Your Next Big Idea Could Be the Difference Between Having a Future or Not Having a Future

by Mike Sleppin

Mike Sleppin's specialty is creating significant positive change in people-intensive industries whose business environment is changing rapidly. For example, since 1989, Mike has worked with firms touching every facet of the construction, transportation and printing industries as well as the other professional groups (Architects, Accountants, Engineers, Commercial Insurance etc) that service those niche markets. As a highly experienced, global business traveler, he helps small to mid-sized organizations understand and plan for their successful expansion into global markets. As a result of Mike's body of work, organizations achieve the goals that are important to them on a regular and consistent basis.

At a General Electric (G.E.) facility just north of Albany, NY, a revolution is taking pIace. While the crap of every day political and social disagreement has most of our everyday attention, it is behind the scenes that the innovative revolution is being won by some. Because of this, your children and grandchildren will have a future. G.E. brings together its best engineers from China, India, Israel and the US. Designing parts, using 3D computer aided design software, then transmiting to a 3D printer filIed with metal powder and a laser device that prints the piece before ones eyes in an instant. Work that took months to years to produce for use, now takes days or weeks. Welcome to the new world of American job growth.

Firms that invest in their innovative capabilities during tough economic times will be the ones who will benefit most when better times return. Do you know what your core (primary) business is? Do you know right now what investments in innovation will help your business become even more successful than it is already? Where are you investing time and money in the growth of your work force? If G.E. can bring together their best, can you? You are only productive when you move ever closer to accomplishing your stated goals. Everything else you do is busy work, non-essential to the firm's future.

The primary job of business leaders is to attract and maintain customers. If you agree that that is true, would I see innovation as a key component of what is going on daily, at your operation? If not, why not?

After a half century in business, I have noted that a business that can't grow is run by know-it-alls. Know-it-alls do not create a learning environment, because they often feel threatened. Perhaps 200 years ago change moved at a snail like pace, not so today. An idea: why not open up your innovation process to your employees and major customers? If I wanted to know what floor compound will best keep the lobby floor shiney, why would I ask a VP? I'd ask the janitor. Who best knows how your product or service is working, your customer, the end user.

Often we miss the obvious. We're so busy being busy we really don't know what the devil is actually going on. Our children ask question after question. We are so smart and all knowing we never ask a question. Didn't you see my Harvard diploma on my office wall dummy?

Innovators question, observe, experiment and network more than a typical American executive. Why? They really desire to introduce change and they take risks to make innovation/change happen.

What's going on at your place?