Greg Satell:


056 – I Don’t Care if it’s Disruptive or Sustaining Innovation. What the Hell Do I Do Now? – with Greg Satell

Greg Satell:


056 – I Don’t Care if it’s Disruptive or Sustaining Innovation. What the Hell Do I Do Now? – with Greg Satell

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In this episode, we are joined by Greg Satell, an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and innovation advisor. Greg has been published in The Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company Inc., The Times of London, and Business Insider, and has just published his first book, Mapping Innovation. Previously, Greg spent 15 years in media businesses in Eastern Europe – from Poland to Moscow to Kiev and from small business journals to large news organizations and lifestyle brands. His work as an innovation advisor spans from Fortune 500 companies, to mid-size firms, and startups.

  • Greg’s approach to mapping innovation, what he calls a “playbook for navigating a disruptive age”
  • How organisations can no longer just look to their internal capabilities and assets to solve their most important problems but need to leverage external platforms in order to extend those internal capabilities
  • How companies like Eli Lilly and Experian used new approaches to problem solving that involved the ecosystems of talent and technology which are key to sustaining innovation in today’s world of work

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Looking at innovation as an important problem which requires a novel solution – in the end a line manager is less interested in whether an innovation is sustaining or disruptive but if it answers the perennial question of, “What the hell do I do next?”
  • How power is moving from the top of the heap to the center of a network which means the indispensable partners are the dominant players
  • Why managing connections to external ecosystems of talent is today’s essential management skill as competitive advantage switches from being the sum of all efficiencies to the sum of all connections

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Podcast

 

Summary

In this episode, we are joined by Greg Satell, an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and innovation advisor. Greg has been published in The Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company Inc., The Times of London, and Business Insider, and has just published his first book, Mapping Innovation. Previously, Greg spent 15 years in media businesses in Eastern Europe – from Poland to Moscow to Kiev and from small business journals to large news organizations and lifestyle brands. His work as an innovation advisor spans from Fortune 500 companies, to mid-size firms, and startups.

Greg Satell

Greg Satell is a writer, speaker and innovation advisor, whose work has appeared in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc. and other A-list publications. Greg helps organizations grow by identifying the right strategies for the right problems and overcome disruptive threats to their business and their industry. He applies rigorous frameworks, identifies strategic resources and works with enterprises to build an innovation playbook to tackle the challenges of the future.

What Was Covered

  • Greg’s approach to mapping innovation, what he calls a “playbook for navigating a disruptive age”
  • How organisations can no longer just look to their internal capabilities and assets to solve their most important problems but need to leverage external platforms in order to extend those internal capabilities
  • How companies like Eli Lilly and Experian used new approaches to problem solving that involved the ecosystems of talent and technology which are key to sustaining innovation in today’s world of work

Key Takeaways and Learnings

  • Looking at innovation as an important problem which requires a novel solution – in the end a line manager is less interested in whether an innovation is sustaining or disruptive but if it answers the perennial question of, “What the hell do I do next?”
  • How power is moving from the top of the heap to the center of a network which means the indispensable partners are the dominant players
  • Why managing connections to external ecosystems of talent is today’s essential management skill as competitive advantage switches from being the sum of all efficiencies to the sum of all connections

Links and Resources Mentioned in This Podcast

 

Welcome back to the Innovation Ecosystem. With me today is Greg Sattel who is an entrepreneur, a popular writer, a speaker and an innovation advisor whose works appeared in The Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Fast Company Inc, and other A-list publications. Welcome to the show, Greg.

It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me, Mark.

And now, Greg, you have just published a book called Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age, and we’re going to get into that in a minute but before we do, I’d love just to start with a little bit about your back story. You spent a number of years working in Eastern Europe in Poland, in other countries, and in the book, you specifically refer to your time with a company called Afisha which is an East European media business which you joined in 2004, and you say that as a result of that experience you kind of stumbled into business model innovation. Can you just tell us a little bit about that experience and what do you mean by stumbling into business model innovation?

