Editorial Results (free)
1. Measuring Innovation With Money
- Wednesday, May 22, 2013
But will it make real money? Innovation is such a heady, ill-defined concept. Innovation is one of those words – like strategy or creativity – that means either nothing or something different to anyone who hears it. But when handled correctly, genuine innovations are the lifeblood of any company’s continued health and success.
2. Forming the Second Wave
- Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Most businesses start with vigor and willpower. Truly breakthrough businesses launch and fly with such an impassioned sense of mission that it changes the market and the communities where their offices are located.
3. Both Sides Win in ‘Battle of the Brains’
- Wednesday, May 08, 2013
If you have ever engaged someone in a discussion about left- and right-brain thinking they almost always take a side. Sometimes it seems that the two sides are incompatible and unbending in their view of how one should see the world. The right-brain people are typically labeled “creative” and “artistic” with a unique ability to see things intuitively and as a whole. The left-brain people are “analytical” and “detail oriented” utilizing linear process and logic to solve problems.
4. Nobody Wins the Low Price War
- Wednesday, May 01, 2013
We get asked about pricing all of the time. Usually, the inquisitor is looking for a simple answer but the topic is vastly complex due to the many variables involved.
Pricing is a key element of market strategy and a powerful lever in your arsenal. It is intrinsically tied to your position in the market and is only as effective as your strategy as a whole.
5. If You Can’t Win, Change the Game
- Wednesday, April 24, 2013
In today’s dynamic world it is imperative for companies to continually realize growth through a sustainable competitive advantage. The trouble is that every innovation is just one new innovation away from becoming obsolete. How do proactive companies stay one step ahead?
6. Sometimes You Need to Shift Things Around
- Wednesday, April 17, 2013
When leading a series of innovation workshops for Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.’s Innovation Delivery Team with division leaders at City Hall, our task was steep: change long-standing behavior patterns. Turn doers into innovators. Have proven professionals who are deeply embedded in their roles get out of their current paradigm and empathize with the community and citizens they serve. Break the cognitive lock created by doing the same thing every day and see the city with fresh eyes.
7. Market Power Versus Brute Force
- Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Pushing too hard? Often a rush to hit short-term numbers or an over-caffeinated executive can force some costly mistakes. Failed product launches. A weak but bloated product pipeline. A service in desperate need of reinvention but too entrenched and in love with its own methods too change. A company that charges ahead blindly, carrying dead weight and a dying value proposition to the market. A feature set that doesn’t meet users real needs. Add a bomb from your professional experience here ___.
8. Zero Budget – What a Boon
- Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Entrepreneurs come alive when all odds are stacked against them. Think of the famous stories. Walt Disney and Frank Lloyd Wright going bankrupt several times until their visions pay off. Edison brokering the GE deal that meant the West would use the type of electricity the wizard of Menlo Park created. Steve Jobs kicked out of Apple, starting Next. The old saying holds true: the darkest hour is just before the dawn.
9. Companies Need to Think Like Venture Capitalists
- Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Last week we discussed the concept of the intrapreneur and our conviction that companies must add the pressures of failure and constrained resources to get ingenuity. Real entrepreneurs have vision, resilience and fortitude. Their natural drive, focus on survival and ability to pivot with the market is what generates market winners. It is the natural selection process at work. This is why VCs think the team is most critical, and companies looking to innovate should too.
10. Put Your Internal Team on Bootstrap to Drive Innovation
- Wednesday, March 20, 2013
In 1992, The American Heritage Dictionary acknowledged the popular use of a new word, “intrapreneur,” meaning “a person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.” This term and concept is enjoying a revival as current companies struggle to realize growth and innovation. Companies seeking growth typically design programs that are based in strategy-driven or intrapreneur-driven innovation.
11. 3-D Printing Revolution Will Drive Innovation
- Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Technology like that imagined by Star Trek and the futuristic cartoon The Jetsons is becoming reality with 3-D printing. Also known as additive manufacturing, it creates customized solid three-dimensional objects from digital schematics. It has arrived – and it is disruptive.
12. Southern Growth Studio Helps Companies Think Differently
- Monday, March 11, 2013
Memphis-based Southern Growth Studio is getting ready to bring some of the spirit of innovation, sunny optimism and can-do attitude to Memphis that its principals found on a recent trip to Las Vegas.
