ADVANCE: Take Your Next Step with Mike Acker

Ep 15 | Innovation - Create the Future with Bella Rushi

February 05, 2021 Mike Acker Season 1 Episode 14
ADVANCE: Take Your Next Step with Mike Acker
Ep 15 | Innovation - Create the Future with Bella Rushi
Chapters
ADVANCE: Take Your Next Step with Mike Acker
Ep 15 | Innovation - Create the Future with Bella Rushi
Feb 05, 2021 Season 1 Episode 14
Mike Acker

INTRODUCTION TO EPISODE 15

Innovation has become a hot topic of discussion in the world today. Companies are struggling to come up with breakthrough ideas and strategies.

What can they do to adopt the best practices for continuous improvement and innovate better?

Join Mike Acker on this episode of the Advance Podcast as he interviews Bella Rushi from Symmetri Consulting, a consulting firm using science and a systematic approach to build innovation strategy and drive communications. Listen in for insightful tips to overcoming challenges and embedding innovation into an organizational process!

CONNECT WITH BELLA:
https://www.symmetriconsulting.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/bellarushi/



(For the full show notes and more resources, at no cost, visit https://connect.stepstoadvance.com)

EPISODE 15 SUMMARY & HIGHLIGHTS

Why is innovation such a huge topic of discussion right now?

1:50
Companies are stuck between two options. One, finding out how to barely survive, and second, how to thrive....

What are the challenges in front of companies right now?

4:47

Because of the pandemic, many companies are struggling just to connect with their customers today. So they have to look for ways to either find new products or new services to develop, so they can connect with their customers. 

As a fresh entrepreneur, what should anyone do to innovate?

7:53

  1. One, develop a culture of innovation. Create an atmosphere to praise and give recognition to your employees for experimenting, innovating, and learning from their failures.

8:13

  1. Second, companies need to understand their DNA, their core strengths. They need to re-examine what their capabilities are. 

8:28

  1. Lastly, CEOs must be involved when talking about innovation. Their vision needs to be communicated and reinforced to their employees. 

Key-takeaways for the listeners

21:53

Innovation happens through collaboration, collaboration within your company, your partners, your suppliers, your customers and all the people you can involve in the whole ideation process. 

22:45

Innovation is a continuous incremental process. 

KEY QUOTES:

3:16-3:21

“It seems obvious to look to innovation, but it always is not easy to create the business of tomorrow.”

6:55-7:07

“Many companies are understanding that customer focus is what they need to really be thinking about right now. And shifting their business models is a great place to start.”

8:43-9:05

“The idea to innovate actually begins at the CEO level, who then has to create this culture of innovation, and understanding, examine their capabilities, and then create partnerships within their organization as well as external partnerships to support the innovation process.”

 

CONNECT WITH BELLA:

Website | LinkedIn


Show Notes Transcript

INTRODUCTION TO EPISODE 15

Innovation has become a hot topic of discussion in the world today. Companies are struggling to come up with breakthrough ideas and strategies.

What can they do to adopt the best practices for continuous improvement and innovate better?

Join Mike Acker on this episode of the Advance Podcast as he interviews Bella Rushi from Symmetri Consulting, a consulting firm using science and a systematic approach to build innovation strategy and drive communications. Listen in for insightful tips to overcoming challenges and embedding innovation into an organizational process!

CONNECT WITH BELLA:
https://www.symmetriconsulting.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/bellarushi/



(For the full show notes and more resources, at no cost, visit https://connect.stepstoadvance.com)

EPISODE 15 SUMMARY & HIGHLIGHTS

Why is innovation such a huge topic of discussion right now?

1:50
Companies are stuck between two options. One, finding out how to barely survive, and second, how to thrive....

What are the challenges in front of companies right now?

4:47

Because of the pandemic, many companies are struggling just to connect with their customers today. So they have to look for ways to either find new products or new services to develop, so they can connect with their customers. 

As a fresh entrepreneur, what should anyone do to innovate?

7:53

  1. One, develop a culture of innovation. Create an atmosphere to praise and give recognition to your employees for experimenting, innovating, and learning from their failures.

8:13

  1. Second, companies need to understand their DNA, their core strengths. They need to re-examine what their capabilities are. 

8:28

  1. Lastly, CEOs must be involved when talking about innovation. Their vision needs to be communicated and reinforced to their employees. 

Key-takeaways for the listeners

21:53

Innovation happens through collaboration, collaboration within your company, your partners, your suppliers, your customers and all the people you can involve in the whole ideation process. 

