Inc. – Invite Fresh Ideas to the Table

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Create an outside team of advisors. Unlike a focus group, they are not anonymous, but purposeful in providing valuable insight about the trends in your market. Your advisory team should always provide data, not assumptions, about what is trending and emerging so your company can be ahead of the learning curve. Members of your advisory team should have term limits, so you are always on-boarding fresh ideas every 2 to 4 years.


How BOSE stays the boss of sound

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Most members own BOSE products, and the noise cancellation head sets have become an essential travel companion. In our hero powered network we wondered “How does BOSE maintain it’s leadership position and continues to develop great products?”.

Here are some clues we found;

BOSE website; “But maybe the most important principle we live by is that innovation is not a destination, but a journey requiring new ideas from new players. So we invite creators, inventors, dreamers and talented people from all walks of life to bring their big ideas, passion and enthusiasm to Bose. See how you can be part of our innovation.”

The origin of the company lies with the founder’s passion to create better sound, Dr. Bose: “1956: The passion for better sound begins
Dr. Bose celebrates earning his PhD by buying himself a new hi-fi. Though he chooses the system based on his analysis of specifications, the sound quality of the winning design disappoints him. His curiosity about the discrepancy compels him to study and research acoustics at MIT in his spare time.

Chitose Suzuki | AP, Dr. Amar G. Bose, founder of the Bose Corporation.

Bose headphones are worn today by professional pilots and have been worn by space shuttle astronauts. Its car audio systems have been factory-installed in luxury brands such as Maserati and Maybach. And it still sells updated versions of its first product, the Bose 901 speaker. CNBC

One way the company achieved it’s technology leadership position is by staying a private company; “Bose was fond of saying that if he had been a public company CEO, he would have been fired several times over. 

He once said, “If I tell you that ‘better’ inspires fear — that even in the corporate world, people are scared of something better, you’d say that’s ridiculous; everybody wants something better. Well, something better is always different. It isn’t possible to make something better that isn’t different. Whatever it is, if it’s exactly the same, it isn’t better. So it’s the ‘different’ that scares people. When something’s different, it’s a heck of a gamble. And that’s where ‘courage’ comes in.” CNBC

The Innovation Excellence team identified these 5 success criteria:

1) R&D overdrive: To date, Bose remains a privately held company that enjoys the freedom of unparalleled R&D advantage, unlike its rivals that are more often than not accountable to share markets, venture capitalists and federal regulators. This enabled Bose to plow its profits back into R&D, capital investments and product developments to ensure company growth, contrary to what a listed company would do.

2) Maverick ideasBose remains uncompromising in taking to market maverick ideas, not pursued by competition, to create products of style with exceptional quality. This is evident from its Bose® Direct/Reflecting® technologyAcoustic Waveguide® technology and the more recent Bose® Suspension System for luxury cars. The focus was clearly on well-understood breakthrough technologies. In addition, the company itself started with a few MIT students and went on to hire people who believed steadfastly in technology. Passion and honesty in the workforce helped Bose drive away fear from competition and concentrate on winning technologies.

3) Understanding consumers’ unspoken motivation: Where products are typically created to meet perceivedcustomers’ needs, Bose took the leap to figure out what people would love to have but never even thought to ask and then went ahead to find the technology, develop the product and bring it to market so that people know about it and appreciate it.

4) Advertising lifestyle, not product: Bose prides itself in its differentiated communications approach to advertising and marketing its products/technologies. Instead of boasting of what it has, the advertising materials are focused on the message of something different and special inside the product, aimed at getting people’s attention.

5) Simplicity: A key differentiator in Bose’ systems is the discernible simplicity – easy to understand what it does, not how it does it and easy to use – departing from myths such as more buttons and knobs, complicated wiring and multi-component systems. Inevitably, Bose targets a niche market willing to pay a premium price for its products. Yet, within this segment, in order to have lots of people use the product, it had to make the products usable by lots of people.


Blackrock’s CEO Larry Fink calls for purpose

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The world’s largest asset manager Blackrock’s CEO Larry Fink calls for purpose in his annual letter:


Purpose and Profit: An Inextricable Link

I wrote last year that every company needs a framework to navigate this difficult landscape, and that it must begin with a clear embodiment of your company’s purpose in your business model and corporate strategy. Purpose is not a mere tagline or marketing campaign; it is a company’s fundamental reason for being – what it does every day to create value for its stakeholders. Purpose is not the sole pursuit of profits but the animating force for achieving them.

Profits are in no way inconsistent with purpose – in fact, profits and purpose are inextricably linked. Profits are essential if a company is to effectively serve all of its stakeholders over time – not only shareholders, but also employees, customers, and communities. Similarly, when a company truly understands and expresses its purpose, it functions with the focus and strategic discipline that drive long-term profitability. Purpose unifies management, employees, and communities. It drives ethical behavior and creates an essential check on actions that go against the best interests of stakeholders. Purpose guides culture, provides a framework for consistent decision-making, and, ultimately, helps sustain long-term financial returns for the shareholders of your company.

The World Needs Your Leadership

click here for Larry Fink’s full letter at 



YOUR PLAN B NEEDS A PLAN B – Nancy Lublin, Founder & CEO of Crisis Text Line – Masters of Scale podcasts with Reid Hoffman

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HOFFMAN: Notice how she keeps turning problems — in this case, piles of useless clothing —  into solutions: sources of funding. That’s why I call the best entrepreneurs “infinite learners”. The more thorny patches they hit, the more effective they become at hacking their way out. The only problem is that some CEOs — like Nancy — get a bit addicted to problem-solving. If there’s no problem to solve, well, they create some.

