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In Innovation, Emphasize the Big Idea

Innovative ideas are like frogs’ eggs: of a thousand hatched, only one or two survive to maturity.

The innovative organization understands that innovation starts with an idea. Ideas are somewhat like babies – they are born small, immature, and shapeless. They are promise rather than fulfillment. In the innovative organization executives do not say, “This is a damn-fool idea.” Instead they ask, “What would be needed to make this embryonic, half-baked, foolish idea into something that makes sense, that is feasible, that is an opportunity for us?”

But an innovative organization also knows that the great majority of ideas will turn out not to make sense. Executives in innovative organizations therefore demand that people with ideas think through the work needed to turn an idea into a product, a process, a business, or a technology. They ask, “What work should we have to do and what would we have to find out and learn before we can commit the company to this idea of yours?” These executives know that it is as to make a major innovation. They do not aim at “improvements” or “modifications” in products or technology. They aim at innovating a new business.

ACTION POINT: Make a list of your three ideas. Then make a list of the key pieces of information you need to know and the major work that needs to be done before these ideas can blossom into a new business. Now pursue the best idea, or if none is practical, start again.

Managing for the Future

Prediction of future events is futile.

The stating point to know the future is the realization that there are who different, though complementary, approaches:

  • Finding and exploiting the time lag between the appearance of a discontinuity in the economy and society and its full impact – one might call this anticipation of a future that has already happened.
  • Imposing on the yet unborn future a new idea that tries to give direction and shape to what is to come. This one might call making the future happen.

The future that has already happened is not within the present business; it is outside: a change in society, knowledge, culture, industry, or economic structure. It is, moreover, a major trend, a break in the pattern rather than a variation within it. Looking for the future that has already happened and anticipating its impacts introduces new perception in the beholder. The need is to make oneself see it. What then could or should be done is usually not too difficult to discover. The opportunities are neither remote nor obscure. The pattern has to be recognized first.

Predicting the future can only get you in trouble. The task is to manage what is there and to work to create what could and should be.

ACTION POINT: Spot a discontinuity in the economy or society that has appeared and presents an opportunity for your enterprise. Determine how long it will take for this change to impact the business. Develop a business plan to cash in on this insight.

“Be careful about reading health books. Some fine day you’ll die of a misprint.”

Markus Herz

“Keep your best wishes, close to your heart and watch what happens”

Tony DeLiso

“A fit, healthy body—that is the best fashion statement”

Jess C. Scott

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”


“The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it.”

Tricia Cunningham


“We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.”

Kurt Vonnegut

“I’ll sit on a soda and drink a sofa. It’s just healthier. You should see how I make love. Show starts at 8:00. Tickets are ten bucks at the window.”

Jarod Kintz

“One rarely falls in love without being as much attracted to what is interestingly wrong with someone as what is objectively healthy.”

Alain de Botton

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”

Winston S. Churchill

You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself.

Geneen Roth

“Love lets us ride on its back as if it were a camel. But you’ve got to water it, or it won’t grow into a healthy rose bush.”

Jarod Kintz

“Money cannot buy health, but I’d settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.”

Dorothy Parker

“Happiness is part of who we are. Joy is the feeling”

Tony DeLiso

“A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us. ”

Pema Chödrön

“. . . hell is wanting to be somewhere different from where you are. Being one place and wanting to be somewhere else . . . . Wanting life to be different from what it is. That’s also called leaving without leaving. Dying before you die. It’s as if there is a part of you that so rails against being shattered by love that you shatter yourself first.”

Geneen Roth

“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.”

Louis Pasteur

“If we are creating ourselves all the time, then it is never too late to begin creating the bodies we want instead of the ones we mistakenly assume we are stuck with.”

Deepak Chopra

“It’s a pretty amazing to wake up every morning, knowing that every decision I make is to cause as little harm as possible. It’s a pretty fantastic way to live.”

Colleen Patrick

“Respect your body. Eat well. Dance forever.”

Eliza Gaynor Minden

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