jump start your brain
I was excited to meet one of my innovation heroes today – Doug Hall, author of books like Jump Start Your Brain and founder of the famous Eureka Ranch. The UK Marketing Society nicely invited me to be on a panel at an event called "Doubling your Chances of Success" and Doug was the keynote. He has been an inspiration to me ever since I read one of his books as a General Mills intern and taped this quote over my desk:
"Don’t be afraid to take risks. Corporations have an amazing array of checks, balances, and safety nets to prevent you from hitting the wall at ninety miles an hour. Be bold and brash. Develop a reputation for it."
Doug’s message today was that we need to kill the stage gate process entirely and radically retool our innovation approach. That our our new product hit rate is so abysmal because of our process, and that big companies can learn a lot from little companies (which innovate differently by necessity). As he put it, "95% of all breakthroughs since WWII have come from small and mid-size companies".
This was good news to me. I gave a method case study, where I summarized our plight competing against big Goliath companies with this factoid: in 2006, our competitors spent a combined $2.8 billion in advertising. We spent just over $3 million. We estimate they spent a combined $15 million just on toilet paper, 5X our entire marketing budget. Gulp.