22:45

Innovation is a continuous incremental process. 

KEY QUOTES:

3:16-3:21

“It seems obvious to look to innovation, but it always is not easy to create the business of tomorrow.”

6:55-7:07

“Many companies are understanding that customer focus is what they need to really be thinking about right now. And shifting their business models is a great place to start.”

8:43-9:05

“The idea to innovate actually begins at the CEO level, who then has to create this culture of innovation, and understanding, examine their capabilities, and then create partnerships within their organization as well as external partnerships to support the innovation process.”

 

CONNECT WITH BELLA:

Website | LinkedIn


Unknown Speaker  0:00  
How do you prevent from becoming the next Blockbuster Video, which is already on the way to being forgotten? you innovate. This is especially true in times like this the times of pandemic. So today on my show, I'm so excited to have Bella Rushi from symmetry consulting.

Unknown Speaker  0:24  
Welcome to advance with Mike Acker. The podcast designed to help entrepreneurs, business leaders and professionals alike break through barriers by improving their practical leadership skills and increasing confidence in speaking your host is a best selling author, executive coach and founder of the advanced public speaking school and Advantage Publishing Group to companies dedicated to providing an edge for leaders. Find out more about Mike at Mikeacker.com. Now, here's your host, Mike Acker.

Unknown Speaker  1:02  
Bella, it is great to have you on the show. I'm so glad you're here with me today.

Unknown Speaker  1:06  
Thank you so much, Mike. It's great to be here.

Unknown Speaker  1:09  
Now, you and I were talking and we've been talking a lot about innovation. It's what you do. And it's been absolutely fascinating learning about, and it's going to be a great time for us to dive in. We have a whole bunch of professionals who are in charge of other departments, we have entrepreneurs who are part of this, we have business leaders, CEOs, all across the board, people who need to innovate. So let's just go ahead and get our mind primed by that, for that topic. Why do you think as an innovation consultant with some incredible credentials, why do you think innovation is such a huge topic right now?

Unknown Speaker  1:47  
Sure, Mike. So that's a great question. Right now, companies are just stuck. They're stuck between two options, one finding out how to barely survive, and second, and how to thrive. So for one, they want to generate revenue right now, and they want to stay competitive. So for example, look at the pharmaceutical industry a year ago, they were on a race to making the COVID vaccine, because they knew that if they got there first, they'll generate significant revenue. And second, they're looking for ways to better connect with our customers and stay relevant. Last year, so many companies went through bankruptcy, they file for bankruptcy, and many companies like Neiman Marcus, golden children, GNC, Revlon, and even Best Buy, right, where we love to shop. And 43% of the companies don't think that they'll actually survive. So it's, it's pretty scary. But I think companies have realized that they have a greater responsibility to their customers and community. Many companies have already shifted to the online platform. Right now, there's about 80% of customer interaction that's totally happening on online channels. And they've realized that they need to provide trust and safety to their customers, and through their products and services. So it seems obvious to look to innovation, but it always is not easy to create the business of tomorrow.

Unknown Speaker  3:22  
Yeah, very interesting time, right? Because some companies are making it those who are innovating and trying new things, and some are breaking. And it's really one of those make it break at moments. My wife and I were in downtown Kirkland near the Seattle area. And we walked by several shuttered restaurants. And then there was one restaurant, this was right at the beginning of quarantine. And Seattle was definitely very much shut down. And one restaurant decided they were going to innovate. And so they opened up their windows and they made windows and they made it this huge, really incredible way they got permits from the city. We're selling alcohol and bottled like little pre made martinis, pre made Margarita pre made Manhattan's it was really interesting. Never seen this before. And they were selling them right there. So people are actually coming just in droves, six feet apart. But they're aligning the street because this one company, this one restaurant was innovating and they're making while others were broken, and they just shattered completely. And I get it. I get it. why some people would just say we don't know what to do. And others are talking with people like yourself and saying how can we innovate? What can we do? What do you think that companies are really struggling with right now? What is their, their big challenge in front of them?

