Mindset Interview - Pete Woodhouse - Digital Innovation

Pete Woodhouse, CTO at Sibly, critiques the term 'digital transformation', advocating instead for 'digital innovation' as a more precise place to start when seeking to define next steps for your organization To watch the full video follow this link to our blog www.mirorpartners.com

When Culture Falls Down - The C-Suite Leads the Way Back Up

While our corporate Learning and Development Teams are actively working hard to infuse purpose, engagement and meaning into our daily work lives they are fighting an incredibly hard battle.  The modern work world is a “broken and antiquated system,” according to Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of Unfinished Business: Men Women Work Family. “For many Americans, life has become all competition all the time,” Slaughter wrote in a September New York Times opinion piece, “A Toxic Work World.” “Workers across the socioeconomic spectrum … have stories about toiling 12- to 16-hour days (often without overtime pay) and experiencing anxiety attacks and exhaustion. Hours spent at work that fill us with anxiety rather than fulfillment chip away at confidence, optimism gratitude and courage. When these elements drain away our attention and productivity and competence follow.

Office Politics

In addition to the always-on pace, office politics creates additional friction. A study of 400 U.S. workers from staffing firm Robert Half International says that nearly 60 percent of workers believe that involvement in office politics is somewhat necessary to get ahead. "There is at least ‘some degree of politics at play’ in every organization", Robert Half International’s Chairman and CEO Max Messmer reports. 

Without clarity around a collective purpose, every meeting, project, discussion along the way feels reckless and pointless. And as our engagement at work degenerates, our overall motivation begins to dip. Humans are hardwired for connection, however when there is a lack of trust, our focus degenerates toward fear, and we defend our turf and become polarized around things that could otherwise be easily resolved. Stress is cumulative and spills over into our personal lives. When we bring stress home it essentially multiplies with negatively charged conversations that unintentionally impact our most important relationships.

Manifesto for a better way

While the statistics for corporate dysfunction are staggering, I would like to suggest that an Interpersonal Revolution is at hand and we can change how we think, act and treat each other at work and at home with simple steps.  If we do in fact make an effort to change a few small things, we’re more likely to see better innovation, increased productivity, creativity, joy and purpose flow freely out of corporate America. So what’s this simple recipe? 

The answer has recently been uncovered by a group of neuroscientists. Our amygdala has some amazing functions including, emotion, survival, and memory. When this tiny part of our brain receives 'belonging' signals that make a person feel connected, safe, cared for and optimistic about their future, they play at a higher level. Let's call it flow. This level of flow and belonging occurs most often when the leaders of an organization have spent the time to create a highly personalized environment that involves human connection. The positive outcome of human connection is that each individual on the team has a greater willingness to stay and endure the challenge in front of them and ultimately give themselves fully to building a future. All of this occurs because our amygdala is satisfied that there's no reason to fight or run. Instead, we work together, powerfully

The point here is that Corporate America can’t change until its leadership does. And this journey begins with getting clear about what gets us out of bed in the morning. 

Clarity is the child of careful thought and mindful experimentation.

- Brendon Burchard

When we set out to become a leader the way isn’t paved or certain. This often bumpy road is what develops and cultivates character and the resilience necessary to keep going and transform into the person who can handle the task, build a culture and inspire others to achieve the goal. High Performance coach, Brendon Burchard, who has spent over a decade observing High Performers and their habits will attest to that while excellent leaders do many things right, falling down in the midst of success happens when they lose sight of their purpose. This could be because of distraction in the market, a competitor or some other existential crisis that has them and their leadership team pinned down. When the C-Suite loses their purpose, their company culture falters and sometimes fails. Alternately, the essential habit of seeking clarity is the thing that keeps leaders engaged, growing and fulfilled over the long haul. The fundamental questions that get executives to clarity include: Who am I? (What do I value, what are my strengths and weaknesses) What are my goals? What are my dreams? These are essential questions for clarifying their vision and determining if there is congruence between their personal vision and the one they’ve bought and sold for their organization. Unfortunately the majority of leaders haven’t articulated any of these questions in writing. Clarity begins with written language that defines our values and answers the questions in living color much like architectural plans instruct the specifics of a beautiful home or building.  Often times, getting clarity on what we really want brings unexpected joy because getting clear reveals the answers that have been hidden and are now liberated with language.  Common sense right? Try it and see. Joy is just around the corner.

