I feel blessed to have learned early in life to develop my instincts and always test them so I could trust them. Later in life, some of us learned that would be a crucial strategy if and where applied to business and pretty much anywhere. That does not make me perfect, or visionary, maybe just a better human being.
I half laugh at the folks who self-assign labels like visionary or Guru as I know any real status like that may be momentary and certainly transitional. Many that do achieve something near that level, often then milk it for all its worth rather than staying on top of that next new thought that rarely hits like a big idea tsunami, more like a trickle that only astute listening and observation can reveal.
As a person whose creative profession has a strict survival code, meaning are we giving entrepreneurs and clients the latest and soundest advice, I have to choose the people who influence me wisely while staying open to a variety of sources. Some of the people i think of as being able to define real value just a little bit before the market knows to look for it, include:
1. Alex Pattakos - his book "Prisoners of our thoughts" teaches us how important our own attitudes are in terms of survival, creating value, being human, positive and creating a worthwhile life. He now is using the Greek word "OPA" and its principles to connect people and business to more meaning in life. The "O" stands for Others; the "P" stands for Purpose; the "A" stands for Attitude. We touch base several times a year and he always leaves me with a better compass about what is important through his influence and passion.
2. Harvard Professor Clayton Christensen- His book "The Innovator's Dilemma" was the start of some of the best thinking about innovation, business as he also exposes where traditional and fiscal thinking can be seriously flawed. It pained me to learn he had a stroke recently though he seems recovered as we all can benefit by the strategies he articulates so well. He truly is that breath of fresh and pure air that we all need and now at a time when it is urgent.
3. Bernie Dohrmann - An article in Fast Company that simply asked "who do our visionaries go to for inspiration?" and his name was highlighted. Admitedly, i know the least about him, and yet his brief description of Open Innovation as the new power business model served to motivate me to apply that same thinking to two purpose driven social business models I have just developed. It is not for everyone or something everyone can do initially.
The power notion behind this is collaboration and cooperation creating greater value for others (see Alex Pattakos "O" in OPA). When creating value for others takes priority one in a business, the same "others" become advocates and that business that started out in selflessness, can actually become profitable.
One can say Open Source is a valid example. Newman's own was another variation where the purpose - giving all profits to charities - superseded the product - salad dressing, tomato sauce, other quality food products, but for many who do choose this product, loyalty really does happen as an after-effect of supporting a mission that supports communities.
We are seriously applying this model to helping entrepreneurs - more of them than incubators alone can help, meaning that other 97% - knowing if more entrepreneurs succeed, our economy, primary jobs and this new social entrepreneur will benefit us all.
We are now approaching natural partners who can drive components key to this new eco-system achieving its full value, so we welcome inquiries if you may be interested and suspect as we do, that this will be meaningful work. I can say that it serves entrepreneurs first while benefiting advisors, sponsors and investors beyond the norm. The revenues generated are strong, shared so perfect for open innovation.
Let us know what you think via this blog or contact me directly at Headwaters Marketing.