LUBLIN: I’m a wartime CEO. Once things get good and it’s peacetime I get bored, and I either want to like do something else wild to it or I’ll fuck it up because I’m like, “No but we can do blah blah blah!” And and so I get bored and I move on.

HOFFMAN: This is one of the byproducts of grit. It’s a sort of restless energy that eventually compelled Nancy to leave Dress for Success, once it had scaled.

CLICK HERE for the full transcript and podcast.



Start with Who!

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OUTNR. member Andy Mosmans shares his view on what drives success;

Recently I read a very interesting article on Medium from Michel Bachmann, with the title ‘Start with Who’. It is off course a reaction to one of the most popular TED Talks of Simon Sinek in which he encourages people to ‘Start with Why’. That is, leaders should focus on articulating their organization’s purpose to move people into action.

An alternative way of thinking is presented by Bachmann in which the WHY still matters, but at the starting point of the dynamic Golden Spiral (instead of the – static – Golden Circle) model, the WHO is placed at the core, see below.

1. WHO are we and what do we stand for, I call this: PASSION.

2. WHY do we exist and what is our ambition, I call this: PURPOSE.

3. HOW do we work together to realize our ambition, I call this: PROCESS

4. WHAT’s our concrete offering to the world, I call this PRODUCT.

I like this model better, because, as Michel Bachmann states: ‘It’s all about people’! Because, people identify with people: ‘You attract who you are’, and: ‘The WHY is a good story, the WHO is the lived experience’!

The WHO is about the WAY a corporation or community of people comes to being, lives and behaves. And especially this is very fundamental. Because, as Bananarama once sang it: ‘It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it’. The Passion and/or I could also say the Personality, Principles and Pride of the people who are the corporation, community or brand make all the difference.

No surprise the world’s most popular song at funerals is ‘I did it my way’. Everyone aspires to be a truly unique personality, a one of a kind character who lives life purposefully to its full potential. And inspires others to do the same. In their own unique way. Why? Because we are creative by nature, and because – as Steve Jobs once told a class of MBA students – ‘Life is simply too short to live that of somebody else’.

So, finding your flow and doing it your way is essential. For people, but also for brands and corporations of all kinds. To lead the way. Their way. To be a one and only. A rebel with a cause. A legendary that makes things happen. Not a laggard that watches things happen. Or worse, a loser that wonders what happened.

I’d like to call the WAY of a company, its ‘Corporate Spirit’. Which can be sensed immediately and is a a very sustainable force to provide genuine meaning, direction and community for corporations and brands. Or as Howard Schultz, ceo of Starbucks, puts it:

‘In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart. They are real and sustainable. Their foundations are stronger because they are built with the strength of the human spirit, not an ad campaign. The companies that are lasting are those that are authentic’.

Some companies are more spirited than others and the spirit of one company can feel much better than that of another. Spirited means: ‘full of energy, enthusiasm, and determination, lively, vivacious, vibrant, full of life, vital, animated, high-spirited, sparkling, sprightly, energetic, active, vigorous, dynamic, dashing, enthusiastic, passionate, fiery; having a specified character, attitude, or mood and warm-hearted.

Corporate Spirit has a link to the concept of ‘Esprit de Corps’. If you’ve ever been on a sports team that had great morale and team spirit, you’ve experienced ‘esprit de corps’. The term is French, and it literally means “the spirit of the body,” with body in this case meaning ‘group’. Originally, esprit de corps was used to describe the morale of military troops. More general esprit de corps means: ‘the common spirit existing in the members of a group and inspiring enthusiasm, devotion, and strong regard for the honor of the group’.

Esprit de corps is also one of Henri Fayol’s 14 Principles of Management, a framework that he already published in 1916! He pointed out that managers should create and foster among their employees the morale, common spirit, sense of identification, feeling of pride, loyalty, devotion, honor, solidarity, unity and cohesiveness with respect to their organization or organizational department. So, esprit the corps here means team spirit and team work. This 14th principle emphasizes on team work. ‘Unity is strength’ is the essence of this principle. Fayol suggested that there should be a team spirit in the organization and all the employees must consider themselves as member of the organization. The organization should be considered as a team and all the employees as its member. When the employees are considered as member, it develops a feeling of belongingness among them and thus each of them contributes to the achievement of the organizational goal. This sense of togetherness helps the employees to perform with greater efficiency and positive attitude towards the work.

From this perspective, it is interesting to have a look a company that recently has been very visible as the top-level sponsor of the FIFA World Cup Soccer 2018 in Russia. I’m talking about (the for me so far unknown, but huge) Wanda Group. Wanda Group was founded in 1988, has a team of over 110.000 employees and is engaged in three key business activities – commercial properties, culture, and finance. Wanda Commercial Properties is the world’s largest real estate enterprise and the biggest five-star hotel owner in the world. Wanda Cultural Industry Group, meanwhile, is the largest cultural enterprise in China, and the world’s largest cinema operator.

Wanda GroupThe conglomerate is led by Wang Jianlin, who has served as Chairman of the Wanda Group since 1988. I don’t know the man, but purely the fact that he (alone) is glorified by a several pages long biography on the corporate website that mentions not less than 30 great awards, prizes and achievements, gives thought. Especially when he is quoted to believe (Principles) that: ‘The highest pursuit in life is that of the spiritual nature, and the pinnacle of business management is the management of culture’. And the mission of the company reads: ‘Charitable wealth, common prosperity’ and with ‘social value’ as the most important value.

So let’s keep an eye on (a fish called 😉 Wanda. Because, when it all starts with WHO, ‘to be or not to be’ is definitely the question!

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