Power of Team

So what's the secret to building a team? How do we know which team members are necessary to ensure a winning combination? Trust and social safety are the top of the list. Surprising I know. Isn't it intelligence, functional knowledge and creativity? Apparently not. Gregg Popovich, coach to the San Antonio Spurs has a habit of creating winning streaks by building relationships and modeling a family unit on his team. 'Pop' does this by making sure the team belongs to each other, that they believe they are special because of the high standards he has set for them and that everyone on the team can meet those standards. All of these messages send a clear signal to the brain "This is a safe place to give your full effort." Daniel Coyle, in his book "The Culture Code" outlines this recipe in 3 steps. Popovich's communication consists of belonging cues:

  1. Personal up-close connection (body language, attention and behavior that translates I care about you   
  2. Performance feedback that translates as, "we have high standards"   
  3. A big picture perspective. A larger conversation that includes politics, history, food, wine and underscores the message: we are more than basketball, we are family. 

Every sales executive will say that meetings are almost always more productive in person. Why is that true? It turns out that human productivity is directly linked to proximity and the frequency of meaningful communication that sends the message, "you are safe here." During the Cold War, Thomas Allen was asked to determine what made the most productive teams successful when solving very difficult engineering feats for the government. During the study Allen found that the most accurate indicator of a team's success had everything to do with the proximity of the their desks and the frequency of communication. That's it. Productivity and creativity grow when the team feels like they belong to each other and connect through communication. Another study also looked for which leaders manage to replicate this kind of culture. The pattern is, these leaders create a culture where they personally express gratitude to others regularly and are also of service to others first. This practice and intention spreads throughout a group quickly and permeates how they work together, think about and trust each other. In the book "Legacy" the New Zealand All Blacks have become world renown for building team through social ritual, discipline and among many other things a humble posture of service by 'sweeping the sheds'. The ritual is that even after winning a championship game the team will return to the locker room and clean up trash, sweep the floors and put everything in its place before celebrating. This practice grounds the players, builds a heart of service, and reminds them that glory begins with the simple stuff: humility, discipline, family, trust and social safety. The basics win again.

Why Kindergartners are better at teaming than MBAs

Why do certain groups add up to the greater sum of their parts, while others add up to be less?  Several years ago, Peter Skillman held a competition to find out why.  The exercise included a number of teams some MBAs and some kindergartners.  The task was to construct the highest physical structure with the following:

  • twenty pieces of uncooked spaghetti
  • one yard of transparent tape
  • one yard of string
  • one marshmallow

The MBAs strategized and talked thoughtfully, and the kindergartners' dove right in.  Guess who won the teaming contest? The 5-year-olds.  Why?  The MBAs spent their time figuring out where they fit, who's in charge, and if it was ok to challenge the rules.  The kindergartners were standing shoulder to shoulder trying a bunch of stuff together.  The difference was not in brain power, but in the interaction and how they function as an entity.  When we experiment, take risks, offer help and are completely unconcerned with our status, we get better outcomes.  

While we can't reverse the clock and become kindergartners again, are there ways that we can create an environment that encourages innovation and better teamwork?

The answer has recently been uncovered by a group of neuroscientists.  Our amygdala has some amazing functions including, emotion, survival, and memory.  When this tiny part of our brain receives 'belonging' signals to answer the questions:   Are we connected?  Do we share a future? Are we safe? The person feels connected, safe, cared for and optimistic about their future.  When experiencing a highly personalized process involving human connection, our willingness to stay and endure the challenge in front of us, ultimately giving our whole selves to building a future, this is because our amygdala is satisfied that there's no reason to fight or run.   Instead, we work together, powerfully.  