Unknown Speaker  4:46  
Yeah, sure, Mike. So because of the pandemic, many companies are struggling just to connect with their customers, right. So you talked about the bar on how are they really trying to interact with their customers and many industries are fighting That volume of traffic is extremely low. So companies are looking for ways to find either new products or maybe new services to develop. So they can connect with our customers. This is maybe through existing markets that they already have, or channels that they have, or even new geographical markets. So during the pandemic, companies who are struggling should rethink their business model. And many companies actually have already done this, they've rethought and shifted their business models, to better connect with customers. Let me give you a couple of examples. Event companies are using large exhibition spaces for hospital use, so they can do clever testing there. Yeah, and then there's furniture manufacturing companies who have moved totally online to because they've seen a rise in office and home furniture, you know, purchases, then, of course, there's the restaurant industry who are now you know, offering bigger portions or catering sized portions because families can sit inside restaurants, or they don't want to sit inside restaurants. So they can pick up for lunch and dinner with these larger portions. And even like the hospitality change, like are offering luxurious experiences. For example, the other day I read in the newspaper, the Mandarin hotel is offering a luxury experience where you can call them, and you don't have to stay at their hotel, but you can call them for service. And they'll come to your home and deliver the food from their restaurant and from their hotel. And I know as well as spa services, well, they'll deliver their spa, you know, supplies to your house directly. So I think that what all these examples have in common is that many companies are understanding that customer focus is is what they need to really be thinking about right now. And shifting their business models is a great place to start.

Unknown Speaker  7:08  
I love it. Yeah, I was thinking about this, this is really on a company level. Yet, the company is always made up of the the people who run it. A lot of the clients I work with have been management in companies such as Amazon, and Microsoft. So some of them sometimes it's those behemoth companies, but also some mid level companies and then some small companies. So let's put this onto a personal level, what can an entrepreneur, someone who's just starting something a business leader or a manager or a CEO? What can they do to innovate? Sure, Mike. So

Unknown Speaker  7:39  
there's a lot here to go over. But when I work with a client, we use a very scientific and data driven process. So here I want to talk about three things to focus on. One, developing a culture of innovation, this is critically very important. This is where you're creating an atmosphere to praise and give recognition to your employees for experimenting, for innovating, and for learning from their failures. Secondly, companies need to understand their DNA. So what are their core strengths? They need to re examine what their capabilities are. So what are those core strengths in order to innovate. And lastly, CEOs really need to be involved when talking about innovation, they need to have a clear vision, which is then communicated and reinforced to their employees. The idea to innovate actually begins at the CEO level, who then has to create this culture of innovation, and understanding, examine their capabilities, and then create partnerships within their organization as well as external partnerships to support the innovation process. So when we look at big companies who are already doing well, and they're innovating, we found that research shows that most of the innovation is really a result of consistent practices and continuous improvement. Our firm uses a framework and analytical tools from innovation 360 to identify these elements, as well as transforming the company's culture and their mindset to embed it consistent practices that leads to innovation.

Unknown Speaker  9:38  
It was very interesting. You and I had a chance to talk briefly before we started the show recording. And you were talking about your international client that you're working with right now. And I wasn't thinking about it, but really what you just said about the systems, the process, that's exactly what you're talking about, that you're doing with them and really leading them towards that. This place of innovation. And last week I was in Florida. And last week of this recording, I was in Florida, I was working with a fantastic company. And one of the things I think has done so well for this company is even though they have some genius people in marketing, genius people and programs and service, really a great team. And I got to work with the executive team for a couple days, COVID test PP, social distance and everything. And you know, who was involved, and who led the charge, just like you said, the CEO. Yeah, the reason why they're so successful, is a CEO, although he knows where to delegate, and how to delegate and how to trust his team. He's involved in the culture, and he's involved in the systems and processes. And in our time together, he was the one who sat in the front of what I was facilitating that day. So I absolutely agree with you. And to all those listening, as you arrive at the top, or you are the small business leader, or the CEO, or whatever it might be, just remember that there are things that you can never delegate, you can delegate all kinds of tasks, but you can never delegate the responsibility. Let's dive into some examples of just different industries that have been forced to look at innovation. Give us a snapshot of some of the ones that you've seen, you gave some earlier. But let's dive into this a little bit more and help us all wrap our mind around it.

