Tag Archives | smart ideas

Fiji, The Futurist and a Rather Big Survival Wake Up Call

I went to Fiji a few weeks ago to speak at a big conference. A futurist who did the opening keynote said something brilliant and simple. It shocked me- a startling truth about business today, and a critical key to survival. Here it is.
I wrote a post recently about what David Tudehope , who founded Macquarie Telecom, said to me about the secret to his success: “It’s the ability to adapt and change that underpins success.”
And futurist Mike Walsh, CEO of innovation research agency Tomorrow, crystalizes this thought quite violently really when he advises us what to do about ‘change’ if our businesses are to survive. Six words. Powerful words. They have shaken me. And are in my mind everyday as we work on STW’s future growth. Here they are:

How To Have Outstanding Innovation Sessions and Brainstorms

I’ve always been intrigued by the Steve Jobs quote: “You know great design when you want to lick it.” But how the heck do you design great products, or great ideas that will revolutionize your own business, or that of a client? I just attended a session on innovation which gave me the answer. It’s a short read. And invaluable.

Some of the best thinking and work within STW is coming from our superb group of branding and design agencies. So when our training company, Phuel, told me about their latest licensed simulation: Design Thinker, I was immediately intrigued. This session gives participants live practice in the skills of design thinking, and was developed in partnership with Experience Point and IDEO, probably the most famous innovation design business in the world. So we immediately signed up our leaders to attend the course, and were not disappointed. Here’s what we discovered.

Why Coming Second Will Help Ensure You Win- Every Time

I have always believed to succeed in business, ‘being first’ would be a bloody good place to start. But I was wrong. The fact is, coming second, or even third, is critical to succeeding in business and often, in life. Here’s why.

Malcolm Gladwell spoke about it at the Cannes Creativity Festival in June 2011: how innovators often are not the ones who end up commercializing their innovations. Rather, someone else sees it, tweaks it, refines it, popularizes it, and makes a fortune out of it. Think “Steve Jobs , the mouse, icons and stealing Xerox’s great ideas…” Jobs stole the ideas and made them great. He made a fortune out of this.

I liked the concept, but did not really understand the point, until I read this great quote from an Australian rugby union legend, John Eales, who said:

Why I Told The Monk Not To (Rude Word) With Mickey

Monks are generally gentle and peace loving people. So why was my heart beating so fast and why was I paralyzed with fear when I looked the monk in the eyes and said: “OK- I will start very slowly – but beware- whatever you do, don’t (rude word) with Mickey.”?

The story begins a few years earlier when a Walt Disney CEO, who when advised by a consultant to refresh the Disney logo, very bluntly said: “Don’t (rude word) with Mickey.” The Mickey logo was sacrosanct – a proven winner and well-loved symbol of everything the company stood for – and was never to be tampered with.

And that was equally true with what the monk wanted to do to me that day, and I just wasn’t having any of it. This is what he wanted to do to me.

Do this Every Day and Die Happy

Do You Have The Courage To Take One Simple, Life-Changing Action Every Day?

I am weak. I promised myself three years ago I would do this, every day. It’s so simple and powerful. So incredibly valuable to living a fulfilling, evolving and exciting life. But I have failed (so far). I have not had the guts to do it. Can you do any better? Here it is.

Peter Cullinane, founder and CEO of STW New Zealand-based business, Assignment, and one of our industry’s genuine leaders, suggested I read “Fun While It Lasted” by Barnaby Conrad- an incredible, true story of how an American in the 1940s trained and became a matador in Spain. One of Barnaby’s hobbies was collecting great ‘last words’… notable death bed last utterings of the famous and the ordinary. He ends his book with such a line, from a woman whose last words were: “Well, it’s all been very interesting.”

On reading this, I realized I was cruising. That a part of my life was an opportunity missed. To be able to say last words of: “Well, it’s all been very interesting”, I simply had to do one thing every day. And this is it.

Coco Chanel’s Secret To Winning Presentations – Every Time!

I have always rated myself (so modestly) as quite brilliant at new business pitches, and at structuring presentations to win. Deluded fool that I am! This became abundantly clear when I read this story about Coco Chanel. I suddenly realized how naive I was, and how badly I had got it wrong. Here’s the story.

I loved the theatre and acting as a young man. So new business pitches were an aspect of business I was immediately seduced by. The thrill of the chase, the creativity of shaping a great presentation, the fun of rehearsing, the theatre and drama of the pitch. That delicious taste of victory.

I spent years gathering techniques to deliver the perfect pitch, and to structure presentations so they are irresistible persuasive. The hit rate has been pretty good. It would have been much higher if I had heard this story about fashion icon Coco Chanel at the beginning of the journey. Here it is.