Read: Has Innovation Lost its Meaning?

Noah Brier, one of the founders of Percolate, was recently interview in Fast Company where he addressed the meaning of innovation.

After reading Josef Schumpeter, who is known as one of the first people in our industry to really talk about innovation, Brier came up with his own interpretation of what innovation in today's world needs to mean.

"Innovation is part of a process that involves creating something new (invention), figuring out how to commercialize it (innovation) and then actually getting to adopt it (marketing)."

The interview also asked Brier, "How do you go about creating a culture of innovation?"

"If you buy my definition above then creating that culture involves both committing to inventing (or at least watching the market very closely) and then having a group of people in place with a keen understanding of the market dynamics and the ability to understand how to take an idea that is often half-baked and turn it into something the market will buy into.”

I love how Brier connects the dots here. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the work that comes flying our way but it's important to take a step back and really assess if we've pushed the ideas far enough. It’s about making the time and creating the space so that we have the ability to truly innovate for our clients.

You can read the rest of the interview here.

Thank You: Steve Jobs

 

"[Y]ou can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." -- Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.

Moment: John Lennon

 On the anniversary of John Lennon's assassination, a lovely op-ed piece by Yoko in today's New York Times:

The Tea Maker

By Yoko Ono

JOHN and I are in our Dakota kitchen in the middle of the night. Three cats — Sasha, Micha and Charo — are looking up at John, who is making tea for us two.

Sasha is all white, Micha is all black. They are both gorgeous, classy Persian cats. Charo, on the other hand, is a mutt. John used to have a special love for Charo. “You’ve got a funny face, Charo!” he would say, and pat her.

“Yoko, Yoko, you’re supposed to first put the tea bags in, and then the hot water.” John took the role of the tea maker, for being English. So I gave up doing it.

It was nice to be up in the middle of the night, when there was no sound in the house, and sip the tea John would make. One night, however, John said: “I was talking to Aunt Mimi this afternoon and she says you are supposed to put the hot water in first. Then the tea bag. I could swear she taught me to put the tea bag in first, but ...”

“So all this time, we were doing it wrong?”

“Yeah ...”

We both cracked up. That was in 1980. Neither of us knew that it was to be the last year of our life together.

This would have been the 70th birthday year for John if only he was here. But people are not questioning if he is here or not. They just love him and are keeping him alive with their love. I’ve received notes from people in all corners of the world letting me know that they were celebrating this year to thank John for having given us so much in his 40 short years on earth.

The most important gift we received from him was not words, but deeds. He believed in Truth, and had dared to speak up. We all knew that he upset certain powerful people with it. But that was John. He couldn’t have been any other way. If he were here now, I think he would still be shouting the truth. Without the truth, there would be no way to achieve world peace.

On this day, the day he was assassinated, what I remember is the night we both cracked up drinking tea.

They say teenagers laugh at the drop of a hat. Nowadays I see many teenagers sad and angry with each other. John and I were hardly teenagers. But my memory of us is that we were a couple who laughed.

Making it Happen: Hospitality

I've been a  long time admirer of restaurant and hospitality guru Danny Meyer.  He has successfully created some of NYC's best restaurants including Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, Blue Smoke and Shake Shack.  Every one of his restaurants has a unique point of view and offers some of my all time personal favorite dining experiences available in NYC. A few years ago he wrote the book, Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business.  At first glance one might think  the book exclusively caters to the restaurant industry, but a few chapters in, it becomes clear that this books speaks to and provides insight for entrepreneurs and business leaders in any industry.

Towards the end of the book he writes about the importance of context when making decisions.  I found his criteria for making these critical choices particularly poignant as I decide how to expand my own business and take on new projects.

The "Yes" Criteria for New Ventures according to Danny Meyer

  • An in-depth pro forma analysis convinces that it is a wise and safe investment.
  • The opportunity fits and enhances our company’s overall strategic goals and objectives
  • The opportunity represents a chance to create a business venture that is perceived as groundbreaking, trailblazing and fresh
  • The timing is right for our company’s capacity to grow with excellence, especially in terms of having enough key employees who are themselves and interested and ready to grow
  • We believe we have the capacity to be category leaders within whatever niche we are pursuing
  • We believe our existing business will benefit and improve by virtue of or notwithstanding our pursuing this new opportunity
  • We feel excited and passionate about this idea.  Pursuing it will be an opportunity to learn, grow, and have fun!
  • We are excited about doing business in this community
  • The context is the right fit.  Our restaurant and our style of doing business will be in harmony with its location

World Building in a Crazy World

worldbuilding-big Many of you are probably familiar with Jonathan Harris.   He is, in my mind, a genius.  While he has created a number of fantastic projects, he seems to have gotten the most press for We Feel Fine, an interactive exploration of human emotion, which also just recently became the We Feel Fine book.  If you haven't checked it out, do.

More recently, he created a series of vignettes titled World Building in a Crazy World, which are based on a talk he gave at UCLA as part of the Mobile Media Lecture Series.  When I first came across them, I was in a cozy hotel in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome wrapping up a two week vacation and mildly dreading heading back to NYC.  After reading them, my mind shifted; I wanted to dive back into the projects I was working on and see how I could make them better.  I became "less concerned with how the world is, and more with how the world could and should be."  As Jonathan sees it, the series is about the current state of the digital world.  As I see it, the vignettes are about life and how to be more conscious of how we live it.

Think about his points.  Soak them in.   Apply them to your life where it feels right.  I did and I'm a better person because of it.

Quotable: A Moveable Feast

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"As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty  feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans." -Ernest Hemingway

Next weekend I will be on the South Shore of Massachusetts enjoying some of these beauties myself.