Archive for the Tag 'Twitter'

Quick-Win Innovations

Point: Get quick wins by encouraging small experiments throughout the organization. They’re fast, inexpensive, and reduce the fear of failure.

Story: One of the biggest obstacles to innovation is fear of failure. Rarely do people want to bet their careers or companies on what might — or might not — be the next big thing.  But fear of failure becomes a self-imposed obstacle to success.

As Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos says, “Innovation is part and parcel with going down blind alleys. You can’t have one without the other. But every once in a while, you go down an alley and it opens up into this huge, broad avenue. And that’s so satisfying and, from a shareholder’s point of view, so successful, that it makes going down blind alleys worthwhile.”

The key twist isn’t to avoid failure but to avoid high costs from failure.  To reduce those costs, institute and encourage ongoing little experiments throughout your company.  For example, Google does this by testing more than 5000 software changes a year. Amazon does it by continuous A/B testing.  And CEO Scott Cook made experiments common practice at Intuit. In Cook’s experience, 89% of experiments don’t lead to a breakthrough or even to an improvement, but that doesn’t make them a “failure” — the experiments simply provide data on what doesn’t work.

These little bets cost little in terms of time and money. They don’t require weeks of planning; rather, they’re tweaks to an idea that can lead to eventual, substantive breakthroughs.  Ever hear of a company called Odeo? Most people haven’t, because Odeo was a small podcasting company of little distinction until its CEO, Evan Williams, gave employee Jack Dorsey two weeks to develop his idea of a short messaging system. That quick prototype developed into Twitter.


  • Don’t use uncertainty of success as a filter — the more you don’t know about your chances, the more you can learn by trying.
  • Do consider how you might inexpensively look down a possible avenue to see where it leads.  You might use a A/B testing, co-innovation with a lead customer, or a quick minimum-viable prototype.
  • Test fast, test often, but pay attention to the results, especially if the unexpected happens.
  • Learn what you can from any failures — not just that the idea failed, but why it failed and what it says about your customers, your markets, or your business environment.
  • Use each test of a new avenue to scout for other avenues. Even a blind alley can have a side-passage that leads somewhere wondrous.

For more information:

Dave Gray, The Connected Company

Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “Jeff Bezos: ‘Blind-Alley’ Explorer.”

Peter Sims, Little Bets and “What are Little Bets?

Comments Off on Quick-Win InnovationsGrowth, How-to, Innovation, New Product Development, Opportunity, Productivity

Social Media at the World Business Forum

Point: Extend the conversation of a conference beyond its four walls

Story: Open innovation, crowdsourcing, and new product development all depend on expanding the conversation from a narrowly defined in-group of people to broader, more inclusive global participation.  The World Business Forum, for example, is already the largest conference of senior executives in the US. But HSMAmericas, creators of the World Business Forum, wanted to extend the conversation beyond the walls of the conference’s Radio City Music Hall location. They’re doing this through the Bloggers Hub, a concept which they pioneered with sponsor Pitney Bowes at the World Innovation Forum in May.

First, HSMAmericas created the infrastructure to support a global conversation about the conference.  With the aid of hub sponsors IBM and ExecuNet, they wired a block of front & center reserved seating on the mezzanine at Radio City Music Hall.  The hub space includes ample power outlets and high-speed internet access.

Second, HSMAmericas invited a diversity of some of the best business bloggers to participate. (See categorized list below.) The featured bloggers will be blogging and tweeting the conference in real time as well as posting articles and interacting in conversations during and after the event.  Each blogger brings his or her own spin and segment of the global audience.  Some bloggers, like me, emphasize innovation. Others emphasize economic issues, entrepreneurship, technology, etc. This ensures that the conference reaches a wide variety of global participants and extends the conversion along multiple dimensions of specialization.

Third, HSMAmericas created coordinated points of contact and content access. This includes a Facebook page, a LinkedIn group, and a Twitter hashtag. Bloggers will be using the #wbf09 hashtag on their real-time updates of the conference.

For example, anyone — executives, managers, entrepreneurs and all interested parties — can participate in the action of the Forum in real time by following the #wbf09 hashtag on Twitter.  Bloggers will be using the #wbf09 hashtag on their real-time updates of the conference.  They will append #wbf09 not only to their updates from the Forum  but also to conversations they have with anyone using the #wbf09 tag. To join in, simply use the #wbf09 tag in your tweet. You can pose a question, share an opinion, or reply to anyone directly. To reach a specific blogger, just start your tweet with their Twitter ID.  (For example, to reach me, simply start your tweet with @andreameyer and use the #wbf09. I’ll see it and reply.)  Including #wbf09 in any of your tweets will make it visible to anyone participating in the conversation.