The Mindset - Janina Lieser

The third installment in our monthly series on Mindset and Digital Transformation, Janina Lieser, Chief Collaboration Officer at Pivotus Ventures, shares strategy on staying competitive with the rise of FinTech & user-centered banking.

Changing the bank, embracing the digital landscape

If FinTech will drive the economy by 2020, how must traditional leadership change?  

The economic shift in the world is centered around going digital and Financial Services is in a unique position to lead and profit for several reasons.  First, the necessity of innovation is clear and palpable because retail banking has a finite timeline in a virtual race against time.  To beat the clock, they are expected to embrace a pioneering and often disruptive posture toward innovation.  'Changing the bank' begins with a mindset that includes adopting a high-performance attitude.   This includes a culture that thrives under a meritocracy, highlights creativity, demands courage and expects that influence and collaboration are the absolute standard.  Brendon Burchard, in his most recent book 'High Performance Habits', has distilled over a decade of data to illustrate how and why High Performers have what it takes to innovate.  His top 6 indicators are the gold standard for the 21st Century High Performance Executive.  With Clarity, Energy, Necessity, Productivity, Influence and Courage -  innovation is not only possible, it's probable.  All of these take center stage as retail banking risks and wins their customers' hearts back.  Second, to win hearts and minds, 'changing the bank' requires shifting time, attention, focus and budget toward building a customer engagement platform that gathers data, increases relevancy, and pivots the bank into a posture of continual enhancement.  It's the creation of a robust platform that gives a bank the latitude to interact with their customer on a daily basis, serve additional value-add offerings, adapt according to their data, and demonstrate that they are also a part of contributing something stellar to the disruption process.  Agile development is fitting here, as I am sure we can all agree that as humans we learn best in an incremental manner.  Agility in learning,  adjusting our attitudes, adopting a new language or pivoting a culture, all require that we're steadily and almost scientifically studying the wisdom and data at hand.  When it's simplified we get the best results when we think clearly, lean in together and trust. 

At MiROR Partners we find the best innovative senior executives to ensure you win the innovation game. Contact us to learn more at summer@mirorpartners.com.

THE MINDSET - with FRED THIEL

The second in our monthly series on Mindset and Digital Transformation, Fred Thiel, Chairman & Chief Advisor, Thiel Advisors, Inc., describes the new strategic gold standard expectations for C-Suite and Board Leaders.

THE MINDSET - with JIM GREENE

The first of our monthly series on Mindset and Digital Transformation, Jim Greene, Founder of Sky D Ventures, addresses 3 key steps to becoming a 21st century enterprise leader.

Innovation Simplified

In the crowded technology market, senior executives are saddled with the task of leading disruptive innovation. Despite the extensive studies conducted to methodize innovation’s best practices and a growing number of innovation centers within the Silicon Valley, there is no one repeatable process that guarantees disruptive innovation. Large strategic companies have poured billions of dollars into private innovation centers and admit that they’ve fallen short of lofty expectations. So maybe innovation doesn’t spring from university pedigrees, professional training and cerebral thinking. Rather, perhaps it is more about how a team interacts and functions? The posture that seems to be winning the innovation game doesn’t come packaged in corporate cultural behaviors we all know so well. Studies point to the need for a greater deal of emphasis on being human, vulnerable and humble.   To make the leap from vulnerability to innovation, let’s break it down into 3 steps.

 1) Vulnerability + Risk = Trust

Human capital is messy and it distracts from bottom line objectives when there is an absence of trust.  As a result, corporate fiefdoms pop up and disagreements around strategy create divisions in thinking. Conversely, open vulnerability about not having all the answers among team members ensures a culture of trust. While vulnerability requires risk and enduring the unknown of how others might react, trust is the reward for stepping out onto a limb.