Well, actually the company wasn’t Afisha, the company was called KP Media. Afisha was one of our products. We also had other products like the number one news magazine, a very large digital business with the number one web portal and news site, so Afisha was a little bit of a funny case because Afisha, which was an entertainment magazine very similar to Time Out, it was really the product that made the company really profitable. When it was launched in 2000 in Ukraine, there was really not much on the market and the writing was really good and it was a really good product and it just took off and it became like a money machine, and then about six years later, a couple of things happened. One – our digital business and our news business really took off, so now Afisha, instead of being our really number one cash cow product, had really dropped down to number three in our businesses. The other thing is that the international players became much, much stronger, like Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Men’s Health, so that really threw Afisha for a loop because we used to get all those advertisers even though we really shouldn’t have as an entertainment magazine, and now they were falling off and we really didn’t know what to do. We could see that the business had dropped off and we could see that if things kept going how they were going, that was going to be a business that was going to be in a lot of trouble, but at the same time people still really loved the product. Nothing really changed within the business but we were just disrupted by the outside environment. We had become, as I like to say, a square peg business in a round hole world. It was super successful in the previous world where it was almost the only game in town but now that competition had stiffened up and marketers went to more traditional formats for their advertising, Afisha just wasn’t getting what it used to get and at the same time our costs were rising because the market was moving really fast, and when markets move really fast you have to pay more for talent, you have to pay more for distribution, for even a little bit for printing, so we really didn’t know what to do. We came up with a couple of really good common-sense strategies. One was to revamp the website. Another was to revamp the print product and do redesigns on both to cater more to what advertisers were looking for. A third was to license, because Afisha was a Kiev based product, but there are, I think, seven other cities in Ukraine with over a million people, so that really seemed like a no-brainer that we licensed to other people in those other cities and expand our reach, make more money that way and also have a more comprehensive offer to advertisers. So, those seemed like three really good strategies and then we had kind of like an oddball strategy which wasn’t even really a strategy. We said, ‘Why don’t we do events? We’ll put an event page on the back of the magazine and anybody who wants to, if you want to have a shopping night or a happy hour or whatever’ – we had an Afisha loyalty card so we wanted to make that a passport to these events so our readers get a benefit from whatever the promotion is. The advertiser, of course, gets a benefit because we’re sending people to them, and we thought that was worth a try and it basically didn’t cost us any money. Anyway, make a long story short, none of the three sure-fire common-sense strategies ever really panned out. The redesigns were OK but didn’t bring in any money. With the licensing, it turned out that the regional markets were much weaker than we had thought, but this event idea ended up becoming a huge thing. When we started we thought, ‘OK, if we can get a couple of events a week that’d be great’, and within the first month, we had to start limiting it to one event a night. There was so much demand for it, and from that, we started getting marketers coming in wanting us to do bigger events so we did an entire beer launch by setting up, I think, it was an Ultimate Frisbee contest around the country. We did adventure trips like windsurfing in Croatia, for a French coffee brand we did a whole French film festival, and we ended up making a lot of money on that which we had never really thought about. And then, of course, years later I started reading about Steve Blank and Alex Osterwalder and got to know them both in the Business Model Canvas and we fumbled into a lot of what they described. I just wished we knew what we were doing back then because it’s like, ‘Oh now you tell me!’, right?

And so, what you say here in the book, you say that innovation is quite clearly not a path but it’s an ecosystem, right? I’m curious because you know our show is called the Innovation Ecosystem and the word ecosystem constantly appears in this book of yours, this new book. Now, what do you mean by that?

Well, as a manager you’re always facing that basic strategic question of, ‘What do I do?’, and with a lot of areas of business, be it marketing or finance or whatever, there are pretty clear guidelines.  There’s a pretty clear playbook of how you do marketing. There are a lot of different options in there; there’s a large toolbox but everybody’s pretty clear on what the tools are, and then we add new tools every now and then but there are some guide rails there. But with innovation, what always frustrated me was that whenever you tried to figure out an innovation strategy all you could really find was somebody touting one particular path, whether that’s disruptive innovation, or open innovation, or Lean LaunchPads, or design thinking.

