Innovation: Insights to Invoices
Yesterday, Sekou Andrews offered a wonderfully simple, yet brilliant definition of innovation as no else could – “Insights to Invoices!” Using his signature poetic voice to open the day’s festivities, Andrews set the tone for an innovation theme that focused squarely on the importance of simplicity, how innovation can take place within innovation, and how creating a culture that makes innovation an everyday practice at every level of your company is essential.
Yesterday’s event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was the second of twenty Vistage Executive Summits that will crisscross the country in 2014. JJ Ramberg (Host of MSNBC ‘s Your Business), served as the event emcee, leading an all-star lineup of speakers including Sekou Andrews; Former Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell; University of Michigan Research Professor, Dr. Richard Curtin; Author and Leadership Coach, Robert H. Thompson; Franklin & Marshall Professor, Dr. Cynthia Krom; and Afterburner, Inc. Marine Reserve Fight Pilot, “Lips” Houlihan.
After Sekou’s first appearance in the morning, JJ talked about the importance of keeping it simple, suggesting that we can tend to complicate situations to our detriment and that if we can keep our ideas simple and clean, then they can become successful innovations. Her interview with Governor Rendell was extraordinary! For many people, innovation is the last thing they might think about when it comes to big government. Rendell, however, cited numerous innovations that took place while he was mayor of Philadelphia and governor, and made a special point about how not all innovation comes from the top. In many cases, he said, it’s about providing front line employees with the opportunity to be heard and share their ideas.
Dr. Curtin talked about the Vistage CEO Confidence Index (which he leads), which has been a Vistage staple for more than 11 years now, noting that it’s a harbinger for GDP and employment. (Nice to have insight into the world in which you’re being challenged to innovate!) Robert Thompson delivered a high energy presentation about the importance of growing innovative leaders throughout your organization. His presentation was followed by Dr. Krom’s look back and look forward, offering some terrific lessons from history about how we can innovate within innovation. (More on that in my next post!)
“Lips” Houlihan brought the event in for a safe landing by stressing the importance of flawless execution. Innovation is great, but if it’s poorly executed, everyone loses!
I guess it comes down to this: If you don’t keep it simple, involve your people at every level and know where to look for opportunities, you may come up with a few insights, but probably no invoices!