 2) Trust + Inspiration = Innovation

When humans truly trust each other, there are no dumb ideas. More often, in this scenario we come up with better ideas when we are operating together collectively and collaboratively. Many of the world’s greatest inventions were initially thought to be useless and quickly dismissed by some incredibly smart critics.  Our team members however, push us to reconsider something that might seem like a bad idea at a first blush.  John Von Neumann, for example, who was a mathematician, physicist, inventor, computer scientist, and polymath, was certain in 1949 that “We have reached the limits of what is possible with computers.” Being wrong isn’t an indictment on your intellect or ability to function in your role. Instead, it can become a posture of being ready to admit you need to lean on others and are more willing to take a leap when you're flanked by smart colleagues. Not knowing all the answers sets a team up to truly depend on each other. In the book ‘Tribal Leadership’ by Dave Logan and Halee Fischer, they describe the most highly integrated and innovative teams as being characterized by a “sense of innocent wonderment” and because of it, are able to consistently create disruptive technologies. What is most interesting is “[This level] of Tribal Company produces things that shake their industry…they say, "Let's do it because it's possible and we think it will change the world." Innovation starts with how we see and treat each other, and with that foundation, we begin to see the world and its possibilities differently.

 3) Operationalizing Trust Based Innovation

Vulnerability must start with the CEO and C-Suite executives and then progress further down into the organization. Brene Brown, author of ‘Daring Greatly’ observes, “ My corporate talks almost always focus on inspired leadership or creativity and innovation…. [and] ultimately if we want to reignite innovation and passion, we have to re-humanize work.”   If this is the goal, we must start with the opportunities we have for incremental change. And as we add new leaders to a team who will own the mission and vision and embrace vulnerability, the outcome is greater internal cohesion, innovation and creativity. These executives will ultimately attract teams who are willing to risk and operate in the same way. This kind of positive traction becomes the catalyst for a magnetic culture. With leadership fully behind the idea, the stakes are a higher, direct reports are infused with a greater sense of passion for their roles, and have the freedom to ask questions, fail, try again and then successfully innovate.

At MiROR Partners we align teams and find the best executives to insure you win the innovation game.

Innovation Practically Speaking

 

Corporate America and Start up America want to stay on top, ahead of the curve and disrupting their respective industries.   There are many philosophical discussions happening in parallel; but the practical application? That’s missing in many environments. So how do we shoehorn innovation into our 14-hour days and operationalize this practically?  

15 minute stand up meetings regularly go over. We multi-task during webinars, and physically attend conferences but leave early because email needs us right away. Our schedules are crammed full but there is little time to invent those things that lead to better profit margins. And innovation sounds impossible when we’re steeped in bad habits.  Let’s put our inner cynic aside to explore the simple methods that get us to better results. After all, we’ve seen the ROI on innovation and agree that it's worth pursuing. 

The two components to operationalize innovation include: 1) The right human capital to dream big and execute ('the will') and 2) the day-to-day disciplines that execute the plan that leads to our goal ('the way').  To get from an idea to reality, let’s look at this 2 step process.

 1) Innovative Leadership = Authenticity

It starts with the right team. And to accomplish the practical we must assess if your leadership is ready to take on the challenge of leading an innovative crew of disrupters because it’s a messy process at best.  In Jim Collins book, ‘Good to Great’ he states “to build a successful organization and team you must get the right people on the bus and in the right seats.’