It’s a ‘man with a hammer’ syndrome. To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Yeah, exactly. I remember back when the iPhone launched, Clayton Christensen, who developed the whole idea, pioneered the whole idea of disruptive innovation, he said, ‘Oh, it’s not really disruptive innovation, it’s sustaining innovation’, and then the iPhone, of course, took off and he said, ‘Oh, well actually it is a disruptive innovation but it’s disruptive to PCs not to phones’, and I just – you know, there’s some logic behind that but if the guy who invented the concept isn’t all that clear on it, how can you be that clear on it? And then who cares whether it’s a disruptive innovation or a sustaining innovation? That tells you nothing. That does nothing to answer that basic strategic question of, ‘What the hell do I do?’

So, with that frustration, I guess, you went through the experience, you stumbled on something and you started reading about it and you saw lots of ‘men with hammers looking for nails’, right? So, that’s the background. How should people think about this book that you’ve just launched? How do you get around some of these shortcomings with this space where there’s so much noise and so many, again, ‘men with hammers’?

Well, I think that where people get into trouble, where organizations get into trouble is they lock themselves in, as you say, to saying, ‘Well, this is our hammer and we’re going to treat everything like a nail’. They say, ‘This is the way we innovate, this is what’s in our DNA, this is how we do things,’ and if you think about it, that’s really picking the solution before you’ve even thought about the problem. That’s saying, ‘OK, this is the solution we’re going to use, we don’t care what the problem is’, so the first thing is you want to start with the problem because that’s where all innovations come from. In my mind, that’s what innovation is; a novel solution to an important problem. The second – you want to ask some questions about the problem. So, the two central questions in the book are, how well is that problem defined, and some problems are very well defined and some problems aren’t very well defined at all, and the other is how well is the skills domain defined, so how well do we understand what skills are needed to solve this problem? And that’s another – usually sometimes you start out thinking you’ve put together the right skills but then you realize that you haven’t and then you need to switch to a completely different strategy, and using those two questions, I built an innovation matrix that really helps break out the different strategies and help narrow down your options and help you make better decisions about what to do next.

So, Greg, what we could do perhaps is, can we think about a specific example. So, someone sitting in a large organization which may be in a mature business to business environment where they may be concerned that they’re at risk of disruption, how do you uncover these problems? Any advice for how to uncover these problems? What’s the process that you work with your clients on, Greg?

Well, that’s a great, great question, and one of the things I found in my book was that what really set great innovators apart was that they had a systematic and disciplined way of searching out new problems, and I’ll run you through a few of them. So, Experian, they set up Data Labs which is basically an innovation lab which has absolutely no responsibilities in terms of P&L, revenue targets or anything like that. All they’re supposed to do is go to customers and find out what kind of problems they have around data, and when they find a good problem, they go and build a prototype and come back to the customer usually within 90 days, and if the customer sees some potential in it, they sign some agreements where Experian keeps the IP and they co-create a solution together – client gets their problem solved, Experian gets a new business. And Experian’s a four billion dollar global company but that’s really become an engine of growth for Experian. I think over the past 5 years they’ve launched a dozen businesses out of it. Now, IBM, they have a similar process of looking for what they call ‘unresolved problems in the marketplace’, but they’re not looking for things that they can turn around in 90 days, they’re looking for things that will take them years or sometimes decades to solve. That’s how they came up with Watson, not because they said, ‘This would be a great business,’ but they said, ‘This is a really interesting problem, whether we can make a machine that could beat humans at Jeopardy, beat the best human players at Jeopardy,’ and they achieved that and once they achieved that they said, ‘Hey, we could make a business out of this,’ and generally throughout the decades, they’re always trying to work on one of what they call ‘grand challenges’ but they have, I think, a six or eight billion dollars a year research division that is set up to do that. Now, Google, if you think about their ‘20% time’, that’s really like a human powered search engine for problems because when they see or are looking for new projects to invest in, they’re not really looking around at the marketplace as much as they’re looking inside and saying, ‘Whose 20% project is attracting a lot of people to work on it?’ because if they see that, then there’s somebody working on something pretty interesting if a lot of other people want to throw in their time and effort into it. So, I don’t think that there’s any set way that you have to do that, so much of it comes down to your culture, your strategy, and your capabilities, but I think you have to ask yourself, how are we going out and finding new problems to solve? Because the fact is, everybody’s in a square business that’s going to eventually need a round hole world, so how do we prepare for that? How are we going looking outside for unresolved problems in the marketplace or unresolved problems within organizations, and I think if you frame the problem that way, I think most organizations can come up with something that fits their enterprise pretty well.