Unknown Speaker  11:24  
Sure. So look at the healthcare industry, that's again, a big example right now, the pandemic has had a huge impact on them, with respect to forcing them to really embrace technology, and digital communications. Last year, in April, my dad had to go to the ER, he was sick. So obviously, because of the pandemic, nobody was allowed to be inside. So how do you communicate with the doctors and the staff as to what's going on what the diagnosis is and what the treatment plants are doing for my dad. So using smartphones, they are using telemedicine and the doctors from inside the ER are connecting, you know, with me on a smartphone, through telemedicine, this technology has been out for years, but they're forced to use this today, right, because of the pandemic. So, they're communicating with me about his treatment and his plans and then post recovery, you know, follow ups that he needs to do all on a smartphone through a secure portal. But telemedicine has been around for years. And it's been used in lots of other countries on a on a daily basis. For example, in India, telemedicine has been used to connect with patients in villages that don't have access to go to the hospitals in smaller cities, or even clinics because they just don't have, you know, the transportation to get that so they have smartphones, so they use telemedicine to be able to communicate with them, and give them the care that they need. So today, patients and doctors are benefiting from digital communications as well as new technology. Another example is the wearable technology that came out into healthcare. And that's been really being used and pushed last year because of the pandemic. So wearable technology, where it measures your patient's heart rate, or oxygen saturation levels, blood pressure, and even temperature. All these things create an alert for the patient to make sure they need to take their medicine or time or even connect with the doctors to give them a snapshot of what the patient is going through on a daily basis. So this is right now, um, you know, a great time for healthcare to embrace the technology. And it's also a great example where the technology is helping to make people's lives easier and better. But the actual innovation, if you think of it is not always necessarily the technology, right? It's the partnerships with the experts that are using this technology to deliver that value to the patients.

Unknown Speaker  14:08  
I think that's really interesting on the healthcare. I hadn't really thought about it. But before this, I was never, I was never accepting of the telemedicine never thought about it. And just yesterday morning, there was something I was like, I don't want to go to the doctor for that. My wife said, You know what, we've been getting all these emails from our health insurance saying that we have telemedicine available. So for the first time ever, I used telemedicine yesterday on my phone was able to talk to a doctor and cut out a whole bunch of waste of both of our times and was able to get a great answer for it. Obviously, some things can't be done, but I love how they're innovating pushing it and other people are as well. Now that's a really big one though. So some maybe maybe some people are listening thinking, well I'm not in healthcare. I'm not a major, big huge company. So what does this mean for a small business? Think about a couple employees or maybe up to 20 employees around there maybe a little bit bigger? What does this mean for for them?

Unknown Speaker  15:12  
Sure, Mike. So it, when it comes to small businesses, it really depends on the products and the services that you're offering to your customers. But let's take a step back. And look at how the internet has changed things drastically for everyone, right for all little companies, in general. So small businesses are no longer small businesses anymore, they are the big businesses. And the Internet has been able to give them the, you know, more marketing power to be able to reach customers in new new markets and new economic economies. So another thing is that, that, you know, we're looking at smartphones to have these connections happen. They're close, they're about close to 50% of the world's who are using smartphones right now. So they all have smartphone access. So just think about that for a second. So that's billions and billions of people having smartphone access, where companies can, you know, use this services to reach these customers in places that they didn't know that they can reach them, right. So we're talking about small villages, we're talking about even rural areas, small cities, there's an untapped market out there for small businesses that really need to think about that, whether it's in the city or around the world, that they can actually reach through the smartphone using the services and creating that marketing power through the internet.

Unknown Speaker  16:50  
Very interesting. I'm a small business owner, I actually have two small businesses. And when you said the internet, I thought you're absolutely right. Because later on today, I'm working with a client from France. And how did you find Well, she went on, she googled a book on public speaking, I brought one of my books up to her. And then she reached out to me. So here literally, the internet brought me a client from from France. And that's a regular occurrence, I work around the world. So you're very true. There's so much that you can do around the world, and people are trying to innovate and find the ways to do that. So So if now people are thinking, Okay, I need to innovate. I'm a big company. I'm a small company, I'm a leader or a manager, what insights can you give us about this innovation process? Now? I know that there's, this is a really, really big question. And there's way too much to talk about right here. But maybe just a couple insights, so that people think, oh, okay, there's, there's a way for me to move forward with innovation.

