Updated: Jun 16, 2022
In every case, the solution to a problem has been inspired by another best practice application from a totally different space. By working together in a focused plan using old applications as working examples, innovators can create new solutions to solve problems faster and more effectively.
Self-proclaimed innovators are “venture-success” driven. Innovators solve problems by looking for practical solutions to real-world problems. “Invention” is only a word inventors use to build their own egos.
Innovators use words like:
Innovative leaders are oriented toward their venture’s potential for success, not their personal notoriety. Innovators are not interested in demonstrating their own brilliance; instead, they want to improve the lives of everyone that the venture touches.
“There is an important difference between being innovative and being an innovative enterprise. The former generates a lot of ideas, and the latter generates a lot of cash”. This comes from a 1993 article in the Harvard Business Review written by Theodore Levitt entitled “Creativity Is Not Enough” and yes, you can get a copy, just contact HBR and they will send you a copy at a nominal charge.
So what are the hallmarks of Losing Ventures?
Leaders with large egos, who are doing the work primarily to prove
how smart they are.
Leaders who will not relinquish either the management control or the
equity that is needed to get the resources required to make their
Leaders who have not set well-defined performance parameters for
Leaders who have not set up accountability standards for all
Leaders who do not establish well-defined criteria for the advancement of
Scapegoating is occurring. When this starts… ideation stops. Teams start to build defensive barriers to protect themselves and they avoid speaking up, asking questions, and taking developmental risks.
Leaders who believe that their idea is the only way and that they are right. Such ‘Leaders’ believe that their new idea or technology is disruptive and not simply a better way to solve a problem. The best quote about this I have ever heard is by Professor James R. Bright: “Remember, the key is how the user perceives the impact of the innovation, not how you, the innovator, perceive it.”
So, what do struggling ventures need to succeed? They need fresh eyes; they need outside resources to look at their application, its potential markets and the new technology’s impact on its markets.
They need mentors to encourage fresh approaches.
They need to have a compelling vision throughout their group, a vision so clearly articulated that it is the mantra that starts every collaborative discussion.
To show the impact of a compelling vision on an organization, I have a personal example: I was asked by a board of directors to turn around a cooperative college. Using the compelling vision statement as a focus for change, the college went from a loss of $96,000 per year to a surplus (profit) in three years of $600,000 per year without any major fee changes. The simple vision statement that preceded every presentation was, “This idea will make the college the first - place students want to go to and their greatest disappointment if they don’t get in.” It didn’t matter if you were on the board, a “C” level executive, or an operational team member; it was mandatory that your idea had better meet the requirements of the vision
statement and its related values.
The values were:
They need BHAGS: “Big Hairy Audacious Goals”. Microsoft has
become world dominant because it encourages BHAGS. Harvard
Business Review, July 1999, has a persuasive article on the impact of
BHAGS, entitled “Turning Goals into Results: The Power of Catalytic
Mechanisms” by Jim Collins.
Every winner can tell participants what ultimate success will feel like
for themselves and their stakeholders. They are singularly committed
to acquiring and ultimately delivering that feeling to all their
This information is derived from Chapter 1 in Ideas 2 Profit written by Ross Blaine. You are invited to download a complimentary copy of Challenge # 1 to apply this concept to your own individual venture.