Yep. And then I think, assuming that’s been done and assuming you’ve defined the problem and you’ve defined the domain in which the problem operates, then I guess you’re faced with, how do you go after this, and there’s a great quote in here from someone, ‘No matter who you are, most of the smartest people always work for someone else’, and I think what’s really interesting here is, and this segues into the whole ecosystem conversation, can we just talk about – maybe tell the story of InnoCentive, which I think, was very progressive way back in the early part of the century, founded by Eli Lilly to actually tap into this ecosystem talent – can you just tell a little bit about that story, Greg?

Yeah, thanks for bringing that up, I love that story. So, the real catalyst behind it was a guy named Alf Bingham, and when Alf was a graduate student in chemistry, the professor would give them a problem to solve and there’d be, like, twenty people, and they’d all come up with twenty different directions of how to solve this problem, but when he went to work for Eli Lilly as a research scientist, he immediately found that he was given a problem and it was just him. So, he could go discuss it, I think he set up some discussion groups and stuff to try and expand their approaches but basically, it was his problem and he was responsible for it. Then when he did quite well, he moved up in the organization and I forget exactly what it was but he was invited to come into this fast track type of management program in the mid 90’s and at the time the internet was just becoming a big thing, so part of the program was that he got out and talked to all different types of organizations, startups and stuff like that, startups, consulting companies, to expose the Eli Lilly executives to different ways of thinking, and he found himself really enamored by this idea of Linux, that a bunch of people who didn’t know each other, had no real management structure, could make an operating system that could compete with the best in the world, and then later he was put on another committee about how Eli Lilly could harness the internet for their business. He said, ‘Hey, why don’t we do something like Linux with a bounty?’, and that’s basically the idea. I think originally the name was molecule.com or something like that but that was basically the idea that became InnoCentive. So, they put up a website, put up, I think, twenty-five problems that they were unable to solve, and Eli Lilly is a major organization with a lot of talent so these were really tough problems, and I think they pulled everything together in the summer of 2001, so it was right before 9/11 and they put up twenty-five problems, I think the bounties ranged from five to twenty-five or thirty thousand dollars, and they found immediately that they started getting a lot of responses and within 6 months they found that about a third of the problems were solved. And one of the most interesting parts of it were, for the chemistry problems, almost nobody who was able to solve the problem was a chemist. It almost always came from some adjacent field. So, if it was a chemistry problem, a biologist or a physicist would solve it. So, the unresolved problems were almost never able to be solved within the domain in which they originated, but some physicists would come along and go, ‘Oh yeah, we solve problems like that all the time, that’s old hat for us.’ And then the third thing they realized was that what the engine which drove the platform was, really the problems, because more problems would attract more solvers which would result in more and better solutions, so they started inviting other people into the platform and then they even started inviting competitors into the platform and eventually they spun it off for, I think, it was something like thirty million dollars or something like that, so this spinoff was not a material event for Eli Lilly but they just realized that, ‘Hey, this is much more valuable to us as a problem solving platform than it ever would be as a business so this is not something we want to own and control, this is something we want to get away from us and grow on its own merits so that we can access it’.