13. Good Manners and Innovation
- Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Brainstorming sessions can easily devolve into a contest of strong egos or a parade of old, tired ideas and their accompanying resentments. Worse, meetings around ideation or innovation sour when there is lack of good manners.
14. Alas, Poor Henry and the Problem
- Wednesday, February 27, 2013
According to legend, Henry Ford scoffed at market research and what we now call Consumer Insights, proclaiming, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” While there is a certain degree of wisdom in this statement, it has been misquoted to justify bad, hubris-inspired product failures by too many corporate egos.
15. Why Limit Yourself?
- Wednesday, February 20, 2013
When consulting with clients here in the Memphis area, we often have to deliver the bad news first. This bitter pill usually comes in the form of a Sunset Analysis that details when the client’s once market-leading products will be costing more to keep in production than generating revenue.
16. Can Big Data Pay Off Big?
- Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Perhaps one of the most exciting advances in this decade is the emergence of big data, a collection of data sets so large they cannot be processed with standard database management programs. The analytics that companies glean from this data yield quantitative insight into business strategy that was previously unavailable. The world’s technological per-capita capacity to store information has roughly doubled every 40 months since the 1980s.
17. Economic Development Through Entrepreneurism
- Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Last week we visited downtown Las Vegas to tour and learn more about what Zappos founder Tony Hsieh is doing to stimulate entrepreneurial activity and urban revitalization through his Downtown Project initiative. Hsieh is personally investing $350 million to transform downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world in less than five years.
18. Growth Capital Wasteland
- Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Capital makes the world go round – or at least it used to before the recession and our new economic reality took hold. Enacting growth strategies is difficult without capital to invest. This is certainly true for early stage companies that need enough runway to get the business off the ground and then gain momentum to cash flow the business.
19. Flex Your Company’s Brand Muscle
- Wednesday, January 23, 2013
When you break it down to the simplest definition, a brand can be defined by how others see your product, service, and organization. Branding is a sum of perceptions. How well your organization manages the perceptions defines the brand.
20. Status Quo: The Big Lie
- Thursday, January 17, 2013
In a recent Let’s Grow column, we tackled the hard subject of cognitive biases. Yet, we did not touch upon the most prevalent and insidious bias in business. This big lie is that the status quo exists. Nothing stays the same. Companies who strive to keep things the way the presently are – one definition of status quo – live a lie that is not sustainable. They get fixed and rigid, locked into a certain way of counting on the world, and then they crumble and fall.
21. The Happy Virus
- Wednesday, January 09, 2013
To celebrate the New Year, we’ll begin this week’s column with an unconventional source of wisdom for business, the great Persian poet Hafiz:
The Happy Virus
I caught the happy virus last night
When I was out singing beneath the stars.
It is remarkably contagious - So kiss me.
22. Corporate Vision: Are Your Sights Too Low?
- Thursday, January 03, 2013
CEOs are responsible for setting the strategic vision and driving long-term growth. However, many are compensated based on quarterly and annual goals, which can make keeping the long view in sharp focus challenging. Incremental moves to cut costs, improve efficiency and extend product lines may yield positive metrics. But is this short-term focus on financial results ultimately harming shareholder value by limiting long-term potential?
23. Get More Out of Your Corporate Retreat
- Thursday, December 27, 2012
Have you ever asked yourself why you are taking a corporate retreat? Is it because the company has always had one and it is just an event on autopilot? Is it intended to reinforce the company line? What do you as a leader really get out of it? What does everyone else get out of it? If it is designed to be a “morale builder” and a session to “build consensus” you may be wasting your time and money. There is nothing worse for morale than having a lockdown then hotboxing people who work over 50 hour weeks. These people likely feel that they are getting behind on their work treadmill and worse, they resent the time away from home and family.
24. Grow in Spite of Flat, Saturated Market
- Wednesday, December 19, 2012
As an industry matures it becomes saturated and players in the market struggle to maintain the robust growth they saw in the early days. Back then, the formula for growth was simple: invent a product or service, get distribution, expand internationally, then acquire and consolidate to dominate the market. What’s left?
25. Cognitive Biases Affect Strategic Decision Making
- Wednesday, December 12, 2012
You are biased. Chances are very good that your team is also biased, no matter how talented or experienced they are in your industry. Human bias can blind you to real market demand and open opportunity.
