Previewing Season Two of the Innovation Ecosystem Podcast and a sneak peek into a few of the conversations I’ve been having with upcoming guests.
Innovation Ecosystem Season Two Preview
Welcome to the Innovation Ecosystem podcast. My name is Mark Bidwell. First I’d like to extend a warm welcome back to those of you who listened to some of the previous shows in season one. Good to have you back, I am really hoping that you continue to get value from the work that we’re doing. Secondly I’d also like to extend a warm welcome to those of you who haven’t listened to any of the shows before. And with that in mind let me just explain a little bit about what we have planned for you ahead. And the background to why I founded this show in the first place.
I essentially founded this show to make available the resources that I use while innovating and growing businesses both as an intrapreneur and as an executive in large companies over the last 20 years. And on the show I interview remarkable guests from the worlds of business, academia sports and the arts about three subjects: about the subject of innovation, of change, and of leadership, and the interplay between these three subjects. And in the conversations I aim to uncover and to share with you the tools and the strategies and the insights that these individuals have used and that you can use to help you and your organization become more entrepreneurial and more innovative.
Let me say a little bit about me and my background. I’ve spent as I said the last 20 years working for some of the world’s most successful companies and I’ve been lucky enough to find myself in the right place at the right time and to contribute to some breakthrough innovations that have led to enormous commercial success in these businesses. And not only was I in the right place at the right time but I was also able to access a set of resources that enabled me to take full advantage of the current situation I was facing, which I think goes some way towards success that I’ve enjoyed. And so as a result I founded the Innovation Ecosystem to make these these resources available to you. Both resources that I use but also resources that I’ve subsequently discovered which I wish I had access to.
So let me give you an example of some of the businesses that I’ve been involved in. Way back in 1995 I launched the first online professional services product for a company called the Hay Group which is the global provider of HR solutions and it’s now been recently been taken over by Korn Ferry (see here). And back then even though it’s hard to believe but the internet access in large organisations was extremely rare and so it was really tough launching this business which was basically an online pay database but we made really good progress. And if we fast forward to today that business generates approx. 150 million dollars of revenue per year and enjoys above average profitability for its owners. And so there’s a lot of lessons and a lot of things that I did on that journey which I believe are relevant for those of you who are facing similar situations of intrapreneurial activity in your organizations.
Then more recently I was responsible for the largest active ingredient in the portfolio of a company called Syngenta (see here) which is the global agribusiness and this is a product that sold in over 120 countries around the world and used on over 60 different crops. And just as the patent was about to fall, we invested in over half a billion dollars in capacity expansion and we grew this business to the point where today it generates many hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the company. And in fact Goldman Sachs described the strategy in a note to their clients as transformative, as being transformative for the industry and this strategy has subsequently been copied by many other competitors in this space. So again I was in the right place at the right time but was able to take full advantage of a whole range of resources and materials and insights and methodologies which I’m going to share with you, and which have been the basis of season one in many respects.
And then most recently I led the creation and development of a of a two billion dollar business unit for the same company which was developing and bringing to market innovative solutions to growers around the world. And in fact, the Financial Times wrote a piece on one of these solutions called “NuCoffee” and described us as the Apple of agribusiness (see here). Now I’m not telling you this to impress you, although it does impress me sometimes when I reflect on my achievements! I’m sharing it with you so that you know the kind of work that I’ve already done and why I’m so keen to make available to you the resources that I used to do this work and to get these results as well as the resources that I wish I had learned about sooner. As it would have saved me a huge amount of pain, time and money.
Now I don’t know who you are but if you’ve read so far in this note I assume you’re curious and you’re hungry to take your business and your performance to the next level. And I also assume that you’re a time constrained professional, you’re over-scheduled and that listening to this has an opportunity cost for you. So my commitment to you is not to add to the barrage of information that you’re constantly receiving but instead to filter out the signal from all that noise and to focus on making available to you the tools and strategies and the resources that are proven to make a difference and to help you and your organization become more innovative and entrepreneurial.
So that’s more than enough about me. The last episode that we released gave an overview of the first season of our 22 guests and if you haven’t listened to it yet I do urge you to do so as it is going to give you a sense of the the quality of these guests and the depth and breadth of their expertise and their achievements, which are pretty remarkable. We explore topics like mindset, habit, curiosity, how to lead your team to create the conditions for innovation, how to avoid taking up space and instead as a leader to create space. How to guide your organization in the face of disruption from new entrants from regulatory challenges or from changes in consumer and customer taste. And finally how to manage the ecosystem, how to partner and collaborate with third parties. And as I plan for Season 2 which is going to get launched in a few weeks I’m very excited about the guest lineup and their stories and experiences which I’m sure will be of interest and practical value to you and my motive is not just to give you knowledge as knowledge is not power. It’s only potential power and what I want to do is help you to take action to move you towards your objectives and your goals. As that’s what I’ve done in my career and that’s what many of our guests have done in their careers to innovate.
In the last few weeks, just to wrap up, I’ve been having a couple of different types of conversations with a number of you in the audience. The first conversation is around, how can I take advantage of my experience in innovation and growth in organizations over 20 years and make that available to some of you in your organizations over and above the podcast. And I know that many of you are in the same position that I was several years ago, either as an executive or as someone deep in the trenches trying to drive innovation forward. And I loved this work and this is why I founded the Innovation Ecosystem and although I only work with a very small number of clients and individuals each year, if you would like to have an introductory conversation with me please email me at email@example.com and we can see if there’s a way of collaborating in some way.
And then secondly, a number of you have asked me about my journey from executive and intrepreneur to entrepreneur. And the reality for many of us who’ve worked in large organizations is that our external network is underdeveloped. I used to say that the bigger our organization the smaller our world. I developed a pretty rigorous process for making this transition from executive to intrapreneur to entrepreneur. And if you’re interested in learning more about this, again, please drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, all that it remains for me to do now is to thank you for listening. I’m really excited about the second season as you can probably tell. And this launches shortly. And if you want to be notified as to the exact date of the launch please sign up to our newsletter on www.innovationecosystem.com. That’s all one word. Thanks very much for your ongoing support. I’m hugely grateful that we’re able to push something out which is of relevance to you. Feel free to share this recording, this podcast, or the transcript with anyone who you think might be interested in making themselves and their organizations more entrepreneurial and more innovative. Until next time. Have a great day.
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