Enhance Productivity and Efficiency with Stephen’s Innovation Insights

Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

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I first met Paul Golding 10 years ago in the UK when we were both doing innovation work for a mobile phone company.

I always admired Paul’s understanding of technology –  not just from a bit and bytes perspective, but from a business perspective. He knows how to extract value from everything he does.

We were recently chatting about some work he’s doing in blockchain, and I thought it would be great to capture the conversation for everyone. If you watch this 45-minute video, I am convinced you will significantly increase your knowledge of blockchain and how to leverage it for your organization.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Paul Golding…

 

 

 

Being different is not the same as being differentiated…

After years of development and $2.4 billion in investment, the Revel Casino opened its doors to the Atlantic City Boardwalk on April 2, 2012. This beautiful hotel is top-notch, sophisticated, and classy. I know. I visited it.

To differentiate themselves from other casinos in the area, the Revel did not allow smoking anywhere and they didn’t offer a players’ club. They also decided to nix the buffet and bus trips to/from the casino. Oh, and there was a two-night stay minimum along with a wall that blocked easy access to the casino from the Boardwalk.

The goal was to create an exclusive and high-end experience.

Unfortunately, the typical person who visits Atlantic City isn’t looking for an East Coast version of Las Vegas. Let’s face it, the Boardwalk attracts families with children who want to eat cotton candy and hot dogs.

Combine their design decisions with a tanked New Jersey economy, increased competition from Pennsylvania casinos, and bad investment decisions (such as building their own power plant), and you have a recipe for disaster.

The Revel Casino opened April 2012. Two and a half years later it went bankrupt and closed its doors September 2014. One year after that, the casino was sold for pennies on the dollar at $82 million and remained closed until June 2018, when it opened with a completely different name and concept.

What can we learn from this? Continue reading >>

I am on the road nearly 200 days a year. With over 30 years of travel under my belt, I’ve discovered many simple and free ways to make your travel more enjoyable. Here are my four favorites. I hope you like them as they’ve made my life a lot better.

Keeping Window Shades Closed

After a long flight, it feels to great to hop into bed for a good night’s sleep. Although I typically need to wake up relatively early the next day, sometimes the sun wakes up before I need to. The bright light shining through curtains that are not completely closed is sure to wake me up. How do you keep the shades tightly closed? I used to travel with clothes pins or chip clips, when I realized that I could use the clips on the hangers provided in most hotel closets. Simply place the clips where the two shades meet and you will be able to sleep as late as you want.

A Disposable Neck Pillow

This one is technically not 100% free, as you need purchase a beverage. But the hack involves the part of your purchase that you would typically throw away: the bottle. Continue reading >>

Busy entrepreneurs need to step away from the business in order to grow their business…

As entrepreneurs, we are all busy. There never seems to be enough time to complete even the basic tasks we need to accomplish. So, when do we have time to innovate?

5 years ago, I realized that it felt like I was on a treadmill. I was running fast yet getting nowhere. I needed to slow down the pace. But how?

An Innovation Retreat Week

I decided the key was a week-long innovation retreat. This is not a vacation. It is a week of locking the doors, turning off the phone, and getting work done. And this is accomplished away from my office and home.

Since 2013, I’ve done this at least once a year, starting the first week of January. But some years I will do this two or three times. In fact, last week I finished my second innovation retreat for 2018.

Think about how you typically start your year. After the Holidays, it is back to the grind stone, picking up where you left off the previous year. As a result, the new year becomes an extrapolation of the past year. There is no delineation.

Therefore, my intention is to use the start of the new year as a chance to innovate and create. Hence the innovation retreat week.

Every year I head to a resort. Given we own a timeshare which is about five miles from our house, I go there for the week. I get a one-bedroom suite with a kitchen so that I can stay in the room all day. I sleep there, even though my home is only a few miles away. The location doesn’t matter; the environment does. You want to be as productive as possible with minimal distractions. Maybe a log cabin in the woods is better for you.

Of course, prior to starting your retreat week, you need to first delegate all activities that might need to be completed. Although some of you might think it is impossible to get 100% of the work off you plate, with some creativity (and trust) it is almost always doable.

The Routine

The first day is preparation day. I start by going to the supermarket and buying healthy food for the refrigerator. I also organize my workspace so that I can be as productive as possible when I get started the next day. Then I plan out the activities for the week. Continue reading >>

Your past experience could be creating blind spots that are limiting your ability to see better opportunities…

In an earlier article, I wrote about why expertise is the enemy of innovation.

Our past experiences blind us to potentially new and different opportunities in the future.

Therefore, we somehow need to shift our view of the world to be open to new perspectives. Unfortunately, this is not always easy.

We see the world through “filters” we have developed over time based on our failures, our successes, our education, our family, and all of the experiences we’ve had during our lifetime. As a result, we don’t see reality.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to “see” your filter. Our view of the world is all we know.Therefore, to shift your perspective, instead of shifting your filter, replace your filter with a completely different one.

Try this. Each morning when you wake up, make believe you are someone different… Continue reading >>

In a post last week, I shared with you my most recent demo video. Over the years, I’ve had several different versions.

In this post, I share my four primary demo videos from over the years. Although I’ve had other videos for specific purposes (e.g., a Personality Poker demo video), they aren’t included here.

I’m sharing this to help other speakers evaluate their own demo videos. Besides, some of these are good for a laugh.

