Innovate or Die.

FIVE THôT Editor-in-Chief and columnist David Allen Ibsen is a market-driven business strategist and CEO of Five Meetings Before Lunch. These are his Ibservations.

A body in motion tends to stay in motion.

This truth is also evident in business.

Change—the movement towards reinvention, reinvigoration, and innovation, is a requirement in today’s business world.

Those who stand still risk losing their competitive edge. Those who expect stable quarter-over-quarter growth without constant reinvention and reconfiguration are living in a fantasy world or yore.

Stability in business is simply not a characteristic of today’s business environment. Nor is a singular upward trajectory of growth.

Competitive advantage in business is increasingly transitory and seems to spin faster and faster every day. Just look at the pace of change that’s going on in every market. Winners in business (whether as individuals or companies) are those with the resilience and the ability to innovate and reinvent and transform in a constant fashion.

Innovate or Die.

Innovation can occur in businesses big and small. LG, IBM, Starbucks, Apple, Amazon, all look to ways to innovate, and have grown because of it. Companies like Best Buy, Kodak, Blockbuster, and Sears have suffered for their lack of ability to adapt, adjust; reinvent and reconfigure.

In fact, more and more large enterprises, taking a page from start-up strategy (and the failure of others), are embracing open innovation and are integrating entrepreneurial behaviors with their existing corporate walls. Those who act as Catalysts for Change within organizations are being rewarded like never before. 

But don’t wait for others to innovate. Use corporate resources and scale, to create and implement solutions that help your organization innovate. Become a Catalyst of Innovation in 2013.

Here are five ways to kick-start the year with some innovative approaches to business growth.

1). Change a little, Change a lot.

There is evolutionary change, and revolutionary change. To soften the shock of change (and to lessen the risk), plan several strategies that are evolutionary—based on incremental alterations to programs based on learnings from programs that either succeed and failed. Fix broken programs, and improve successful ones—don't just rest on your laurels, or wallow in your failures. Next, add some revolutionary change to your planning—shock and awe your organization with one or two, or three risky, out-of-the-box strategies, and see how it works.

2). Fail Fast.

When implementing change, it is important to keep a close eye on the successful components, as well as the elements that aren’t working. Don’t be afraid to take risks, and don’t hesitate to pull the plug if all signs point to failure. Don’t let pride, ego and arrogance keep you from admitting failure.

3). Adapt to keep up. Innovate to move forward.

There are certain strategies and tactics in today’s competitive transitory world that require you to keep up with the market just to survive. That’s not innovative change, but it is necessary. Innovative change comes from plans and programs that help you leap into new areas, and to pivot into new markets. Know the difference between change that helps you tread water, and change that propels you across the ocean. Both will bring success.

4). Keeping busy vs. Moving ahead

You need to know the difference between activities that keep you busy, and those that have an affect on business. A plan is no good if it never gets implemented, and a program is only valuable if it creates change.

5). Bake in the business mantra—innovate or die.

Slow-paced big-company politics are so obsolete. Vow to adapt, reinvent, reinvigorate and innovate your company, and your life.

Like I said, Innovate or die.



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