Invent, Reinvent, Thrive

You’ve heard it all before. The world is changing. Nothing stays the same. Change is the only constant. One thing does stay the same. Solving complex problems and creating fresh opportunities for growth in a changing world begins with thinking differently. Call it creative thinking, thinking innovatively or just looking at things from a different perspective.

So what stops us from stepping forward and taking a risk at doing things differently – Is it fear? Is it lack of courage? Is it lack of risk taking? Is it a perceived lack of power?

Do we totally need to change or just rethink?

Kevin Roberts, renowned Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, in a recent blog post, critiqued a book about reinvention, Invent Reinvent Thrive by Lloyd Shefsky (who is a Kellogg School of Management Professor).

What Shefsky identified, was that above anything else, you must be open to change if you want to survive and thrive as a business. “Everything else comes after that’.

Reinvention is the common thread of business success, and it’s not just about starting with a new idea or concept that breaks the mold, but about fully embracing change while the business grows – recognizing that constant innovation is key to surviving in today’s world of uncertainty.

I found it interesting that the trigger for his writing the book was a realization that people who succeed do so because they reinvent themselves and their businesses. The people he interviewed all did it and continue to do it. The old adage that nothing stays the same. To inform his book, Shefsky went out and spoke with entrepreneurs and family business giants, including highly successful companies such as Starbucks, Costco, Charles Schwab & Co. and Staples.

The most fascinating example for me was that of Starbucks. Anyone who has been to America can attest that the coffee is not like you get in Europe, Australia and other coffee drinking countries. So Founder, Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz had an idea, and then went about “trying to convince the American public – who were used to bad coffee – that they should pay a fortune to get some kind of different coffee that they had never tasted in a paper cup and be happy”. But that is not the point – what Schultz really ended up selling was an experience, the opportunity for people to belong to a secret club, where a different language was spoken, ordering a ‘doppio’ instead of a ‘double espresso’. People wanted to be a part of it.

As Shefsky highlights…

“…invention is really critical. Yes, it takes confidence. Yes, it takes guts. Yes, it takes skill. But you really have to figure out how you’re going to reinvent… Recognize that even the best success stories you can imagine miss things and mess up things. So that’s another kind of reinvention: After you mess up how do you reinvent it to put it back together?”

So it got me thinking – how do we create a culture of innovation? Shifting perspectives is a good starting point!

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Anna Harper

Anna leads Cultural Shapeshifters, a consortium of accredited practitioners and extraordinary thought leaders. A shapeshifter and guide, she works as a leadership advisor and systems change agent. Currently based in Sydney, Australia with extensive work throughout Asia.