Big corporate innovation or startup getting off the ground, the challenges are similar. Amy Radin knows something of both. She went from direct marketing to becoming the first Chief Innovation Officer of Citibank. Now she advises startups. Her latest book, The Change Maker’s Playbook, offers insight on getting your innovation from idea to scaling. In today’s show, Amy defines what it means to be a change maker and how to win in the innovation game.
The Change Maker at Work
As the internet emerged, Amy recognized its future impact. Her direct marketing experience gave her insight. She went on to lead digital transformation at Citibank. She knows first-hand the hard work of corporate innovation. The nature of big companies is “predictability” and “continuity.” Innovation disrupts that momentum. Amy prepared for resistance by pulling together a strong, diverse, collaborative team. She built strong partnerships. And she used her direct marketing skills. Amy put consumer insight up front: know the customer’s unmet need, then meet it with technology.
Corporate Innovator versus Startup
When it comes to innovation, do corporate innovators and startups have anything in common?
Amy interviewed innovators from large and small sized companies across sectors. She found that the “how” differs, but the challenges are similar. The startup has speed, passion, and purpose. The less agile corporate entity has the advantage of resources, scale, and brand infrastructure. With each having its advantage, the real success for corporations and startups is to partner.
Defining a Change Maker
A change maker finds a solution to a market problem. With purpose and passion, the change maker drives the idea to execution and scaling. Through hurdles and successes, the change maker sees it through. In reality, rarely is it one person who does it all. The change maker is a team. One person may have the initial idea and leadership. That person brings the right team together, finding those who have the skills to fill the gaps. This team becomes the change maker.
Framework for Innovation
Amy has developed a framework for innovation. It’s based on thorough research and her own experience. Through interviews with founders, investors and corporate innovators across sectors, she formed this practical approach.
The pillars of this framework are seek, seed, scale.
- Once an idea takes root, focusing on target users’ insights.
- Finding answers through users’ behavior.
- Validating your concept through prototype.
- Connecting user insights to your business model.
- Amy calls it the “green light moment”
- Confirm you have what’s needed to scale.
Key Advice from a Change Maker
Amy’s key advice for innovators and change makers is to listen. Listen to users so you can fully grasp their needs. Listen to those you need to influence. Listen for the emotional reaction. In Amy’s words, “360 listening is going to help change makers be more successful.”
To learn more about Amy’s framework for innovation and how to be A Change Maker in the Innovation Game, read The Change Maker’s Playbook. Find excerpts and a free download infographic on seek, seed, scale at Amy’s website.
Every hot trend reaches a point I like to call the “Uncle Larry moment.” It’s when something that was futuristic, cutting-edge, exciting becomes passé. Has your company’s customer outreach reached an “Uncle Larry moment”? Don’t be a follower. Be an early adopter.
Five Minutes to New Ideas
Listen to Five Minutes to New Ideas for insight on keeping a cutting-edge link to your customers.
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This show is produced by The Innovators Network