During the time of the World Innovation Forum (May 4-13), for instance, 4514 tweets mentioned #wif09. World Innovation Forum speakers Paul Saffo  and Fred Krupp are on Twitter as @psaffo and @Fred Krupp, respectively. Previous World Business Forum speakers on Twitter include management guru Tom Peters (@Tom_Peters) and legendary CEO Jack Welch (@jack_welch).

Here is a list of the World Business Forum Featured Bloggers and their Twitter IDs.

Business News
Wall Street Journal | Paul Glader | @wsj
The Huffington Post | Shahien Nasiripour | @huffbusiness | Reena Jana | @RJMAC
Reuters | Felix Salmon | @felixsalmon
Newsweek | Katie Paul | @newsweek

Innovation and Strategy
Working Knowledge® | Andrea Meyer | @AndreaMeyer
Working Knowledge® | Dana Meyer | @WorkingKnowledg
Business Strategy Innovation Blog | Braden Kelley | @innovate
Innoblog | Renee Hopkins | @Renee_Innosight
The Complete Innovator | Boris Pluskowski | @bpluskowski

Execunet | Lauryn Franzoni | @LaurynFranzoni
Execunet | Jeffrey Sherman Thompson | Graciela Gonzalez Biondo | @HSMAmericas
Fast Company Expert Blogger | Seth Kahan | @SethKahan | Zach Clayton | @bill_george
Insights on Leadership and Employee Engagement | Michael Lee Stallard  | @MichaelStallard
Chris Brady’s Leadership Blog | Chris Brady | @rascaltweets
Time Leadership | Jim Estill | @JimEstill
Orrin Woodward Leadership Team | Orrin Woodward | @Orrin_Woodward
Jossey-Bass on Leadership | Carolyn Carlstroem | @josseybassbiz

Sustainability and Social Enterprise | Adam Christensen | @smarterplanet
Triple Pundit | Jen Boynton | @triplepundit
Triple Pundit | Nick Aster | @triplepundit
Triple Pundit | Ryan Mickle | @triplepundit
Tree Hugger | Matthew McDermott | @matmcdermott | Michael Mossoba | @creativemichael

Path Forward International | Julie Lenzer Kirk | @YourBoot
Path Forward International | Renee Lewis | @chiefcatalyst
Awake at the Wheel | Jonathan Fields | @jonathanfields
Successful Blog | Liz Strauss | @lizstrauss

1 to 1 Media | Don Peppers | @donpeppers
Hank Wasiak | Hank Wasiak | @hankwasiak
Influential Marketing | Rohit Bhargava | @rohitbhargava
Marketing Thoughts Blog | Ken McArthur | @kenmcArthur
PR Mama | Stephanie Smirnov | @ssmirnov
5 Blogs Before Lunch | David Allen Ibsen | @daveibsen

Psychology and Brain
Brain Leaders and Learners | Dr. Ellen Weber | @EllenfWeber
Brain Based Biz | Dr. Robyn McMaster | @robynMcMaster
Ramblings from a Glass Half Full | Terry Starbucker | @Starbucker

Information Playground (EMC) | Steve Todd |  @SteveTodd
Social Media Blog Stu | Stuart Miniman | @stu | Ben Parr | @benparr
Collaboration Solutions in Industry Segments | Bob Preston | @BobPrestonCCO
GDGT | Peter Rojas | @peterrojas

Economist Mom | Diane Lim Rogers | @EconomistMom
The Big Picture | Barry Ritholtz
Angry Bear | Dan Crawford | @angrybearecon
Angry Bear | Ken Houghton | @angrybearecon

Women’s Business Perspectives
Hot Mommas Project | Kathy Korman Frey | @chiefhotmomma

Workforce and Career
Execunet | Robyn Greenspan | @Robyngreenspan
Execunet | Joseph McCool | Philip Stott | @VaultCareers | Linda Petock | @VaultCareers
All Things Workplace | Steve Roesler  | @steveroesler What Works for Business | Daniel Kehrer  | @whatworks
Training Magazine’s Training Day Blog | Margery Weinstein | @margeryw
Conference Hound | Jordan Enright-Schulz | @conferencehound
Conference Hound | Bruce Carlisle | @conferencehound
Thought Bright Blog | Robert McNeill
Business Boomer | Arabella Santiago | @businessboomer


  • To invite participation in your conference from anywhere in the world, create a central blog space that aggregates links to all the blogs
  • Designate a Twitter hashtag (simply choose an abbreviation or word preceded by a pound sign (#) You can register and define hashtags at
  • Create a page on LinkedIn and on Facebook to let individuals know which of their colleagues and friends are attending or interested in the event.

Further Information:

I will be live-tweeting and blogging from the World Business Forum on Oct. 6-7, 2009.  Join me in person or follow along on this blog or on Twitter @AndreaMeyer and @WorkingKnowledg or any of the above sites for full coverage!

4 Comments »How-to, Innovation