And this example is around ecosystems of talent, so bringing, as you say, people from other domains to look at these problems in a fresh way and as you say, the results are staggering. Now, you also talk about ecosystems of technology and information to solve these talent problems so beyond the InnoCentive example, who else is leveraging this kind of, not this bi-partisan, this kind of multi-disciplinary approach to solving problems?

Well, that was in the chapter about platforms and I think it’s really important how we understand platforms. There’s been a lot of literature out over the past 5 years or so about classifying platforms, they’re multi-sided markets and so on and so forth and are very much of an economic type of approach, but for a practitioner or for someone who’s in a business, that’s not really very helpful. It’s interesting to a certain point of view about the structure of different platforms and how that changes the economics and so on and so forth but it doesn’t really help you solve that problem of, ‘What do I do, what do I do next?’ For me, what the key is about platforms is it helps you access ecosystems of talent technology and information, so InnoCentive’s a great example of an ecosystem of talent but there are also ecosystems of technology like Microsoft Azure or IBM Blue Mix or Amazon Web Services that really anybody with just a simple internet connection can get access to technologies that would, 5 or 10 years ago, be out of reach of even the most sophisticated tech companies, like text to speech, and Internet of things, and really advanced analytics, and then a good example of a platform that gives you access to information is a company in the book called BloomReach. So, what BloomReach does, it helps traditional retailers compete with Amazon online, and one of the big advantages Amazon has is that because it’s so big it has much better, so much more access to the data which gives it so much more insight, so it’s really hard for anybody to compete with Amazon, but because BloomReach powers about 20% of e-commerce, it has enough scale so that any of the retailers on its platform can access not only data about their customers on their site but across the BloomReach platform, and I think what the common thread is, is that these days, because of digital connectivity, you can’t just look inside of what your internal capabilities and assets are, you need to use platforms in order to extend your internal capabilities.

Yeah, absolutely. It’s almost like matrix management was sort of the skill of the 80’s and 90’s and in my mind today, the emerging skill is ecosystem management, the extent to which you can actually make your boundaries between your organization and the outside world more porous and bring in the right people at the right time to help solve the problems.

Yeah. I think we’ve really switched from competitive advantage being the sum of all efficiencies to competitive advantage being the sum of all connections, and really the core skill is to manage and deepen those connections. Just one final thought, I also think it used to be that power resided at the top of the heap; there was a food chain, but these days power really resides at the center of a network. So, that’s what you want to do. The really dominant player these days is the indispensable partner.

So, for the people listening who are in large organizations, as I say, wanting to move the needle, what can they do to start building out their own kind of ecosystems, to build out their own networks, to access these resources? What are you seeing in large organizations or what advice do you give to people in large organizations around that?

Well, it really starts with the problem. So, working in a large organization can be frustrating because large organizations tend to be very efficiency focused. They want to get better and better at doing the same things and there’s often not a lot of encouragement for people to go out and do their own things, and that can actually be a real hindrance to your career in a large organization if you get the reputation as somebody who always wants to go and do their own thing rather than what they were hired to do. However, what you can do is you can go out and identify problems and say, ‘This is a real problem. I have some ideas on how we can solve this problem. Our customers keep saying that they don’t like this, or our employees, they’re complaining that this part of the organization doesn’t work for them’, and I think if you get a reputation as somebody who can go out and solve problems then I think that’s really the best way to go about it and it’s really the best way to innovate as well. One of the things that I found in my research that I was really quite surprised at was how different the innovative organizations are. There’s a lot of myths that organizations that innovate, they’re agile or they’re risk takers – that one makes no sense to me by the way. I don’t see how walking around bad neighborhoods and shooting up with other people’s needles are going to make you a better innovator, right? And there’s also quite a bit of survival bias there, you know.

So, what was the big surprise then in terms of the innovative companies in quotations? What do they look like?

