This article on Innovation follows on from my recent post entitled “”A better way to think about INNOVATION for Startups, Entrepreneurs + Corporations” https://lnkd.in/bhy9_zG by @geoff_deweaver on @LinkedIn
Here’s another way to think about innovation.
Importantly, in todays ‘always on’, Digital and Transformational Age – innovation is more important than anytime in history. Importantly, it is a MUST to rapidly build out a brand or company, serve a large and usually global market, with the goal of becoming the first mover at scale with amazing customer experience, daily.
In fact, I note that Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn Co-Founder and Executive Chairman. Internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author.) often discusses the critical nature of Innovation today when he teaches, writes and lectures to his Stanford classes on ‘Blitzscaling’ e.g. scaling at speed, capturing the market quickly and also outmaneuvering potentially global competition.
Hoffman also often draws parallels with military and sports strategies, we can call this ‘Blitzscaling’.
Literally: lightning scaling. Importantly, all based around Innovation and successful application of innovation today too!
Having had the opportunity to spend a decades in Asia/Pacific over the last couple of decades, I would like to highlight some of the things that have shaped my thinking on innovation from a global perspective too.
On the innovation front, I have always paid special attention to countries like: Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Australia. And one thing I have consistently seen over the last few decades is they all get the critical nature of growing revenues and growing customer bases, rapidly and globally.
I’ve always respected the way Japanese business people talk about innovation in Japanese products, services, etc. It’s called Kaizen and is deeply entrenched in their culture and unique to the way most Japanese firms do business. So it is also relevant in any discussion about ‘innovation’.
Kaizen is a JAPANESE NOUN for a Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement in working practices, personal efficiency, etc. In their calligraphy it looks like this:
KAIZEN, is the Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, personal efficiency, etc., or learning’s from older historical periods and great mathematicians, biologists, architects, scientists, artists, musicians, sporting elites, astrologists, naturalists.
This Japanese business philosophy really exploded after World War Two, as the Japanese were really trying to rebuild their country and kick-start all their businesses after the war ended. Basically, this philosophy really got momentum in the 1950’s and pushed the Japanese into many global leadership roles in subsequent decades. E.g. Automotive, Electronics, etc.
There have always been unique groups of innovators over the years, including leaders, coaches, entrepreneurs and elite business men and women, who have constantly strived to raise their personal standards, values, beliefs, quality in a consistent manner.
They include people like:
- Stan Shih (Chairman of Acer Inc., director of Qisda Corp and the Group Chairman of iD SoftCapital. – (and my ex client) Acer is today known as one of the best Taiwanese brands internationally. In fact, Stan has been routinely quoted as saying ‘”You have to always look ahead, always be positive. It’s your choice, your destiny. You have to enjoy life but still have a personal social responsibility, but I won’t have any criteria imposed from outside, from my peers’ after asked by The Wall Street, after a quarterly result announcement.
- Jeff Bezos
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Reid Hoffman
- Elon Musk
- Jack Ma or Ma Yun (Chinese: 马云, Mandarin pronunciation: [mà y̌n];
It is this incremental approach to constant improvement that is the KEY reason why some of today’s Start-ups, have had transformational leaders who are dramatically out-pacing the ‘old school’, slow moving, leaders in some of the laggard Fortune 500s.
The most innovative start-ups today are consistently delivering quality, standards, beliefs, values and great strategies because EVERY DAY, 365 days a year they have continuously innovated.
Bottom-line, if you or your company are innovating daily, making changes, alterations, revolutionizing, transforming, making breakthroughs or metamorphosing daily and with commitment and intention daily – you are an INNOVATOR.
So Remember to:
- Break the Rules
- Make it Happen
- Be Different
- Create a new path where no one has gone before
- Act with urgency
- Anticipate the changes and trends
- Try the impossible and YOU will INNOVATE.
As I have said before: Amazon, Alibaba Group, Uber, Facebook, WhatsApp, Netflix, Tesla, Airbnb, and PayPal, etc. – have brands and businesses that have been grounded in the history of learning from the past. They innovate consistently and have made a commitment to innovate often too. In fact, firms that seemingly come from nowhere and rise to become significant global forces in a matter of years are changing today’s business landscape.
LOOKING BACK IN HISTORY at INNOVATION
Just remember as recently as the 1950’s after World War 2, and the US helped rebuild Japan and get their economy back in order, they encouraged William Edwards Deming, the world leading American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer, and management consultant to met and help Japanese business and government leaders to rebuild and revitalize the war torn country.
Photo: Dr. W Edwards Deming : The Father of the Quality Evolution
Deming is best known for his work in Japan after WWII, particularly his work with the leaders of Japanese industry.
That work began in August 1950 at the Hakone Convention Center in Tokyo when Deming delivered a seminal speech on what he called ‘Statistical Product Quality Administration. (Which, today is still the dominant standard of all Japanese quality, consistency and standards)
Many Government and Business leaders still in Japan, credit Deming as the inspiration for what has become known as the Japanese Post-War Economic Miracle of 1950 -1960, when Japan rose from the ashes of war to start Japan on the road to becoming the second largest economy in the world through processes founded on the ideas Deming taught:
- Better design of products to improve service (constant)
- Higher level of uniform product quality (daily)
- Improvement of product testing in the workplace and in research centers (ongoing)
- Greater sales through side [global] markets (belief)
Deming is best known in the USA for his 14 Points (Out of the Crisis, by W. Edwards Deming, Preface) and his system of thought he called ‘the System of Profound Knowledge’ e.g. Innovation.
The system comprises four components or “lenses” through which to view the world simultaneously:
- Appreciating a system
- Understanding variation
- Epistemology, the theory of knowledge
Deming made a significant contribution to Japan’s reputation for innovative, high-quality products, and for its economic power. And, we all know about household names like: SONY, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Toyota, Mazda, TDK, Honda, Nissan, Lexus, Nintendo, Ricoh, ASICS and more.
Bottom-line, high daily standards, quality and consistency has been around way before the ‘dot-com’ era and todays Founders of start-ups and unicorns are just better history students than the elderly 65 year set running most American Fortune 500 Enterprises today.
Edwards Deming is still highly regarded as having had more impact on Japanese manufacturing and business than any other individual in Japan’s history. Despite being honored in Japan in 1951 with the establishment of the Deming Prize, he was only just beginning to win widespread recognition in the U.S. at the time of his death in 1993. (Not bad for an American over 60 years ago!)
I wish you continued success. Stay passion and always PLAY BIG.
LIVE WITH PASSION + PURPOSE.
Make your difference.
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2. “Stephen Curry is Passionate, Innovative and Generational Hero” by @geoff_deweaver on @LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stephen-curry-passionate-innovative-generational-hero-geoff-de-weaver