26. The Innovation Process: What’s the Secret Sauce?
- Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Business banter talks a lot about “the process for innovation,” which is usually referenced in the singular and stated definitively, leaving most business leaders scratching their heads. It makes us think that there is one correct process, the secret sauce that top companies have and follow. There are actually thousands of innovation processes, none of which have been quantified or proven to be the most effective. There is no one size fits all.
27. Use Your Senses When Innovating
- Wednesday, November 28, 2012
If you’ve read some of our columns, you know that we use one method of idea and value generation called Design Thinking often. See the May 30 edition of The Daily News (Try ‘Design Thinking’ for Innovation) to read a primer on the method.
28. Creativity Redefined for Innovation
- Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The words “creative” and “creativity” have been hi-jacked by the world of advertising. The word means something specific to those familiar to Mad Men or Thirtysomething advertising stereotypes. In these cases – and the cases of classic advertising – creativity was visual, copy or positioning cleverness applied at the end of the new product process, when it was time to market downstream.
29. Entrepreneurs, Create Your Own Maps
- Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Entrepreneurialism is the last frontier – an uncharted region with unprecedented, unforeseen, unknown dangers, challenges and rewards.
All adventures begin with a new map, just like the territory you charted in your business plans. You drafted this plan in the ardor of a visionary impulse, tempered with a will to thrive as you grow.
30. Danger: The Early Warning Sign of Opportunity
- Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Without relying on the predictable places to hide – spread sheets, business buzzwords, risk mitigation plans, past glories – look me in the eyes. Now, point out the potential dangers for your business. When you stutter or express worry about your employees, I will know you’re being real, vulnerable, human.
31. Think Like Nature to Innovate
- Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Nature stores many business success lessons for those smart enough to see them. Companies that prove able to interpret and transfer creation’s learnings to its own culture prosper on an ongoing basis.
32. Proposals: Make Them Sing
- Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Congratulations on getting to the proposal stage. You’ll have good odds now. As a general proposal outline, try the following:
Opening Letter: this letter sets the tone of the professional relationship. Demonstrate that you understand the client’s pain points and points of stress. Tell exactly how you plan to remedy this ailment, but answer on a high strategic level, alluding to your process and approach. Add how your experience makes you a natural to solve this vexing issue. Paint an emotional and concrete picture of what the client’s work life will be after your consultation – such as “a focused, inspired sense of priority, purpose, and organizational readiness that flows at the speed of business.” Then, thank them for seriously considering the proposal. Sign your name.
33. Growing Together: Synthetic Teamwork
- Wednesday, October 17, 2012
In Henry Mintzberg’s 1994 landmark book, “The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning,” the author calls for a new method to create effective strategies. He notes that “Strategic planning isn’t strategic thinking. One is analysis, the other is synthesis.”
34. Measure Twice, Cut Once
- Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Ideas are a dime a dozen, indeed; the old cliché holds true. When following a formal Innovation process, it pays to measure the size of the market potential and validating the concept before investing in a build.
35. Measure Twice, Cut Once
- Wednesday, October 03, 2012
Ideas are a dime a dozen, indeed; the old cliché holds true. When following a formal innovation process, it pays to measure the size of the market potential and validating the concept before investing in a build.
36. Look for Lightning When Hiring
- Wednesday, September 26, 2012
We’ve been interviewing a lot lately, trying to fill key positions at the Southern Growth Studio. We have been inundated with well-qualified people seeking exile from soul-crushing corporate cultures and large, global consultancies where they feel like a machine part.
37. Business Anthropology Unlocks Opportunities
- Friday, September 21, 2012
Many consumer product, retail, and software companies are reinventing themselves and growing market share by better empathizing with the people who use their products or services. Increasingly, other businesses – from B2B companies to doctor clinics – are learning the potent power of empathy.
38. Naming the Baby: Product Naming 101
- Wednesday, August 29, 2012
If you ask business experts what is the most fundamental ingredient in a successful product launch, you may hear three things: distribution, quality or pricing. All three are merely givens in this era – mandatory.
39. No Time for Chicken Littles
- Wednesday, August 22, 2012
This is no time to get chicken … As we meet with more and more of the mid-market companies in America, we are astounded at how many of them are hiding under their desk “riding the recession out.” The old “Story of Chicken Little” comes to mind:
40. Corporations Are Crushing Spirits Of Best And Brightest
- Wednesday, August 08, 2012
As the resumes roll in for open positions here at the Studio, we are facing a trend we have suspected for a while: There are legions of burned-out corporate drones looking for liberation.