Again, they find new problems and I think that’s what really drives the creativity, is the problem itself. If you have a good problem, there’s plenty of methods about how to be creative, and the one thing that’s emerging as a real factor, Google just did a big study on this and there have been some others as well, is safe spaces, how comfortable people feel to express an opinion without rebuke. There have also been big differences shown in teams where people talk in roughly equal amounts and in teams where one or two people dominate the conversation. There’s also been plenty of studies on diversity and ability to solve a problem, so more diverse teams tend to perform better than less diverse teams.

Yep, and diverse not just in terms of gender and background but also in terms of thinking and disciplines, I guess, to the point earlier on about avoiding the ‘man with the hammer’ syndrome.

Yeah, well I think, in that case, it’s even more than the ‘man with the hammer’ syndrome. I think it is – you know, you see in lots of organizations where they say, ‘This is the person we’re looking for’, they have a type, and even partners and customers, they can tell you exactly what that type is, and as a manager I think you really, really have to resist the urge of hiring people who are like you because you need to find a balance between cohesion on the team and diversity. You don’t want such a diverse team that nobody can feel any sort of commonality because then they’re not going to be able to work together but at the same time, you don’t want to get locked into a certain type.

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Well, as you say, there is lots of emerging research in terms of what teams of the future, or the more efficient teams, are able to do, what they look like as well as what behaviors they demonstrate. So, Greg, beginning to wrap this up-

And just a quick point on that. There’s a lot of research done by Sandy Pentland out of MIT and there are a lot of tools. He’s developed a sociometer that can basically track interactions. There are also a number of practitioners who can map networks within an organization which can be really helpful.

Yeah, yeah. We had Steven Kotler on the phone on the show a few weeks ago who has brought out a new book called Stealing Fire but he’s all around high performing teams and how does a team get into Flow in order to really raise the bar in terms of performance. It’s fantastic stuff he’s doing and I think he draws on some of this material as well, actually.

I’ll have to pick that one up.

Yeah, it’s really good stuff, fascinating. It starts with the Flow from extreme athletes individually but then he takes it into, how does a Special Forces team work to ensure they maximize the performance of the team? So, he’s getting into group Flow essentially which is really interesting.

Yeah. Another really good book along the same lines is by General Stanley McChrystal called Team of Teams.

It rings a bell.

Jared Kotler, he’s from Google, right?

No, this is Steven Kotler. He wrote some stuff with Peter Diamandis who wrote Bold and Abundance, and I was thinking, when you say – Diamandis writes about solving, identifying huge problems in customers and-

I knew I knew the name because I have both those books.

Yeah, it’s good stuff. What Diamandis says is, ‘Go and hire a bunch of MBAs and just send them out into your markets and say, “Go and find problems and come back and bring me huge problems”’, and that’s his advice for starting off on this journey which you articulate in a different way but doing exactly the same thing.

Yeah, basically the same thing.

Lovely. So, Greg, you’ve very kindly given us a download of one chapter in the book which we’ll include in the show notes but beginning to wrap this up. Firstly, I sent three questions to you in advance. What have you changed your mind about recently?

Well, actually I had to think about that one a little bit because I tend to try and keep an open mind about things so I don’t think I’ve really changed my mind about anything where I had a definitive opinion about something and now I have a definitive opinion in some other direction, but in the book I definitely found some things that surprised me, and maybe I hadn’t really thought about it before, I don’t know what my idea about it was before I discovered it in the research – the shift from thinking about innovation about ideas to innovation focused on the problems. That was definitely a shift. Another shift, and again I don’t know what I thought about this before, but it really came through and I mention it towards the end of the book, is how nice these really fantastic innovators were. We tend to think about innovators as Steve Jobs types, like really super aggressive A-type personalities and certainly you can find some of them, but the vast majority were just so nice and giving and generous, and I mention towards the end of the book that when I spoke to them they seemed as interested in what I was doing as I was in what they were doing, and sometimes when I would send a section or in a few cases an entire chapter to be fact checked, they sent back not only helpful suggestions but they actually went through and copyedited it, the chapter, and I was thinking, ‘What a waste of time’. You know, here’s this world class scientist or world class innovator and he’s spending time copy-editing my work pro-bono no less, and of course, there’s going to be one on the publishing side and then I thought about it and I thought, ‘I guess they’re just really happy to pitch in and solve a problem no matter how it comes’.