Culturally, it’s been proven that the most innovative environments begin with a posture that failure is expected when trying for the audacious. The more tolerant a company is of failure the more lucrative long-term profitability is. Google X’s Head of Innovation, Astro Teller, has the title, ‘Captain of Moonshots’ because of the innovative attempts he is responsible for shouldering. Jon Gertner, Editor for Fast Company reported that during his 2015 interview with the Google X leader, “At first, it seems Teller's point is that the tolerance for setbacks at Google X is uncharacteristically high—a situation helped along by his bosses' zeal for the work being done there and by [Google's] extraordinary, almost ungodly, profitability. But this is actually just part of the story. There happens to be a slack line—a low tightrope—slung between trees outside the Google X offices. After the meeting, the three men walked outside, took off their shoes, and gave the line a go for 20 minutes. [Patrick] Pichette is quite good at walking back and forth; [Sergey] Brin slightly less so; Teller not at all. But they all took turns balancing on the rope, falling frequently, and getting back on. The slack line is groin-high. 'It looked like a fail video from YouTube,' Teller says. And that's really his message here. 'When these guys are willing to fall, groan, and get up—and they're in their socks?' He leans back and pauses, as if to say: This is the essence of Google X. When the leadership can fail in full view, 'that gives everyone permission to be more like that.'

Cultivating a leadership team that is relentless in their pursuit of innovation starts with executives who are willing to admit their failures on their journey to success.  When teams are patted on the back for coming to the conclusion quickly that they’ve made a mistake and then pursue a process to gather insights from it, they are more likely to rinse and repeat and find success in their iterative tries. Brene Brown, author of ‘Daring Greatly’ intimated during one of her Ted Talks that TED is actually a ‘failure forum’. Everyone who is there has experienced great failure before becoming a success. Brown submits, “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.”

The How:
Tech companies have long been known for their foosball and Ping-Pong tables. Others might lean in the direction of a softball team. This can be a great leveler of title stratifications within an organization. It’s most effective if your senior executives participate and are not particularly stellar at the game of choice. This is not to say – fake it, but rather pick something where everyone is forced to learn from others. This will also benefit your brain because you’re learning something completely new and how well you played soccer last night will not hurt your performance at work, unless of course, you’ve torn your ACL. Executives who submit themselves to some harmless ribbing will give everyone a reason to smile, cause morale to rise, and inspire a culture of belonging.  It is this that employees need in order to bring their very best to work and play. The making of a tribe is not just putting numbers on a sales board. It’s risking together and having fun at it. Let’s remember the long-term intent is innovation and positive results may come in various packages.  Consider that you're giving your team goalie who is experiencing logistics nightmares in shipping a regular opportunity to casually submit the problem and her idea to solve it.  Recruit the receptionist who has sworn off all sports to bring water and organize a cheering section and you'll have a more connected person handling your corporate first impression.  

No time for this? Think of the alternative. Not so pretty.

2) Compass and Map = Daily Disciplines
Once a board of directors and CEO commit to cultivating an innovation friendly environment, you’ll quickly identify which of your executive cabinet is on board. To speed up the process significantly, there is a set of diagnostic tests designed to identify who will take risks and lean into the discomfort of skippering something that pushes the innovation envelope.  

So let’s say the voyage toward innovation is made up of three parts. A) Benchmarking and historical analytics are used to measure the ‘now’ (we are here). B) The path to our ‘destination’ (where we want to go) is charted by our goal or vision. C) The journey itself is achieved through simple compass and map skills. That is, by pointing ourselves in the desired direction we’ll get there if we continually review the analytics and measure our coordinates against our ultimate goal. Veteran sailors will tell you that high winds and unexpected obstacles are always an issue during a voyage.  It's the continuous measurement that keeps us on track despite maritime or business set-backs. 

Analytics for Grown Ups.
In IDC’s recent study called, “What can we learn from Big Data Innovators” they feature a proprietary “Big Data Maturity Model” that benchmarks organizations’ competence across five dimensions: people, process, technology, data, and intent. Based on this model, IDC looked at the most mature organizations and identified what benefits they achieved from analytics. [IDC calls] these organizations the “Big Data Innovators” and looked at what they do differently from other respondents. These differences become useful lessons around increasing Big Data analytics maturity and driving success. Using this criteria, IDC found that organizations can transform and innovate iteratively when they drive their analytics disciplines through the maturity model steps: 1) Ad Hoc 2) Opportunistic 3) Repeatable 4) Managed and 5) Optimized. The authors write, “Big Data has a “snowball” effect: as organizations use it successfully, whether to drive improvements and efficiencies, or to effectively analyze and predict new products and markets, success will drive further success.” Identifying where a company is within the maturity model is important in terms of how they use of data. But is the executive team's commitment to essential analytics and disciplines that drives the assessment of the daily, quarterly and annual progress.  This combination of rigor and discipline extends the scope of our view to two parts 1) hard numbers and 2) the softer side of things.