Study after study shows that Gen X and Gen Y will have more than six jobs in their lifetime, viewing each as a brief stint before their next move.
41. Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team Actually Innovates
- Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Innovation techniques influence how companies launch new products and new lines of business; however, innovation can also have a transformative, positive impact when applied to the social sector.
We have asked Memphis’ Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team a series of questions about their innovation efforts. (See related story on Page 1.)
42. Finding a Better Word for ‘Innovation’
- Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Remember when the word “paradigm” was killed in the dot-com era? How about “synergy” “edgy” or the prefix “e-” – these three expressions died from the same disease: overuse.
43. No Risk, No Reward
- Friday, June 15, 2012
A good CEO should make the CFO a little nervous. When the CFO is sleeping soundly, the CEO is not reaching high enough and lacks vision.
If the CEO does not provoke people with an aggressive vision of organic growth, someone at the firm needs to be appointed as the official risk-taker. Without risks, there is no reward.
44. Special Effect
- Friday, June 01, 2012
Earlier in Matt Singer’s career, he used the special effects wizardry of Hollywood to entertain.
Today, he’s part of a commercial enterprise with a lab and workspace in Downtown Memphis that draws on that same body of knowledge to try and improve lives.
45. Try ‘Design Thinking’ for Innovation
- Wednesday, May 30, 2012
While the word innovation thunders from the boardroom, few companies actually build a sustainable process for generating real solutions that create value. Instead, they hastily focus on an un-validated and over-caffeinated pet idea of the CEO. Or worse, they spend a lot of time and resources recreating a slightly different version of their same core offering.
46. ‘OBM’ is Symptom Of Business Sickness
- Monday, May 14, 2012
Is your business haunted by the blinding ghosts that worked in another era? The wealthiest man in Japan, Tadashi Yanai, has a business plan that looks 300 years into the future, but allows for annual updates as a matter of course. To date, he’s worth more than $6 billion.
47. Harnessing Strategic Business Growth
- Thursday, May 03, 2012
If you’re not growing, you’re dying anonymous. Growth: That Crazy Talk. Call it the entrepreneurial instinct, innovation, business savvy, whatever you want: strategic growth is how business prospers.
48. Southern Growth Studio Works With Nicklaus Cos.
- Friday, May 27, 2011
Memphis-based growth consultancy Southern Growth Studio has been hired by the Nicklaus Cos. to help the company implement a business strategy around several long-term projects.
The Nicklaus Cos., whose namesake is golf legend Jack Nicklaus, has engaged Southern Growth Studio to help with the brand’s repositioning, product portfolio assessment and new product evaluation.
- Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The Greater Memphis Paralegal Alliance will hold a continuing legal education seminar today from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the University Club of Memphis, 1346 Central Ave. The seminar, “Bankruptcy-Chapters 7, 11 & 13,” will be presented by Tommy L. Fullen. Cost is $17 for members and $25 for nonmembers. To register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.memphisparalegals.org.
50. Archived Article: Newsmakers
- Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Tennessee Press Association elects vice president
Pitts Named Principal Owner at Pickering
Robert J. Pitts was named principal owner of Pickering Inc. Pitts is the companys civil engineering team leader. He received a bachelors degree from the...
51. Archived Article: Newsmakers
- Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Allstate Insurance Honors Scientists with Awards
Allstate Insurance Honors Area Scientists
Allstate Insurance honored the following scientists with its From Whence We Came awards: Dr. Daniel L. Hunt, biostatistician with St. Jude Childrens Res...
52. Archived Article: Tech Briefs
- Wednesday, April 02, 2003
James G. Mounce III
James G. Mounce III, supervisory detention and deportation officer of the board of immigration and customs enforcement, is the speaker at the Kiwanis Club of Memphis meeting at noon today in the Venetian Room at The Peabody, 1...
53. Archived Article: Tech Briefs
- Wednesday, October 09, 2002
The Web Marketing Association honored FedEx Corp
MPact Memphis will host a leadership forum discussing the Memphis Biotechnology Initiative today at 5:30 p.m. at the Dixon Gallery. The forum will include discussions on the statewide biotech initi...
54. Archived Article: Tech Briefs
- Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Two Memphis small companies, GraberWorks and internet<dot>design, have joined forces, reported owners Michael Graber of Graber Two Memphis small companies, GraberWorks and internet<dot>design, have joined forces, reported owners Michael ...