Well, I think it’s also Greg, sorry to interrupt, but they’re also very collaborative. You highlight the importance of collaboration in this and I guess these are by and large – even though the myth of the innovator as the Steve Jobs who sits in a darkened room and comes up with a eureka moment, as you say it’s about interacting with people, it’s having different conversations, different types of conversations if you like, right?

Right. It’s that but I also think it’s something more. One of the things you really need to be able to do to innovate is to have access to do a diversity of ideas so if you’re a really giving person, you’re going to build those bonds much better than somebody who isn’t.

Interesting. Yeah, so building the ecosystem and the network essentially, right?

If you’re a giving person, people are going to want to talk to you a lot more and you’re going to be able to have those in-depth conversations whereas if you’re a really hard driving A-type personality, people are going to be much more guarded around you.

Excellent. So, second question – do you have a personal work habit or a practice that you can share our listeners that has helped make you more effective?

Yeah, this one’s easy because I talk about it all the time. I even have a name for it. I call it ‘Dare to be crap’, and I really came across it when I started writing because when you sit down to write something it always sounds really stupid, well not always but quite often it doesn’t sound right; it’s not good, you spend a lot of time thinking about it, but you’re much better off just getting down and putting it down there, and who cares if it’s crap, nobody’s going to see your first draft. The only problem you really can’t fix is an empty page and I’ve extended that to other parts of my life but just get out there and start doing it. That’s the fastest way to figure out what’s wrong with whatever you’re doing. You’re going to be wrong anyway when you start so you might as well get to it.

Yeah, love it. Very good. And then, what’s your most significant failure or low? What have you learned from it and how have you applied that learning, Greg?

Yeah, that’s another easy one. With KP Media we had our IPO in 2006 or 2007, I forget which. So, we were always kind of a scrappy company, here we had all this money all of a sudden and there was a lot of pressure from the investors to go invest that into new products and we ended up taking way much, taking on way more than we ever should of-

What, money?

No, new projects.

OK.

So, I’d launched four major businesses within a year so not only was I not sleeping and driving myself crazy, and my wife crazy and everybody around me crazy, but we weren’t able to evaluate one launch before we went to the next one. We were moving so fast and then, of course, 2008 we hit a major financial crisis and it nearly killed the company and we ended up selling it funnily enough to a guy who is now President of Ukraine but we almost didn’t recover. I mean, that business ended up living on in another form but we could have walked away with absolutely nothing so, that really taught me that innovation is about managing risks as much as it is about taking risks, or probably a whole lot more than it is about taking risks. You want to keep your bets small enough so that if they don’t pan out, they’re not going to kill you, because as long as you keep having another chance to take a bite at the apple, you’re going to come up with something eventually, but you can’t do that if you’re out of business, so you’ve got to manage your risk.

Very good, very good. So, where can people get in touch with you, Greg?

LinkedIn, through my blog DigitalTonto.com, there’s a newsletter there. There’s also an email on the About Greg or the Hire Greg pages.

OK, super. And you’re on Twitter and Facebook, I guess, and we’ll put those links in the show notes.

There’s a Facebook fan page and yeah, the Twitter is at Digital Tonto as well. And of course, you can buy the book.

Of course. Well, we’ll give the teaser with the chapter but as I say, it is a great read and as you said, you cover the full waterfront of innovation literature in a very balanced but also pragmatic way, so this is – the subtitle I should say is, A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age – it is genuinely that, so it is a very helpful and a very fresh book in terms of giving people practical next steps involved in the subject. So, really pleased to have had you on the show, Greg, so nice to meet you and thank you very much for your time. I’m sure our audience will have enjoyed it as much as I did.

Well, thank you very much for having me. This was really a lot of fun, I really enjoyed it.

Great, and have a good rest of the week.

You as well.

Thanks, bye.

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