How to:
By Numbers: The first part is to leverage the Business Intelligence (BI) Analytics you’ve got at your fingertips. If you haven’t invested there yet, take the time to review your options. Second, benchmark your executive team from a few specific angles.  What strengths are present among your leaders and where is your Achilles heel? Assume that weaknesses and blind spots exist in the organization. You may find that your highly strategic team lacks the art of execution. Or, while your analytical executive team members are mitigating risk beautifully they may be also slowing things down with heavy methodologies.  iTalent has a terrific solution for this in their Change Management suite of products and services.  It’s not only data driven but graphically capable of illustrating the core strengths that can make or break your innovative leadership team by measuring the preferred inclination of how individuals contribute to your company.

Softer Skills: Communicate the ultimate goal or vision via Storytelling. Can your team clearly articulate your vision and own where you’re going? Keep your message simple, passionate and encapsulated in 3 sentences or less. Ben Zoldan, CEO of Storyleaders and author of 'What Great Salespeople Do" helps leaders clearly find and articulate their corporate ‘why’ so that the team, clients and outsiders are captivated.  In his book, Ben underscores that the best leaders think and communicate from the inside out starting with the why.  He agrees with Simon Sinek's Golden Circle where "Sinek points out that [approaching] a story starts with the limbic (emotional brain) and goes outward to the neocortex (the thinking brain)".   This is critical to making our our corporate 'why' resonate with our audience deeply.  Zoldan encourages his readers and conference attendees to determine and define "The inside or 'the why' as a belief.  Before you build a story, [you must identify] what is the point?......The bottomline is that if you don't have a point, you don't have a story."   So much of our day is filled with meaningless content. By offering a greater goal that's bigger than ourselves, teams find purpose and meaning in belonging to an intentionally passionate corporate culture. 

All of this requires the right team, an intentional strategy, daily disciplines of analytics, and the character to take action when the team is off course. Success never happens overnight. Instead, incremental change that intentionally creates an environment that’s living on the edge is magnetic. This attracts people who are passionate about measurable outcomes and who yearn to dare at the disruptive.  It is also this tribe that craves a safe place to try things on, fail -
try again and fly.

At MiROR Partners we find the best innovative senior executives to insure you win the innovation game. 

Courageous Innovation = ROI

If innovation is the means by which we can most forcefully move quarterly earnings and ROI forward, we must first find our courage. 

Fear is an instinct that is intended to keep us safe, however in the midst of innovation, it's dangerous.  Sometimes fear is legitimate but most often it is a con artist whispering lies to keep us small.   So how do we become the innovative beings we were made to be?  Stare fear in the face and resolve to move forward with conviction. Let’s look at how best to build the courage to carry us through the process of innovation including hard work, best practices and measurable results. For those who want to live and work courageously, keep reading. 

To make the leap from creativity to ROI, let’s break it down into 4 steps.

 

1) Vulnerability is the Starting Line

Innovation begins with a decision of ‘I’m going to do this, and I’m committed to the process no matter the outcome.’ Our best work is usually accomplished when hanging it all out. It’s also where we feel most alive, and afraid. Brene Brown, author of ‘Daring Greatly’ in a recent interview stated, “There is no creativity without vulnerability. It’s having the guts to show up and be seen when there is no guarantee on the outcome.” Vulnerability is necessary for creativity because our most creative selves are at the core of who we are. Creative innovation starts with a humble posture of admitting you’ve got half the answer or maybe the wrong answer entirely. It might be hitting send on the slide deck that outlines an idea we think could be great but may also be met with a great deal of criticism.

