What do you actually Do?

Having been asked “What do you actually Do?” many many times given the apparent diversity and number of Roles I play concurrently, I thought it time to spend some time on developing a simple effective elevator pitch/mantra.

And came up with my new Mantraquotes-Helping-Businesses-o

So why?

And what does it mean?

Helping Businesses of the Present Understand the Future … 

Some years ago when I co-founded See Global Medium – (SGM BrandConnectors) – a business aiming to connect businesses with markets in Asia (esp China) via new Digital forms of “advertising/marketing” using data and content as the keys to communication and connection.

I quickly realised there were great opportunities for new startup businesses (especially in digital media) because of the connections and trust (the currency of business in China)  we were developing in business, media and the highest levels of Government in China. So I immersed myself in the rapidly developing Adelaide Innovation Ecosystem.

Here through mentoring, judging, lecturing etc at Universities, Incubators, CoWorking spaces I realised that existing businesses in Australia had much to learn and if they didnt start to learn they would be in decline at best and soon. And this was just before the major Disruptors like Under, Amazon and AirbnB rose to prominence.

My focus moved from Innovation to The Future of Work and much research on what the business world was going to need to do in 5 / 10 /15 years.

Almost 10 years ago I co authored “The Grumpy Old Managers Guide to Social Media”  with my business partner and daughter Nikki to help existing conservative Adelaide businesses understand this emerging new media. Now I know that unless these same existing business embrace new Technology, Data and Trends they will at best stagnate.

In looking ahead five years as I did with the Grumpy Guide its clear almost everything will change. But there is very good news for those that embrace the opportunities by focussing on outcomes and information rather than the Technology as defined in Kevin Kelly’s fantastic book The Inevitable Continue reading What do you actually Do?

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Innovating How we Innovate – The Why

innovation  avanzi.orgRecently I read an article in Adelaide’s daily online “Newspaper” InDaily about Innovating South Australia’s Future which on one hand enthused me as a proponent of the urgent need for Innovation here and on the other disappointed me because we are still missing the mark in many ways.

With South Australia’s economy under pressure due to past reliance on manufacturing. mining etc and as such climbing jobless its great that much is being done.

But clearly more needs to done to develop an environment that foster, support and invest in emerging start-ups that WILL make a significant economic contribution.

The InDaily story is based upon a submission by Regional Development Australia Adelaide (RDAA) and Adelaide City Council to the Australian Technologies Competition.

“The submission details the expertise and resources that exist in South Australia and the extensive collaboration that is occurring on a daily basis in Adelaide between entrepreneurial individuals, companies, councils, universities and the different levels of government.” – In Daily – Vanguard

“Greater Adelaide has a very rich ecosystem of support for new ventures,” the submission says.

While its great that clearly Adelaide has the will to really DO something And YES  – getting the right ecosystem is the key – it seems the activity is in many ways isolated from the Community at Large

But I have two major issues –

As someone who has a real focus on Innovation via my business enovAsia and the Not For profit Group we founded Innovation In The City I did not know the full extent of the EcoSystem …. as such how would the average person have any idea of it as being so comprehensive.

  • 109 programs specifically supporting entrepreneurs and new ventures,
  • 11 incubators and accelerator programs,
  • 9 entrepreneurship education award programs,
  • 17 industry driven education programs for entrepreneurs, and
  • 14 co-working spaces.

If we are to foster and fully support Innovation we must reach the broader community to engage their support not keep “preaching to the choir” with more and more programs. And Innovation needs to be encouraged in existing businesses not just focussed on the startUp community.  There is a need for more integration between new and established business for sustainable success.

The second point that became evident is that we are not focussing on two things I think are fundamental to making SA not only a renowned Innovation Hub but one that makes a major contribution to the future of the State of South Australia. To do this we need to Identify StartUps/Innovations which:

  • Further develop what we already have here in terms of expertise, industries, environment etc (e.g. Food and Wine, Education, Medical research) not just support anyone with a good idea for the nest big thing.  But we also must support people working with the trends that will define the future of SA,

and

  • Become High Growth Businesses that employ people/bring revenue into SA for the long term.
    • High-growth enterprises, as measured by employment (or by turnover), are enterprises with average annualised growth in employees (or in turnover) greater than 20% a year, over a three-year period, and with ten or more employees at the beginning of the observation period – OECD 

When I shared my thoughts with a colleague in the UK, Harold Sharples, who is a world renowned specialist Innovation Consultant, he agreed with my thinking and referred me to a very recently released report The Global StartUp Ecosystem Ranking 2015.  Harold has taught Innovation to many people and companies around the world including IBM and Coke and including current Apple CEO Tim Cook when he was at IBM.

From this report and subsequent discussions it became evident that while Adelaide is on the right path there may well be a better one to achieve the economic benefits we are aiming for here.

Clearly if we keep building the same ol’ ecosystem,  we’ll just keep getting the same ol’ results …

In Harold’s words,  “it’ll still take 2,000 startups to get one High Growth business”.  This is based upon solid research done over many years.

The key is “innovating how we innovate” … making genuine innovations – in the ecosystem as well as in businesses and technology – and without it,  we won’t get that 10x change which is what we need.

In the report on Global EcoSystems “there’s some great research stuff at the beginning,”  but it ends up with the usual reheated stuff about better ecosystems to match funding with ideas  … Not better better ecosystems that innovate how we innovate.   In other words,  they still envisage a 1 in 2,000 future … at the moment,  their ‘big idea’ is to figure out ways to fail faster and lose less (and promote cities to do it in – and in Oz, only Sydney gets onto their radar!.

The report highlights that we are now at the Tipping Point in the transition from the Industrial Era to the Information Era .

More than ever before,  INNOVATION will be the key to success – in most endeavours – and in most fields.

I agree totally with Harold’s words below and in my next posts – Innovating How we Innovate – The What   and Innovating How we Innovate – The How  I will outline the approach we plan to take in Adelaide starting now.

“So far,  the ‘new era’ they refer to represents the posing of a new need/problem-statement —>  As of today,  we’re still in the old era … but we’ve come upon a new set of challenges that can’t be solved with the same level of thinking we’ve used to discover them —> We won’t actually be in the new era until we have a new solution AND APPLY IT.

Innovating how we innovate is what the solution will look like. 

Actually ACHIEVING that is how we ENTER the new era.   (The dawn of the agricultural / Industrial revolution didn’t occur until we’d FOUND and applied the solutions … there’s no cigar for discovering a new set of problems)

The principles embedded in my solution hypotheses for both IBM and for Business (re)invention generally can be applied to almost any field of endeavour:

From Ice Skating to Dance;  from Business building to Cuisine;  from design to ecosystems.” – Harold Sharples

Clearly there needs to be a better way so What Next?