service innovation. Yet, far greater opportunities abound that require a new mindset and skills. Mid to large organizations struggle to innovate, largely because most try to isolate it as an outdated management approach, as evident for decades, versus a more conscious view of many key inter-connected principles, impacts and benefits. They also struggle to integrate multiple technologies to benefit humanity, versus the threat to replace us. I see why more opportunities are missed, than gained, as it is rare to see innovation catalyze a system-worthy solution. But why not integrate creative minds to shape greater tech solutions? Corporations that fail to innovate, often buy innovative startups, or merge with others while inadvertently killing the culture that made them innovative. Most large firms have talent recruitment as a high priority, while most talent wants an entrepreneurial culture, thus large firms fall off the list.
Human-centric systems thinking factors in relevance to reveal abundant growth opportunities as key to synthesize and shape it with a more conscious view of the whole. I’ll share a peek at how conscious innovation is being applied today and why it is such a huge benefit more of us see as highly relevant. Innovation, like the word awesome, is overused & short-sighted.
Whether you are wanting to shape a new venture as a startup, or as two or more organizations, or as a mid to large organization (Heck, even government) here are a few proven principles most overlook:
- How considerate is your venture as a true win-win-win value proposition? Doing the right thing has long been my values compass, to greater relevance & higher revenues. Never failed once. Your internal & external stakeholders with 100% transparency determine your worthiness or not. So ventures seen as above the norms and that add value, connect values in your brand, and that shape higher, shared relevance are the new breed of brands that matter.
- If your venture includes buying another company, don’t make the mistake most make in treating it as a conquest. I worked through multiple HP company acquisitions, and every time I suggested a cultural sharing session, all but one was avoided, at both HP and the other company’s expense. When two or more cultures merge as a shared and enabling value, all involved embrace the new we, as a purpose all feel inclusive to. I also see a pattern where companies owned by employees fail to engage them in strategic actions and when they are sold, the employees are often the last to benefit. Greed comes in many forms.
- How is your ability to truly reflect and embrace growing undercurrents that reshape what it takes to achieve success? Embrace this as a requirement. Champion values & logic in advance of an NPI or new program, as that success helps you to add a unique value, much as I did when I was in HP, yet sadly not after I left it. Management may resist what they may not understand. When I asked my R&D team how confident they were about a new products relevance, they said very high. I said we are solving a problem that had not yet had press coverage. Our top 15 editors said: “just because we are from HP, does not mean they trust everything we tell them”. They agreed trust is crucial, so we invited editors to attend customer focus groups to hear firsthand, what we hear. That was unprecedented according to our trade editors, more accustomed to PR hacks than principles champions as I know their trust was our top priority. As one of many examples, you too can shape a higher value using conscious insights versus assuming outcomes, as what is earned is always higher. This approach to trust beyond the norms, earned global cover stories and pre-conditioned a global market.
When we then announced the world’s easiest to use oscilloscope, that earned massive coverage as well. We had been losing to Tek 80% of the time, yet after this, we won 90% of the time as evidence that marketing without a foundation of trust & relevance, is simply just an intrusion. I liked that Tek offered to let me lead their marketing, which I declined per my HP loyalty. I do wish HP would have given our team reflective raises as they all deserved, but that is a short-sighting common to engineering cultures. The shift I see is driven by principles that too few still fail to invest to synthesize. Yet change follows success, so while this has existed under most firm’s radar, greater success follows greater shared relevance by being in the first wave to act on this. Doing this for HP 1990 to 2000 proved as a preview for a more compelling future now. I regret leaving HP. While all tech firms struggle shaping higher relevance, the enlightenment a true values compass, design & systems thinking provides to stakeholders & growth is truly awesome and deserving greater attention now.
- Following the crowd can be OK when it is connected to a value or values that matter. Being a laggard used to be somewhat accepted. Now, being a laggard to integrating important principles into your organization, across all key stakeholders to earn higher shared relevance will be far more credible in the first wave. As a conscious designer & systems thinker who knows what to look for, I inherited the new intuition. Most leaders preferred intuition, even when analytics dominated the landscape. They are right conceptually, yet our intuition is only as good as we keep and test its relevance. It’s rare that stakeholders know what to ask for, how and when. But an observant person, who knows what to look for, takes skills that raise that firms brand relevance beyond all norms.
- Conscious Innovation embodies greater integration of the principles, in evidence, often to the benefit of far more people than traditional efforts. I have my own goals to help tech firms and others to see the whole and shift from a passive position to a more catalytic value-creation resource for the full stakeholder ecosystem, versus just as a singular profit driven solution too few benefit from. Knowing what to look for, when I was recruited recently to help, what I soon saw as great conscious innovation examples, I am helping them to earn the highest relevance-fueled growth, as still the most powerful path to success. The area of focus is our environment, something that’s been painfully & greedily ignored the last 4 years and more where violations continued anyway.
- What we do that makes it more conscious, thus more effective? For decades we witnessed harmful drilling and waste creation that continued well beyond the obvious impact on our environment, clean air & water, and how so many species are on the edge of extinction. We certainly would follow. That is the definition of carelessness as there is no higher priority. When greed impedes progress, all violators should be held accountable to the cost to repair our planetary health. That said, I love how solution exemplifies the perfect example of a more conscious innovation.
- We turn all solid waste into a variety of energy forms. Others do the same, not as completely or as sensitive to the full system in play.
- We also create clean irrigation water as a vital addition to many communities who suffer water shortages. Our state is one of them, so hoping to start here in Q1, 2021.
- We optionally convert irrigation water and carbon credits, along with space age, yet lower cost construction technology to help communities to grow healthier, toxin-free crops year-round, locally.
- Our solution scales up from business, like hospitals who need better medical waste solutions, to small towns on up to cities, so the solution fits the need, versus one size solutions that don’t fit all.
- What does our solution cost and eliminate? We designed it so it pays for itself thus eliminating the need to tax people for waste management or even recycling, expenses that cost many states billions each year. So now other priorities like seniors or homeless people can be addressed. We eliminate the need for landfills while also helping landfill owners who mine out all buried rubbish, a way to restore their landfill acreage to a toxin-free healthy option. I like the idea of packaging a system option so tax savings, converted land and our space age, lower cost construction can also be used to help the homeless as a program, and help seniors align nationally to a lowered tax structure so seniors in all states who paid taxes and supported schools and others most of their lives, now gain a more consistent home tax benefit, so growth does not drive those that supported it, out of town as costs rise.
- We also hope to invest in other innovators where they can make a community difference. We will create & train people for jobs, create balance between growth & quality of life, education & purposes we create consciously so others can support & add value too.
- There is so much more, yet the path to more agile conscious innovation is so exciting, I wish I were 30 years younger. But I am happy to help a few ready to embrace relevance as key to success and simply help them to align or help them to innovate with more conscious ecosystem relevance. Jump in, the water is fine.
It’s long overdue, yet a shift from a chain of command to a more conscious value chain is inevitable. Why wait? All can contribute to, evaluate, challenge and improve. Now, that is inclusion at its best. There is a lot to learn to apply it effectively, yet its natural appeal generates a shared value.