2) Do the Work Inspite of Fear

Execution must drive us in spite of fear. It’s continuous courageous action that builds resilience and focus in us.  And while it’s possible that our best efforts may fail and we might be criticized or marginalized, innovation requires that we continue forward with some serious work to refine our idea. Tim Ridout, Huffington Post contributor writes, “Creativity involves trying new things that may seem eccentric, challenge our assumptions, or push the limits of our inherited norms. Creative endeavors require an uninhibited flow of thought and imagination, followed by meticulous processing and refinement. Eventually, these ideas take final form in something new and valuable. But before they do, the creator must sift through countless amorphous concepts and faulty notions.” Our work can define us because we spend so much time at it. We fear that it might not turn out right; we also fear that if it does turn out really well, we might not be ready to handle the expectations that could be forced upon us. Having a mental construct for managing that fear gives us perspective, safety and confidence in the innovation process. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” discusses the idea that creativity is not a solo event. “The Greeks and Romans both believed in the idea of an external [fairy] of creativity – a sort of house elf, who lived within the walls of your home [and would] aid you in your labors. The Romans called this a genius. Which is to say the Romans didn’t believe that an exceptionally gifted person was a genius; they believed that an exceptionally gifted person had a genius.” The key here is that the creative process is not done in a closet by ourselves, we must have help. In the corporate environment, creativity should be a team experience, where the refinement process is shared and so is the defeat or glory. This way we can pick each other up and agree it’s time to pivot, re-iterate and re-buff the critics. There is less time for self-loathing when we have someone else to sit with us and empathize that missing the mark was painful. It’s also the best place to remind each other that the journey was pretty cool and that innovation is worth pursuing and risking for once again.

3) Creativity by numbers

Getting from creativity to profitability is the key and to get there let's look at some best practices to be followed. Google operates in a posture of expected excellence. Their requirement is to: ‘[Describe] an idea in less than six words [to] clarify it.’ Veronique Lafargue, Global Head of Content Strategy, with Google states their process “is [one] that can be taught, learned, and shared. We've distilled our own approach into a set of three basic principles…a linear process for brainstorming new ideas and turning them into actual products.” These steps are: A) Know your user.  To solve a big question you first have to focus on who you're solving it for.  Googlers regularly go out and talk to people in the field to make sure they get it right. B) Think 10x. When excellence is expected, the goal is to improve something by 10 times rather than by 10%. Thinking big has paid off well for these innovators, so let’s agree it doesn’t pay to think small or allow fear to get in our way. C) Prototype. When it comes to details, Googlers find that it’s easy to fake it, so when possible, they like to create something they can hold in their hands.  Getting the prototype to a commercially viable market is the key and achieves the revenues to validate the idea. Measuring our results and pivoting along the way is how we get to overall success. So, who currently is pivoting toward iteratively better ROI and how are they doing it?

4) The Bridge from Creativity to ROI

PWC’s Strategy Practice would agree that innovative ROI should get iteratively better and is best done through analytics and modeling. Their metric called ROI2, is a method that helps corporations balance innovation project portfolios into an overarching strategy. They not only assign values to a particular project based on the overall strategy, but on incremental revenue, risk profile and ROI2. This measures each project's potential against existing innovative outcomes and helps build a portfolio strategy in response. 

C-level executives agree that we must measure what matters. This is what keeps us aware, profitable and gaining ground. But to do this well we’ve got to bring courageous innovation to senior management. Leaders must go first and admit that they've made mistakes and continue to slip occasionally on the their journey to success.  This posture gives teams permission to choose the E-Ticket ride of creative innovation and dare to embrace the possibilities. It’s also reassuring for management to know that while courage is required, there’s no cliff jumping included. There are guardrails, best practices, data analytics and models to follow - so fear doesn't have to rule our work and lives.

At MiROR Partners we find the best innovative senior executives to insure you win the innovation game. Contact us to learn more at summer@mirorpartners.com.