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Obviously, Covid-19 has brought massive uncertainty to businesses. From managing remote workers, to internal communications dominated by video platforms, to the devastation of small business buyers and consumer budgets, the ‘new normal’ would have been barely recognizable at the beginning of 2020. Make no mistake, the pandemic disrupted business.

But is the pandemic the root cause? Are business leaders looking forward to the day they can go back to the way it was before?

To think so is to miss out on what’s really happening. The world has endured 3 massive economic disruptions in the first 2 decades of the…

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According to the Duke University/CFO Business Outlook survey, the longest-running and among the most respected research of financial executives, nearly half of the CFOs surveyed believe that the United States will enter a recession by the end of 2019, and 82% expect that a recession will happen by the end of 2020.

For those of you out there running your company’s innovation program, you know what that likely means. Despite the fact that mature innovation programs are constructed in such a way to protect against downturns, they are often the first programs to be cut. Worse, despite the increase in…

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People often have different ideas of what makes a good leader. The definition of a leader, to me, is someone who empowers others to be all that they can be. They must bring out the best in people and help them realize their potential, including how to pursue their own ideas for solving problems. It is crucial as a leader to empower your employees, teach them how to be an A-Player, have great communication with them, and have empathy for one another.

“Don’t Measure My Performance, Teach Me How to Get an A.” — Garry Ridge

For example, Garry Ridge…

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This is a follow up post to my previous article “Why customer feedback is killing your innovation efforts”. I got a lot of comments misunderstanding my point about how asking customers for feedback is detrimental to building an innovative product. To clarify, I’m going to use a real-world example of a startup I mentored at Techstars who’s method for building their MVP embodies my point that insights are always more valuable than feedback.

“Feedback” is a loaded word. Asking for it in the wrong way not only will result in poor information, it can actually hurt your business because more…

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Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

What feedback really means

feedback (fēdˈbăkˌ)
The return of a portion of the output of a process or system to the input, especially when used to maintain performance or to control a system or process.

Feedback is not what people think it is. Originally, feedback is an electronic signal received in response to an electronic output. The signal received back can help determine if the outbound signal was “right” or received properly. Today, the term can be applied to non-electronic and non-automated processes, too.

Feedback is good for improving or correcting a process. It’s not good for measuring the impact of the process…

Can you clearly define your customer, their problem, and your solution?

This is why we’re pleased to share our Problem and Solution Zoom tools with you.

Our Customer Zoom tool that helps you identify needs, behaviors, pains, and most importantly, opportunities has been publicly available for a while now. But since we’ve been having great results using the Problem and Solution Zooms in our Lean Innovation Bootcamps and Accelerators throughout the past year, we decided you should have access too.

Problem Zoom

Zoom in on your customer’s problem to uncover their desired outcomes, pains and problems

I know we CAN build it. But, SHOULD we?

It’s not uncommon to hear this question after a product has…

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Every new year brings optimism. In January, we declare our resolutions, even if they’re the same as last year’s. And, each year, large enterprise CEOs inspire employees with a call to action: “This is the year that we’re doing a big push to innovate.”

It’s a necessary first step to enterprise innovation, but that alone will not be an organization’s saving grace. If you want employees to innovate, they need to work differently, and it’s up to the leadership to create an environment that enables them to do so.

Here are 5 of the biggest leadership changes that drive real results:

1. Walk Back Wall Street

In the 1970s, Milton Friedman argued the role of business was…

There’s tons of tools and frameworks, why a new one?

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Great tools exist to track the current state of startup’s and enterprise innovation team’s business model assumptions.

Ash Maurya’s Lean Canvas and Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas come to mind. Tools/frameworks also exist to define and track experiments, such as Dave McClure’s Pirate Metrics, LSM’s Experiment board and our own Moves the Needle Experiment Map. Similar tools have been around for ages, by the way; used in lean manufacturing processes, Agile, kanban, scrum, etc.

We appreciate the analog nature of these tools, because teams gather around the boards and discuss, brainstorm and share. The digital versions will come — well, they’re…

Brant Cooper

NYT Bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur. New book coming September, 2021: Disruption Proof

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