Inspiration for Innovation

Business is about solving problems, not making money
May 3, 2010, 9:04 pm
Filed under: Ideas & Observations, Reading & Writing

Peter Heshof, trend watcher, is marketing innovator at Bloom. Here he discusses a new way of doing business. He isn’t talking about being sustainable or the people planet profit idea, which is in his opinion in the future something a customer expects of a decent business like for example hygiene.

No he is talking about doing business with an ideal. It offers various benefits:

  1. It motivates employees to work harder (and thus create better results), as they are working for a bigger cause instead of the shareholders.
  2. Your relationship with your customers will become deeper. It’s not anymore about quick transactions, but about fighting together for a good cause.
  3. Actually once an ideal has been found; innovations, communication and activations follow shortly out of its own.
  4. Of course you’re doing a good thing.

I personally have always thought of business as a way to achieve things and that money is a side effect of that, one that allows you to continue the way you do now. Therefore I’m very happy that this trend is spotted, because if everyone had raised this way the credit crisis would have never occurred.  As a result acting in your own interest will be less common as you are all fighting for the bigger ideal. Work will not only be a measurement of how successful you are in life, but also an expression of what you, as a person stand for. Therefore:

“Business is about a way of living, not a way to live.”


Seth Godin – The movie
May 2, 2010, 3:34 pm
Filed under: People & Places | Tags:

We all went to the awesome seminar of Seth Godin. Got a lot of new insights, which was particularly great! AND they made a video of that day:

Just have a look at it and pay special attention at 10sec and 3 min.

Lev Kaupas, 50m from NBS
May 2, 2010, 3:31 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I came across this spot, it’s about 50m from the NBS, aimed at young, creative people who want to start a business and provides them with knowledge on how to do business..

Here a short excerpt from their site:

We are dedicated to create a workplace that provides young professionals with as much in-house knowledge as possible by combining different disciplines and values of people from diverse backgrounds. An inpiring environment where the unique combination of talents, experiences, and perspectives of each member enables us to boost your and our business”

Their concept would fit in so nice within the NBS Business Planning, as it provides students with the opportunity to work in a start-up, without having a good idea themselves or not putting in energy because of London. With all respect to the SRC, but can we consider consultancy really entrepreneurship? anyway it at least increases the odds that NBS students make the best out of their 3rd year project.

You know what shocked me the most, it’s just across the streat of the NBS and nobody seems to know about it..

  • Eerste Weteringplantsoen 6
  • 1017 SK Amsterdam

2 steps ahead
April 13, 2010, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Ideas & Observations, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Tonight in one of our group meetings I wanted to continue the discussion to come up with a plan C, just in case if also plan B didn’t work (plan A wasn’t delivering the desired results). Overall the criticism is that you should not really do planning in a start-up. I agree, one of the strengths of a small company is its flexibility; nevertheless I think it’s good to at least think about a plan C, especially when you are dealing with time bound issues. So once the situation occurs you can act very swiftly, because you know the teams’ opinions about the issue.

This mentality of thinking 2 steps ahead is often missed out when discussing the advantages of start-ups, as it flows naturally from the visionary mindset of the entrepreneurs. However I think that this contributes a lot to the innovativeness of a company, but also its efficiency.

Just for the record, we ended up using plan C 😛

15 Minutes Advantage
March 17, 2010, 9:40 pm
Filed under: Ideas & Observations | Tags: ,

As I am always very interested in innovations and the drivers behind that, I recently stumbled upon an article that actually shocked me a bit. I always thought innovation was bound by the limits of our imagination, but nothing is less true. As this article from HBR about the 15 minutes competitive advantage displays, it is limited by the amount of change people / market place are willing to handle.

“As many technology companies have seen to their peril, you can leap much too far into the future by seeking revolution, not evolution, leaving potential users in the dust. But steady progress — step by single step — can win internal support and the external race for share of market or share of mind. Especially if you take each step quickly.

Innovators who take risks must reduce the risk for others. Think long-term trends but short-term steps —15 minutes at a time.”

This is the reason why the Willy Wortels of this world never seem to have any success, despite their great ideas. They invent something so radical and disruptive that all potential customers are freighted by its transformational powers and unproven benefits. Whereas you have on the other hand the Willy Wortels who are so into their idea and that they will only see the benefits and get frustrated when nobody wants to grasp the fruits of this wonderful new invention!

To clarify the 15 minutes competitive advantage from a customer point of view, you can compare it with running a marathon, if I tell you that you have to run for 42,243 meters and at the end of that run you will find numerous new beneficial things, nobody will really feel like making all the trouble to take a big risk. But if I tell you every 100 meters that at the end of the next 100 meters you will find something that is good for you, the hassle to get there and the risk to take is a lot smaller.

So to conclude, new innovations are often more successful when they focus on what amount of change the customers can cope with, rather than what the company can invent. Click here if you want to read moreWilly Wortels

Why Twitter isn’t a Social Strategy
February 12, 2010, 9:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Do you know those situations or advertisements campaigns (teleshopping) where they continue to say how great it is, but it just doesn’t catch on? We had the same in class, about social media strategies and especially Twitter. Everyone is convinced of the added value of Facebook and Hyves, but no one seems to start to believe in the power of Tweeting, despite of all the teachers’ efforts. So there probably is a catch, but where?

I found it in an interview with HBS professor Mikolaj Piskorski, who is doing research on how people use social sites. Listen to what he told, and the difference between developing a digital strategy and a social strategy. The best social strategy, he says, is one that helps your customers connect with other customers:

“With Twitter, a company can talk to customers or potentials, and it is two-way communication. This is a great example of a digital strategy that you use as a cheap platform to communicate with your audience. It is a fantastic idea, particularly because it’s free!…”

But it’s not a social strategy (YET).

“This is not social strategy yet, because it does not allow two people in the audience to be better friends or to meet new friends. It does not allow people to improve their friendships in the same way that Facebook does. And so it does not build the same level of engagement. Note that you can have just a digital strategy, and that’s perfectly fine. But you will be missing out on huge opportunities to connect customers to each other. This is where you can really generate huge engagement.”

Remember the distinction the next time you are thinking of how to use social networks to improve your business.