Life is chock full of examples of people who did
extraordinary things with little or no money, or at the end of their
lives when time was scarce.
As an example of rags to riches, take Maria das Gra�as Silva Foster,
the Brazilian business executive and chemical engineer who is the CEO
of Petrobras-Petr�leo Brasil, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company.
She was raised in a shanty town outside Rio de Janero known for drug
trafficking, pollution, unsanitary conditions and extreme poverty. In
recent years she has been awarded numerous times for her professional
and social accomplishments including receiving the Medalha da
Inconfid�ncia in 2012, the highest decoration conferred by the
Government of the State of Minas Gerais, in recognition of her
outstanding contributions to the social, cultural and economic
development of Minas Gerais and Brazil. She built her success on her
determination and incessant desire to do well.
For a story of success in later years, consider Diana Athill, now 95.
Five years ago she became the oldest ever recipient of the Costa Book
awards, a literary award given to authors in Great Britain and Ireland.
She won the biography award for her memoir, Somewhere Towards the End. When
her publisher told her he would like to hear what she had to say about
old age, she replied, “Are you mad?” But, then she wrote her book and
received great praise in response. To hear a lovely interview with her,
check her out on YouTube.
At the age of 93, George Bernard Shaw wrote the play Farfetched Fables.
In 1957, at the age of 82 Albert Schweitzer co-founded The Committee
for a Sane Nuclear Policy
At the great age of 85 Coco Chanel was running a fashion design firm.
My point is that it is neither time nor money is prerequisite for great
accomplishment. So what is? Drive! Desire! Intense intention!
Set your course by what you care about most and enjoy the ride. You
will find that you need less than you think and accomplish more than
born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.”
Q & A on my
latest book, Getting Innovation
Right, as it appears in Amazon.com
first book was about change. How does that relate to innovation?
As I worked hand-in-hand with leaders on their change initiatives, I
began to notice that those who succeeded were also adept at introducing
new products, services, and ideas into the marketplace. I participated
in many of their innovation initiatives and discovered seven key
activities the successful leaders practiced with rigor. After I saw
firsthand how important these key activities were for success, I wanted
to share them with my clients and readers. That’s why I wrote Getting
My approach to organizational change works from the inside out, as
opposed to top-down or bottom-up. Effective, lasting change is only
possible by first engaging key stakeholders. When everyone in the
organization understands the change, they act in a concerted way, even
in impossible-to-predict circumstances. The key to sustained change is
active engagement of all key stakeholders. The same is true of
think of innovation as freewheeling experimentation. Why does
innovation need to be judged by results, not process?
In today’s market, mission-driven leaders don’t have the time or
resources to play around with ideas that die on the vine. They want to
go to market, build a presence, and have the resources to turn an idea
into something special that will be valued by customers, members, and
constituents. If innovation does not produce positive impact in a
sustainable way, they see it as a waste of time. Even in research or
creative labs, experimentation must lead to results of some kind.
Results determine whether a company and a leader are successful.
do you mean by inflection points, and how can understanding them help
someone innovate better?
An inflection point is a decisive shift in the market that either sends
you up or down. If you don’t see inflection points coming, they can be
jarring–and even lethal. But when you learn about the different kinds
of inflection points and develop some expertise in using their
momentum, you have an edge on everyone else.
Most leaders feel they are at the mercy of major market shifts.
Successful innovators understand inflection points and they actively
look for them to put their energy to good use. Once you can anticipate
an inflection point, you can use it to fuel your innovation. Getting
Innovation Right shows you how to do that in detail.
business challenges will Getting Innovation Right help managers
Leaders often fall short when it comes to innovation. Getting
Innovation Right provides templates, step-by-step instructions,
techniques, tools, and practical guidance on how to maximize your
innovation’ s chances of success in the market. The book helps leaders
invest in the leadership talent required to develop successful new
products and services, understand how market research can help any new
offering, take advantage of market disruptions, discover what customers
will be compelled to buy, and accelerate market acceptance.