“Expertise is the enemy of innovation.

-Stephen Shapiro

What is it about iconic organizations that allow them to respond with innovative solutions to marketplace needs? What is it about their approach to business that allows them to create better products, sleeker designs and more efficient systems that consistently earn them top spot in their industries?

Is it the creative genius of their marketing departments, or the talents of their research and development teams? Maybe it’s how they leverage technology? Or is it that innovative organizations simply are more clever than the rest of us? Turns out, innovation has far less to do with “thinking outside the box” than it does with finding a better box.

My guest today is speaker, author and innovation expert Stephen Shapiro. Stephen believes all companies need to innovate if they want to remain relevant and competitive in their fields. Innovation, he says, helps differentiate a company and make it “disruption-proof.”

This concept of thinking outside the box has no relevance at all to innovation,” Stephen says. “You need to innovate where you differentiate. I don’t think you have to be disruptive, but you have to make sure you aren’t disrupted.”

Stephen and I talk today specifically about the mistakes people make when they think of innovation; the primary drivers for innovation; and where companies fall short in their efforts.

“The biggest mistake is confusing creativity with innovation and confusing ideas with problems,” Stephen says. “If you look at most innovation programs they’re really just suggestion boxes…from my perspective, that just doesn’t work.”

I know you’re going to love this discussion, and you’re going to learn a ton from Stephen Shapiro on this edition of Grow My Revenue!

Listen to this episode and discover:

  • What innovation is — and what it isn’t.
  • The primary motivations behind why companies turn to innovation.
  • Why asking customers and stakeholders for their thoughts and opinions is never a good idea.
  • The number one reason why innovation programs fail.
  • And so much more…

Episode Overview

Stephen Shapiro is the definition of innovation. He is a sought-after speaker, author and creator of Personality Poker, a fun and interactive tool that allow teams to identify their unique innovation styles that drive results. For more than 20 years, Stephen has presented his strategies on innovation to audiences around the world. He was with Accenture for 15 years where he led a 20,000 person innovation practice, and he’s written five books including Best Practices Are Stupid: 40 Ways to Out-Innovate The Competition, which was named the best innovation book of 2011.

Today, Stephen helps companies think about and implement their own innovation programs in exciting and effective ways that give them a competitive edge in their industries. Differentiation, he says, is the key ingredient to innovation.

Replication isn’t innovation. If you’re copying what people in your industry are doing, you’re playing a game of catch up,” Stephen says. “By the time you implement a best practice, they’re on to the next practice. It’s like a hamster on a wheel just trying to go faster and faster and not going anywhere.”

In this episode, Stephen talks about:

  • The 3 traps organizations fall into when thinking of innovation.
  • Why asking broad, abstract questions detracts from innovative breakthroughs.
  • 2 questions companies need to ask themselves before they begin innovating.
  • Stephen’s “fortune cookie philosophy” of innovation.

“Innovation is not about a small team of people in a company, it is about engaging everybody inside the organization,” he says. “But it’s not about having everybody innovate everywhere. It’s about innovating where you differentiate.”

Tune in for all of these nuggets of wisdom, and more, on today’s Grow My Revenue with Stephen Shapiro.


Stephen Shapiro’s web site
Email Stephen Shapiro

Stephen Shapiro’s Personality Poker

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THANKS, Stephen

If you enjoyed this session with Stephen Shapiro let him know by clicking on the link below to send him a quick message on LinkedIn or Twitter:

twitterClick here to thank Stephen Shapiro on Twitter
linkedinClick here to thank Stephen Shapiro on LinkedIn

What’s On Your Mind

As always, this episode provides inspiration, entertainment, and especially an actionable message that can drive remarkable results – and if you have any questions for a future episode, contact me.

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