Ten secrets of success from a leading innovator

June 15, 2009

I attended the first of a series of breakfast meetings entitled ‘Insider Secrets’ this morning. The idea being that successful people will be invited to come along and share the secrets of their success with a paying audience. The first speaker was Mike Harris the guy who started First Direct and Egg and who is now the Chairman of an interesting internet business called Garlik. I know Mike personally but I went along to judge the value of these events and to see if we can learn anything. Mike is a very successful innovator and entrepreneur who now teaches innovation at MIT. The event was attended by some 40 paying guests. It was a very eclectic mix. The event was a little amateurish but Mike was good value for money (as always). His ten secrets for success were as follows:

1. Keep creating and innovating or you will die. Constantly strive to do something different
2. “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp”. Be willing to take something on even when you don’t know how to do it
3. Always have the long term aim in mind but keep tactical flexibility
4. Take smart risks. Make each risk affordable and make sure the upside is worth the risk
5. As a leader keep balanced between the two poles – be confident about your future but make sure you confront the present
6. Have a passion for your brand. Act as if you have an iconic brand
7. “Necessity is the mother of innovation”. Be driven by what bugs people
8. Not all customers are the same and no customer in the world is like you
9. Keep your ears and eyes open. Look at the world through three different points of view – Customer, Technology and Industry
10. Failure is fine as long as it is quick and cheap

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What is innovation?

May 11, 2009

I guess I ought to start this discussion thread by establishing what I mean by innovation. I actually find the wiki definition to be pretty close “The term innovation means a new way of doing something. It may refer to incremental, radical, and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes, or organizations. A distinction is typically made between invention, an idea made manifest, and innovation, ideas applied successfully. In many fields, something new must be substantially different to be innovative, not an insignificant change, e.g., in the arts, economics, business and government policy. In economics the change must increase value, customer value, or producer value. The goal of innovation is positive change, to make someone or something better.”

Hello world!

May 9, 2009

I’ve always enjoyed doing innovative projects – it brings out the creative side of me. I developed the worlds’ first commercial application of Windows 95 – A 3D Virtual Bank branch called Interact – that helped customers educate themselves about financial products before approaching a sales person. I then went on to invent an IFA in a box (more about that later). I am now looking for new opportunities to innovate and would invite anyone with an innovative idea or product reach out to me. I am already helping a firm called ValidSoft (who have a product that stops credit card fraud using patented technology) find new customers for their product.

More later…