So with that as background, here’s the evolution of my speaking video, starting with my first one from 2002…

2002: Style over Substance (3 minutes)

This video contains primarily footage of me speaking at a large Accenture event (where I worked from 1986 – 2001), combined with some clips of speeches I did in Singapore. You’ll notice in the opening montage, I am playing the saxophone in one clip. This is from Nice, France when I used to play my saxophone during my speeches. You have to love the double breasted jacket and the dot matrix fonts. As I was just starting out speaking professionally, my goal was to feature large stages where there was more of a focus on entertainment than content.

2009: Unedited Video: TEDxNASA (6 minutes)

7 years later, I decided to retire my first demo video and replace it with my unedited 6-minute TEDx talk I gave to 1,700 rocket scientists. The title of the speech was “Rocket Science Isn’t Always Rocket Science.” The premise is that sometimes the best sources of innovation come from outside your industry. The video proved to be very effective. I had clients say, “If you could deliver that much value in 6 minutes, we can’t imagine how much would be delivered in 45.” This is the only completely memorized speech I’ve ever given, so I certainly didn’t feel relaxed. Regardless, it had a positive impact on my business.

2014: Longer Clips with Social Proof (6 minutes)

My next demo video was created in 2014. It was over 6 minutes and 30 seconds long. Maybe too long. The goal was to show longer clips (2 2-minute clips) that would give people a good sense of my content and style. Because we designed this through the lens of a sales video, there is a lot of social proof included. At the time, this helped me stand out from others who were newer to the business. But this “in your face” approach has hurt me in recent years as people no longer want to be told how great a speaker is – they want to see it. And the voiceovers were a tad cheesy.

2018: Pure Content

My latest video was designed to be pure content. No selling. The only “sales” aspects are some client logos that are subtly shown for a second, and two client testimonials which flash briefly. In an earlier version, we had a testimonial that I decided to remove because it was solely about my speaking style, and I wanted only to focus on results. Our goal was to create a video that was so compelling from a content point of view, that people would want to share it to learn about innovation (not necessarily about me). There is no point where I talk about me as a speaker. We didn’t include any clips of me on TV. I only talk about innovation. I hope you enjoy this!

I am thrilled to share with you my new demo video.

The team at Video Narrative did an incredible job of pulling this together.

We had one design principle: Don’t sell; educate.

We didn’t want this to be a sales pitch. Rather we wanted a video that was content-driven.

Therefore, this 3-minute video is pure content (other than two client quotes and a few client logos done subtly in the background).

In a future post, I will share with you my past demo videos – and earlier versions of this one. That will give you an opportunity to see how things have evolved over the years.

I hope you enjoy this video!

P.S. If you believe I would be a great speaker for an upcoming event, I would love to be connected with the event organizer.  

 

Although we’ve been told that goals are a key to success, what if goal-setting actually reduces performance?

Many years back I worked with a Formula One racing team. At that time, pit crews consisted of 19 guys who serviced the ultrafast, high-tech race– refueling cars, changing tires, and performing required maintenance in a matter of seconds. The pit crew members continually shifted positions to find the optimal configuration of the team. As they practiced, they used a stopwatch to measure their time to the millisecond. There was a point where they hit a performance plateau. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t go any faster.

Then, they tried a counter intuitive approach. Pit crew members were told that instead of focusing on speed they should focus on style. They were to go fast, but they were to think “smooth” as they performed their activities. Movement was more significant than speed. Astonishingly, the pit crew shaved several tenths of a second off their best time, even though they “felt” they were moving more slowly.

The more you focus on a goal, the less likely you are to achieve it. By worrying about the future, you take your eye off the present. And this reduces performance.

Selling Without Selling

This concept applies in all areas of life and business. Continue reading >>

When you are on autopilot, you are highly efficient. But when the rules change around you, this can lead to disaster….

I lived in London for several years. Before moving to England, I considered myself to be an excellent driver. But I quickly learned that some simple changes could make it difficult to operate a car.

I discovered that driving a car on the left side of the road in a right-hand drive car was nearly impossible. I felt incapacitated while behind the wheel. I never knew which way to look. I had a hard time judging the edge of the car and kept hitting the rumble strips on the side of the road. And attempting to drive a manual stick-shift vehicle proved to be even more comical.

After driving for two decades, my skills were on automatic without requiring conscious thought. This might be referred to as unconscious competence; a skill which is second nature.

Unfortunately, moving the steering wheel and driving on the “other” side of the road forced me to think. And thinking caused me to choke. What I had done so well for 20 years was now a complicated task.

What’s going on here?

Continue reading >>

Advances in 3D printing will revolutionize manufacturing and the supply chain…

Imagine you are an executive at UPS. What market shifts would keep you up at night?

Maybe it’s the fact the Amazon.com announced they want to get into the logistics business to compete head-to-head with UPS and FedEx. Maybe it is the rapid development of drone technologies as a way of delivering packages.

But there is something that has the potential to completely disrupt UPS and the entire supply chain: 3D printing.

In today’s world, materials, parts, and finished products are shipped all over the globe. Raw materials are shipped to parts manufactures who ship their items to a company that assembles them into a finished product. The finished product is then shipped to a warehouse that ships it to the end customer. That’s a lot of shipping.

But consider how 3D printing has the potential to shake things up. Now, instead of shipping products you simply email a blueprint and you get the finished product where it is to be used and when you want it. The logistics network is pretty much eliminated.

Knowing this could be a major disruption to their business, UPS has launched an “On-Demand 3D Printing Manufacturing Network” that is designed to get ahead of the game. In addition, they’ve launched 3D printing capabilities in many of their stores.

Continue reading >>

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