The Most Creative People in Business Today

June 26, 2009
Red Bull has pushed the boundaries between retailing, sports marketing and entertainment.

Red Bull has pushed the boundaries between retailing, sports marketing and entertainment.

Fast Company Magazine (June 2009) has captured the essence of the top 100 most creative people in business today.

Here are some of the trends:

– Ability to foresee future consumer needs and improve the effiency of delivering service products. (CIO John Garing, Defense Information Systems Agency ; Chief Economist Susan Athey, Microsoft; and Co-Chair/Trustee Melinda Gates, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)

– Openness to constantly improve and update the useability of a product.  (Sr. V.P. of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive, Apple)

– Make your content accessible and sharable. (President Michele Ganeless, Comedy Central)

– Environmental leadership (self-imposed is most impressive) and sustainable business design. (Fashion Designer Stella McCartney and Sustainable Design Program Manager Dawn Danby, Autodesk)

– Hybrid various industries. (CEO Dietrich Mateschitz, Red Bull)

– Cut out the middle man and create your own distribution channels. (Artist Damien Hirst)

– Ignore the rules…push the boundaries. (Global Director of Media Arts Lee Clow, TBWA/Worldwide)

– Build an alternative business model that allows access to the otherwise disenfranchised.  (Founder Shai Reshef, University of the People)

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                  Tips for a Successful Launch

                  June 21, 2009
                  Heidi's Heavenly Cookies

                  Heidi's Heavenly Cookies

                  Heidi Nel, owner of Heidi’s Heavenly Cookies, suggests the following ‘tried and true’ tips for a successful launch since beginning a cookie business out of her home in 2001:

                  BE GENEROUS

                  In addition to sending her product to her immediate network of friends and family, she also sent them to business leaders and the media.  Assuming you have a great product coupled with beautiful packaging, garnering media acclaim will quickly move your business into the spotlight.

                  BE PATIENT

                  Building a brand takes time, hard work, sacrifice and long hours.

                  TIMING IS EVERYTHING

                  Think strategically and practically as opportunities arise for your business.  Some public relation/advertising invitations may not always be well-time for your business’ developmental time-line.

                  PRIORITIZE

                  First, get clear on your priorities (both professionally and personally).  Then, be sure that you are always able to gage whether your current goal meets your larger priorities.

                  CULTIVATE YOUR PERSONAL RESERVES

                  If you don’t take the time out to build up your personal reserves (i.e. engaging in your hobbies, recharging), your business and your family life will suffer.  Be sure to schedule time to unwind, get away from your business and do things that make you happy.

                  LEARN HOW TO LEAD

                  Don’t get stuck down in the trenches. You will never be effective if you don’t take the time to plan for the future of your business. It is critical that you delegate out your original roles and focus on the higher aspects of running your company.

                  UNDERSTAND THAT CHANGE IS GOOD

                  In order to move forward, you must grow and let go. Every transition moves you into a new dynamic that you must embrace.


                  The Evolution of the Entrepreneur

                  June 7, 2009

                  business-evolution

                  Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and Built to Last, was interviewed by Inc. Magazine( April 09) and cited 5 key evolutions that have raised the idea of entrepreneurship as a systematic and replicable process.  Those evolutions are:

                  1) A rise in capital mechanisms; i.e. now there are various means of obtaining venture funds.

                  2) A rise in educational mechanisms; i.e. the idea that entrepreneurship is now a learnable process.

                  3) A shift in the image of an entrepreneur from a bad word to a hero.

                  4) A shift in viewing entrepreneurship as the creation of a better product to a better process.

                  5) Three/possibly four stages of an entrepreneur:  First, a great idea; second, a successful business; thirdly, a great company and now fourth, a great movement.

                  Mr. Collins references Wendy Kopp of Teach for America as an example of the modern day, representing the proposed fourth stage of an, entrepreneur.  Ms. Kopp, ” is out to utterly transform education…taking an entrepreneurial, let’s-do-something approach to tackling a massive social problem.”  Mr. Collins then explains that the leading entrepreneurs of the past three decades: Steve Jobs, Ken Iverson, Herb Kelleher, Anita Roddick, Yvon Chouinard, Howard Schultz, and Jeff Bezos all also set out with purposes larger than what they were doing.

                  The thoughtleader is emphatic to point out that a movement will not simply be able to stand on it’s own. It must evolve on the shoulders of a sound, stragetic business that is held together by a very effective set of processes and values.  Secondly, despite the fundamental economic differences between the private sector and non-profits, Mr. Collins believes that the social sector may have more to teach us in the coming years.  The reason being that in private business, leadership is often mistaken for concentrated power.  In the non-profit world, the ability to truly lead and get things done is a learned and earned skill that cannot simply be commanded.

                  I found this article incredibly inspiring and enlightening.  Oftentimes the original ideals and inspirations behind some of our greatest and most profitable companies were founded on a simply, yet lofty personal legacy goal of their creator.  This dialogue underscores the responsibility to create a legacy that will not only improve our world today, but the world of our children and their children.  What do you think? Do you agree that the next stage of an entrepreneur will be the development of a great movement?