Unknown Speaker  17:50  
Yeah, sure, Mike. So whether you're a small company or a large company, innovation is for everyone, everyone can look into this process. So the process itself requires discipline on building a hypothesis, and collecting a lot of ideas. When you're collecting ideas, you're just not looking at ideas internally, you're also looking at ideas collected by your customers, and also your external partners and suppliers. The tricky part comes in is that when you hand these ideas, what do you do with them? And how do you select the best ones, that's going to be able to, you know, go to market and deliver value. So our firm helps you build those hypotheses, and help you select the best ideas so that you are ready to go to market and you reduce the risk of failure and increase your process to improve it so that you can improve every time so you can get to market closer. Because

Unknown Speaker  18:51  
there's no shortage of ideas in my mind. For others, they're having the other part, like what ideas to grab ahold of. So I love this almost a mind map idea. Throw out everything from everybody inside outside, and then go through the process of vetting. What you're talking about is something I didn't do, Bella. So when the quarantine hit, I had this great idea. I'm going to teach people how to do a meeting. And they need it. They desperately need it. Because people are awful at leading meetings, and they're awful at being part of meetings and meetings are awful. So I put together this whole program, great idea. But it wasn't actually what people were looking for. So I had to tweak that and tweak that. I love that you have this really. It's not just feel it out. It's not just go with whatever you think is good. It's really you showed me the diagram. It's quite scientific. It's quite thorough. It's very complex in some ways, but very simple and others. So say some for someone was thinking you know, I want to work with Bella. I want to I want to engage something with her to talk about some innovation. Tell us a little bit of what it looks like to to work with you. From the beginning to the end? Sure, sure. So

Unknown Speaker  20:06  
what we do with our clients is we help identified internal factors first. So you want to start with organization, right? What are the what is necessary to enable innovation? So we do an assessment of the organization, we identified the culture readiness to see if there are any silos within the department or not, we identify what are their, you know, customer insights, what does it look like, and operation process, and any blockers that is inhibiting the company from innovation. So, we basically help our clients align their purpose, and their capabilities so that they can become more adaptable, and driving innovation strategy.

Unknown Speaker  20:53  
I love that. You were telling me briefly before this, that you had one week where you were just doing interview after interview after interview. And then really gathering all that data and putting it all together, that often when we think of innovation, we just think of a couple people in a room, throwing out some ideas, and then randomly choosing one, which is why many times innovation doesn't work, that might work. But there's a really good process to going through this, especially if you have a mid size company, or a large company, there's really you should think through process process. Otherwise, you end up losing and wasting time and money. Well, this has been fun, this has been great hearing, I'm thinking in my mind, and trying not to go on a tangent, just thinking about ways I can innovate. But what are some takeaways for, for me? What are some takeaways for others who are listening today?

Unknown Speaker  21:51  
Sure, Mike. So innovation does happen through exchange of ideas, right. So we know that and you know that, and it does happen through collaboration, which people forget. So when we think of collaboration, it's just really not collaboration within your company, you really want to look at collaboration within your partners, your suppliers, your customers, as many people you can involve in this whole ideation process. One of the things we also do is I offer ideation workshops. So looking at the exchange of ideas, looking at collaboration, and then obviously, looking at the customer insight, you cannot, you have to have that customer focus, to be able to develop the hypothesis to move forward. And knowing just knowing that company should know that innovation is a continuous process. It's a continuous incremental process. It's just not a one time you do it. And then you're just set your company said it's really doesn't work that way. You're constantly doing lots of iteration and experimenting. So definitely a company should think of having an innovation priority as part of their daily culture.

Unknown Speaker  23:04  
I love it. There's so much here that we can unpack and we could just keep on talking. And even beforehand, I said, we better just start because I was starting to ask questions and getting into some great content before. And I'm sure you and I will have some more conversations. But for others who don't already know you and don't have that connection, where can they find you? Where can they look you up? Where can they get connected with you?

Unknown Speaker  23:28  
Sure. So my website is symmetriconsulting.com and my email is Bella@ymmetriconsulting.com.

Unknown Speaker  23:42  
Great, and I'll make sure that I put that inside of all the notes as well. So this has been Bella Ruchi with symmetry consulting, talking about innovation. What are you going to do to make sure that you don't become the next best buy? Take a moment before you log off and make sure you subscribe, follow check this out so you don't miss out on future episodes. Bella, thank you so much for being with us today.

Unknown Speaker  24:07  
Thanks, Mike. Thanks for having me. It was great. It's great to be here.

Unknown Speaker  24:10  
Signing off. Talk to you later.

Unknown Speaker  24:18  
Thanks for listening to advance with Mike Acker, a podcast designed to provide an edge for leaders through improving practical leadership skills and increasing confidence in speaking Mike is a best selling author and business owner who has helped many leaders increase their skills and their competence propelling them to new heights in their personal and professional endeavors. join an incredible group of professionals taking the steps to become better leaders at Connect dot steps to advance.com Don't forget to rate review and subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai