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Howdy, entrepreneurs! If you’re all cozy in your comfort zone, relishing past successes, here’s a wake-up call: Extinction could be looming. Time to shake things up! You heard that right. Complacency, that wicked wolf in sheep’s clothing, can slaughter your business faster than you can say “Netflix.”

Now, pull up a chair, grab a mug of your strongest Joe, and prepare to learn how innovation is your only lifeline in this bloodthirsty, ever-evolving business arena.

Because this is what you need to survive.

Related: Complacency Kills Your Business. Here’s How to Fight It.

Comfort zone: Your business’s deathbed

Got a well-oiled business machine running smoothly? Congrats! Now, forget about resting on those laurels. The comfort zone, my friends, is where innovation goes to die, dreams get strangled, and businesses bite the dust.

Why so? Because the market doesn’t care about your past glories. Customers always look for the next big thing — faster, better, cooler. If you don’t keep up, you’ll end up like Blockbuster — a relic in the entrepreneurial graveyard, remembered only as a cautionary tale.

Remember, your competition isn’t sleeping. They’re plotting, scheming and innovating. While you’re cruising on autopilot, they’re out there hustling. So, dust off those cobwebs of complacency, and rev up your innovation engines.

The “innovate or die” business mantra

Innovation isn’t a fancy buzzword to throw around in board meetings. It’s the lifeblood of modern businesses. To illustrate, let’s rewind to the glorious ’90s. Remember Kodak? It was the darling of the photography industry. But when digital came knocking, Kodak clung to its film empire. Result? A swift and embarrassing downfall.

Fast-forward to today. Look at the tech titans — Apple, Amazon, Tesla. They’re always pushing boundaries, forever in beta mode. That’s why they’re the apex predators in the business jungle. The message is crystal clear: To thrive, you must, I repeat, disrupt or risk being disrupted.

So, how do you avoid the fate of the dinosaurs? You innovate. You experiment. You take risks — and most importantly, you never, ever get too comfortable.

Related: Why Innovation Is Increasingly Becoming Critical to Entrepreneurship

Nurturing an innovative culture: A practical guide

Now, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty of fostering innovation. How does one cultivate this elusive beast? Buckle up, because we’ll embark on a no-nonsense, down-to-earth, practical guide.

1. Embrace failure as a stepping stone

That’s right. Failure isn’t the enemy; it’s a critical part of the innovation process. Ever heard of WD-40? That “40” stands for the 40 attempts it took to get the formula right. Embrace failure, learn from it, and charge ahead.

2. Foster diversity and inclusion

Do you want fresh ideas? Start by getting fresh perspectives. Foster a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion. Hire people who look, think and experience life differently from you. Their unique perspectives can lead to breakthrough innovations.

3. Encourage curiosity and questioning

Create an environment where every question is welcome and curiosity is cherished. Remember, every innovation starts with a question. So, encourage your team to ask questions without any fear.

4. Promote a risk-taking culture

Innovation thrives on risks. When teams fear consequences, bold ideas fade. Dare to venture for success! You must cultivate an atmosphere where calculated risk-taking is encouraged and rewarded. The next groundbreaking idea might just be lurking in one of those risks!

5. Invest in continuous learning and development

Innovation thrives in an environment where learning is continuous. Equip your team with the latest skills and knowledge related to your industry. Get them excited about workshops, seminars and courses. Create a supportive space for growth, learning and personal development.

6. Collaborate beyond your walls

Innovation doesn’t happen in silos. Collaborate with other businesses, universities or research institutions. You never know where the next big idea might come. These partnerships can bring fresh insights and invigorate your team with renewed enthusiasm.

7. Provide time for creative thinking

The daily grind can often stifle creativity. Encourage your team to take time off their routine tasks for creative thinking. This “innovation time” can be used to brainstorm new ideas, explore new technologies or simply think about better ways to perform their duties.

8. Implement a good idea management system

To nurture innovation, you need a system to collect, analyze and implement ideas from your team. An efficient idea management system ensures that no good idea goes unnoticed. It also encourages your team to contribute their ideas, knowing they will be considered seriously.

9. Celebrate success, learn from failures

When an innovative idea works, celebrate it. If it doesn’t work out, embrace the lesson. Acknowledge and celebrate your team’s innovative ideas, regardless of the result. This not only motivates them but also signals that you value innovation.

10. Lead by example

As a leader, you influence your organization’s atmosphere. To encourage innovation:

  1. Lead through action

  2. Be the inspiration you seek

  3. Demonstrate your commitment to innovation through your actions

  4. Be open to new ideas, encourage healthy debates, take calculated risks, and continuously learn and adapt

Related: 9 Ways Your Company Can Encourage Innovation

Innovation is a journey, not a destination

Hey, fellow trailblazers! Innovation is no one-time gig; it’s a journey of constant improvement. Keep pushing boundaries, challenging norms and staying curious.

Remember: Stop innovating, and you risk fading away. No room for complacency! Let’s shake things up, reinvent and leave a lasting legacy.

As Steve Jobs said, “Innovation distinguishes leaders from followers.” Ready to lead?

Keep those creative juices flowing, stay hungry, and stay foolish. Happy innovating! Until next time, stay innovative and keep your businesses alive and kicking.

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We often elevate inventors like Edison, Ford and Musk to almost mythical status, attributing seemingly impossible mental powers to them. We imagine some lone genius churning away in a cluttered garage, conjuring up the next big thing.

In reality, most groundbreaking changes don’t come from inventing something out of thin air; they emerge from optimizing, scaling and rethinking what’s already out there. Case in point: Steve Jobs didn’t invent the mobile phone or the computer, but he innovated and revolutionized how we interact with these devices.

When asked about his approach to innovation, Jobs had a simple answer: “Start with the customer experience and work backward from there.” He wasn’t trying to push fancy new technology down the market’s throat; he focused on what was missing in the user experience and worked backward from there.

Related: 11 Innovation Strategies That Can Effectively Increase Your Businesses’ Growth

Emulating nature’s adaptability in business

In nature, adaptation is the name of the game. Look at the finches in the Galápagos Islands: Over time, they adapted their beaks to suit their food sources better. The beaks didn’t change overnight; they evolved incrementally to serve the finches’ needs better. Similarly, in the business world, the best innovations often come from small, targeted adjustments, not massive overhauls.

Southwest Airlines didn’t invent flying, nor did they invent the low-cost airline model. They did innovate the airline industry by focusing on simplicity and efficiency, making air travel accessible to the masses. They disrupted the industry not by creating something new but by doing something existing — far better.

The concept of lodging isn’t new, but Airbnb revolutionized it by allowing everyday homeowners to turn residences into short-term rentals. They filled a gap by providing more lodging options in locations that traditional hotels didn’t serve.

Related: Are You a Disruptor or a Destructor? A Complete Guide to Innovation for Today’s Leaders

So, how do you innovate? What’s your formula? Look to the North Star: Your customer

Making your customer the North Star of your business strategy makes you far more likely to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace. Innovation isn’t just a one-time, instantaneous thing; it’s an ongoing process that continually aligns your business with your customers’ evolving needs and wants.

Steve Jobs hit the nail on the head when he said, “Start with the customer experience and work backward from there.” Why? Because if you’re not laser-focused on what your customers truly need, you’re not just missing an opportunity — you’re risking your business.

But it’s not a time to hit the panic button; it’s a wake-up call. This is your chance to pivot and take your business from overlooked to overbooked. The name of the game is customer-centric innovation. Let’s dig into the nitty-gritty strategies that can transform your customer experience from ‘meh’ to ‘marvelous.’

Related: How to Tap Into Innovation, the Most Essential Part of Your Entrepreneurial Journey

Uncommon tactics for true innovation

Tap Into Unconventional Feedback Channels

  1. Ethnographic Studies: Send a team to observe how your product or service is used in real-world conditions. Take note of pain points that may not be explicitly stated in other customer reviews.
  2. Customer Diaries: Ask a sample of customers to maintain a diary focused on your product or service, detailing their daily experiences and frustrations.
  3. NPS+: Beyond the regular Net Promoter Score surveys, ask those who gave you low scores to join a quick chat to elaborate on their issues.

Dig Deeper Into Analysis

  1. Sentiment Analysis on User Reviews: Use AI tools to scan reviews for emotional tone. It gives you more context than just “positive” or “negative.”
  2. Predictive Analytics: Use machine learning to predict customer behavior based on their interactions with your product. This can help you innovate proactively rather than reactively.
  3. Eye-Tracking Studies: If you’re in the digital space, eye-tracking can help you understand what grabs attention on your website or app and why.

Hands-On Innovation

  1. Customer Co-Creation: Invite customers to participate in ideation or co-design sessions. Offer generous incentives for their participation. Their insights could lead you to innovate in ways you hadn’t considered because you’re looking at your business from your customers’ perspective.
  2. Hackathons: This deserves an explanation. A hackathon is essentially an intense brainstorming event where developers, designers, and other stakeholders come together to solve specific problems or build something new quickly — often within 24 to 48 hours. Here, “hack” means exploratory programming, not illegal activities. It’s a fantastic environment for creativity and innovation, as people often step out of their usual roles and collaborate in ways they wouldn’t in a typical workday.
  3. Shadow Boards: Create a board of younger employees or those lower in the hierarchy but close to everyday problems. Ask for their insights into gaps, issues and overlooked opportunities. They might see things that C-level execs might overlook.

Agile and Beyond

  1. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs): If you’re looking to stir the innovation pot, OKRs can serve as your roadmap and measuring stick. They ensure everyone is purposefully aligned but free in approach, which is a sweet spot for breakthrough thinking. This approach ensures everyone is working toward the same objectives, fostering a culture of accountability and alignment. Use this framework to keep teams aligned and focused on innovation-driven goals.
  2. Skunk Works Team: When it comes to fueling innovation, you’ve got to think about building a Skunk Works Team. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill project group; it’s a hand-picked, cross-functional dream team laser-focused on shaking things up. Have a dedicated, cross-functional team focused entirely on innovation, operating with different rules than the rest of the organization to expedite creativity.

By implementing these unconventional strategies, you’re going beyond the obvious to make your business an innovation powerhouse. Sure, you still need to listen, identify gaps and act. But these advanced tactics put a spin on the how, making the whole process far more robust and effective.

Innovation isn’t just about making something new; it’s about improving something. Whether tweaking your service offering, creating a more user-friendly product, or simply finding a new way to meet customer needs, it’s all about filling those gaps. You don’t have to be an Edison or a Ford to be an innovator. You just need a keen eye, an open ear, and the courage to take risks. Innovation isn’t about inventing the wheel; it’s about reimagining how it can roll more efficiently and improve lives.

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Today, most people take their checkout experience at the supermarket for granted. They push up their carts, unload their groceries and watch as the cashier scans item after item. It just makes sense, so much that older generations hardly remember the days when products were stamped with prices to be rung up manually, and younger ones rarely consider a world where that was the norm.

That’s because the Universal Product Code (UPC) — the barcode used on every product in grocery and retail stores all over the globe — changed everything 50 years ago. Barcodes are scanned billions of times each day, and award-winning engineer Paul McEnroe, who spent more than two decades in leadership roles at IBM, assembled and led the team that transformed the technology from an idea into the reality that endures.

But McEnroe’s role in developing the barcode hasn’t been fully acknowledged. The UPC’s unpatented technology is in the public domain, so McEnroe earns no royalties from the invention, and a quick Google search for “who invented the barcode” turns up a Wikipedia page lauding someone named Norman Joseph Woodland.

So, what happened?

It’s a big question that McEnroe is eager to answer in his memoir The Barcode: How a Team Created One of the World’s Most Ubiquitous Technologies, forthcoming from Silicon Valley Press on September 19.

Image credit: Courtesy of Smith Publicity

Related: How Entrepreneurial Creativity Leads to Innovation | Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur sat down with McEnroe ahead of the memoir’s publication to learn more about how the UPC came to be, where the confusion over its inventor stems from and what advice he’d give young leaders who want to change the world like he and his team did so many years ago.

“We could come up with some kind of a symbol to be read optically or magnetically.”

It all started in 1969. IBM wanted to explore growth opportunities and buy startups, but the company was told it wouldn’t succeed. “Everybody important, all the inventors and so on, are going to quit the next morning because they don’t want the white shirts, blue coats, red ties and black wingtip shoes that was the culture of [IBM at] the time,” McEnroe says.

Determined to innovate despite that reputation, IBM “decided to paint an imaginary red line” around part of the company and charge McEnroe with leading it — so he did. The Dayton, Ohio native grew up “in the shadow of the National Cash Register Company,” which had a monopoly on checkstands worldwide, and he knew there was a better way to do the “big, old, cast-iron cash register’s job.”

People in the supermarket and retail sectors agreed. There was a common refrain: We need to do a better job of inventory control. We’re spending a tremendous amount of money. Marking the price on every item in the store takes a lot of time, and as soon as we mark the prices, they’re wrong.

McEnroe was well aware of technologies that could address the problem. “We could come up with some kind of a symbol to be read optically or magnetically,” McEnroe says. He and his team would do both — though the optical one “has taken off the most.”

The recently invented laser provided a directional and consistently distributed light source, and McEnroe was familiar with the technology, having used it in previous projects. The low-cost, low-power, safe option offered an opportunity to make progress on the UPC.

Related: IBM Says 7,800 of Its Roles Could Be Replaced By AI | Entrepreneur

“So, I went to [IBM], just like you would go to a venture capitalist today in Silicon Valley or Boston or wherever, and I proposed that we go after this business,” McEnroe recalls, “that we build equipment that would fit in the stores, inventory equipment that would sit in a warehouse and control equipment that would sit at the headquarters. And it would all work together.”

The technology would use item identification for automatic reordering and listing on the display and cash register slip, featuring the name of the product purchased, how much it cost and any other necessary information.

McEnroe requested three years of funding from IBM: $300,000 for the first year, $1,000,000 for the second, and $3,000,000 for the third. The company agreed and asked McEnroe to do the job in North Carolina, where it had just built a plant that wasn’t yet filled with production equipment. So McEnroe made the move and hired six people for his team.

“I think it’s been very good for society because nobody has had to pay anything for the use of the code.”

The following year, in 1970, the National Association of Food Chains (NAFC) formed a committee to examine the problem of item identification, hiring consulting company McKinsey to help it do so. By 1971, McEnroe and his team had developed their code, and in 1972, the supermarket committee asked all interested companies to present proposals for how they would automate supermarkets, including item identification.

Those who submitted codes had to agree to donate them to the public domain before they could be accepted, which meant no patents or royalties for their inventors. As a result, McEnroe and his team didn’t expect to see any money from the UPC. “That’s the way it’s worked out,” McEnroe says. “I think it’s been very good for society because nobody has had to pay anything for the use of the code.”

McEnroe and another team member named Jack Jones share the patent on the pistol-grip handheld barcode scanner, though they don’t earn any royalties from it either. “As far as I know and at least during my time, when engineers signed on with IBM they signed all the rights to any patent they may do while working for the company to the company itself, so IBM owns the patent not the inventor,” McEnroe explains.

In 1973, the committee chose McEnroe’s team’s code and proposal, and they shipped the first products out in 1974, though only to five supermarkets. It took several years to “achieve a reasonable volume,” McEnroe recalls. At that point, he left the program to work in a different part of the company. By the early 1980s, the UPC had exploded.

Image credit: Courtesy of Smith Publicity

“[It] couldn’t have misreads and charge people the wrong price. That was the biggest single problem.”

Naturally, McEnroe and his team came up against some significant challenges during the UPC’s development and launch. They had to create a code that was “robust” enough to be read through plastic, which could be compromised by the way light shone, frost or any number of other factors. It had to work when it was pulled across the checkstand quickly and not necessarily held flat.

“You didn’t want the operator to even have to see the code,” McEnroe explains. “If she knows the codes are typically on the bottom of packages, pulls the package across, doesn’t even look at the bottom of the package. So it had to be very reliable. [It] couldn’t have misreads and charge people the wrong price. That was the biggest single problem.”

It took McEnroe and his team two years to build the self-correcting code that could fix itself automatically in real-time.

Other “extraneous technical problems” arose too — How to send the signal from the front of the store to the back efficiently? — but McEnroe says one of the biggest, unexpected problems was actually the technology’s public reception. “[There was] the social problem of people and organizations coming to grips with the fact that the price [was] no longer on the merchandise,” McEnroe explains.

“Labor unions were afraid that they were going to lose checkstand operator positions.”

The backlash was so extreme that the UPC’s public unveiling in 1974 didn’t go as planned. McEnroe’s chief engineer called him to say the store couldn’t open. McEnroe was shocked; they’d checked the technology so often, and it was so reliable. But it wasn’t a technical failure: It was a picket line.

Labor unions were afraid that they were going to lose checkstand operator positions,” McEnroe says. “So they picketed the store, and then 18 states passed laws against taking the price off of the merchandise or laws that made it so if you had a scanner in the store, you couldn’t take the price off your merchandise.”

Related: Report: AI Will Take More Jobs Away from Women Than Men

McEnroe had to travel around the country to explain the technology’s benefits and safety, as operators might have to stand over the lasers for years. McEnroe knew the technology was safe; he’d brought monkeys from Africa and tested them at Stanford Research Institute.

“And of course it was safe because A, [the laser] didn’t come out the window, except rarely, and B, we had proved that if it did come out the window and they looked at it for several years, it still wouldn’t hurt them,” McEnroe says.

“I had known his name because I had studied the history of the codes. And his name was Joe Woodland.”

McEnroe built and led the team that developed the UPC, which became widely used by the 1980s and still is. But if you Google “who invented the barcode,” McEnroe’s name is scarcely seen. Instead, a Wikipedia page cites Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver as the technology’s co-creators.

Why? It started with the ring of a telephone.

After he and his team came up with their code, McEnroe got a call from another IBM employee based in New York. “I had known his name because I had studied the history of the codes,” McEnroe says. “And his name was Joe Woodland.”

On the call, Woodland reiterated that he’d invented a bullseye code for supermarkets in 1948. The code was patented in 1952, per the Smithsonian. By 1973, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) owned the patent and was one of 14 companies that submitted a code to the committee for consideration, McEnroe recalls.

But there was one major issue with Woodland’s code, McEnroe says: It didn’t work well enough for supermarket and retail adoption.

According to McEnroe, Woodland knew it, too. “I’ve studied the code that your team has come up with, and I know my code, and your code is so much better that there’s no comparison,” McEnroe remembers Woodland telling him over the phone. “I would like to join your team. I would love to live in North Carolina and work for you and be your interface and your marketing person to market your code to the world.”

Gee, what could be better than having the guy who invented the first supermarket code — but one that didn’t work and had never been implemented — on your team? McEnroe thought.

McEnroe did hire Woodland, who moved down to Raleigh and spent the rest of his career working on the UPC project. McEnroe acknowledges that Woodland invented the first supermarket code but maintains that “Wikipedia just got it wrong.” “[Woodland’s code] was never used in any volume at all,” he explains. “Just in the test store that Kroger did in Cincinnati. I went and visited that store and saw it didn’t work either. And we tested it six ways from Sunday.”

Related: Can Robot Shoppers Tell If the Bananas Are Ripe? | Entrepreneur

“I don’t know what he told them. Whatever he told them, they actually gave him the Medal of Technology.”

So why do most inquiries into the barcode’s creator lead back to Woodland? McEnroe says George H.W. Bush’s presidential run against Bill Clinton played a significant role.

At the time, about 20 years after the UPC’s development, Bush was “not seen as coupled with the reality of the American housewife,” McEnroe says. Most people had been using the technology for more than a decade; to present a relatable front, Bush partook in a demo run by the Super Market Institute in Florida, “where a supermarket had been artificially set up inside of a convention center.”

Bush had a chance to use a scanner on the code for the first time. “So he got his picture taken, scanning items, and he said, ‘This is amazing. It’s the greatest technology I’ve ever seen — who invented this thing? And they said, ‘Well, we don’t know. Somebody from IBM,'” McEnroe says.

Bush told them to find out who it was because he wanted to give them the National Medal of Technology. When his people called the supermarket committee, they were given the original proposal put together by Woodland. “That’s the first thing I’d asked Woodland to do as a marketing guy — not an inventor of our code, but a marketing guy — to write the proposal for the barcode,” McEnroe explains.

Woodland wrote the proposal, and his contact information was on the back in case anyone had questions. The engineering group had already been disbanded; Woodland, nearing retirement, was the last one working on the barcode. “I don’t know what he told them,” McEnroe says. “Whatever he told them, they actually gave him the Medal of Technology.”

Related: Bill Gates Says These Tech Innovations Will Change the World

The Bush-Clinton race would further solidify the narrative of Woodland as the barcode inventor. As the tide turned against the incumbent, McEnroe recalls that the supermarket demo was written up in the news quite a bit, and he began to recognize a pattern in the telling of the technology’s development.

Typically, one paragraph would say Woodland invented the first supermarket code (“That’s quite true,” McEnroe admits). Another would describe Woodland’s role in marketing and selling the code McEnroe and his team created later.

“What he doesn’t say is that in between the two, his code wasn’t used for years and years,” McEnroe says. “And the other code was taken as the national standard. And it’s the one that everybody’s using. So the one that he promoted and the one that he was the marketing guy for was successful. And that is the universal product code; that’s the vertical bar code we have today. His original code didn’t go anywhere.”

Woodland’s patent had already expired by the time the supermarket committee convened. “The IBM lawyers said it didn’t even read,” McEnroe adds. “The whole method of deciphering how wide a black bar is in a white space is dramatically different. It’s a technical thing, but it’s dramatically different in our code [than] it was in [Woodland’s] circular code.”

Related: She Presented Her Life-Saving App to Tim Cook at Age 16

“This is a story that…gives you ideas about how you go about things to this day.”

McEnroe recognizes there’s “a lot of misunderstanding about who did what with the code” — and says ‘”it was time to get that corrected.” That’s why, 50 years after the UPC’s development, the engineer is publishing his memoir to help set the record straight. The book includes an appendix with documents that refute certain claims, like the misconception that IBM came up with the UPC in just a few weeks.

“There are a couple books that have been written by the Super Market Institute about incorporating [the UPC] into the supermarket itself and how it affected that,” McEnroe says. “But this is a story that shows not only that, but also how it was created — it gives you ideas about how you go about things to this day.”

McEnroe says he and his team thought the UPC might last 20 or 30 years, not as long as it has. But the UPC solved a problem that society was struggling with for some time, made checkouts work more efficiently, and was reliable and easy to implement — all things he believes contribute to a technology’s longevity. Even QR codes, which allow scanning in two directions for more data, are a variation of McEnroe’s code.

Related: How Menu QR Codes Became an Essential Tool for Every Restaurant and Bar

Not surprisingly, McEnroe is often asked for his advice to young professionals who want to change the world. And perhaps the most important thing, alongside a certain amount of luck and patience? Keeping an open mind, McEnroe says — but being “disciplined in your curiosity.”

“Fifty years ago, it was a lot harder to understand what was available in the world,” McEnroe explains. “And nowadays, with the internet, that’s a lot easier. Before, you had almost no choice but to be a degreed engineer, go to school, study at the school, go to the libraries. Now that would be fine, but you also can do a great deal of this work by using the internet and just searching things up. But you have to be careful about what you look up. Is it right, or just something somebody else wrote down?”

Being part of a team and recognizing that you can accomplish more together than you can on your own is also vital, as is maintaining those relationships along the way.

“Don’t burn your bridges as you go through life,” McEnroe says. “When you have to go back and call upon people, they’re going to be happy to come and help you again. I had to do that so many times, and everybody that I called upon to help me was extremely helpful. As you’re working with people when you’re younger, work with them well and leave a good taste in their mouth, and then they’ll help you later on.”

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In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the word “innovation” gets thrown around quite a bit. However, it’s crucial for leaders, especially those in C-suite roles, to grasp the nuanced differences between Disruptive Innovation and Destructive Innovation. Despite the similarity in names, they are not interchangeable.

Several years ago, I was one of five keynote speakers at the Asian Disruptive Leadership Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The day before the event, they held a press conference with the speakers at a table and the media asking questions from the room. A young man directed a question to me. He asked, “Mr. Deming, can you tell us the difference between disruptive and destructive innovation?” In a few words, and more conversationally, I described it as follows.

Related: Disruption vs. Innovation: Defining Success

What is disruptive innovation?

Disruptive Innovation is a term coined by Clayton Christensen in 1997. It refers to a process where a smaller company, often with fewer resources, manages to challenge established industry leaders. The disruptors do this by targeting overlooked market segments or creating new markets altogether. Over time, these disruptors refine their products or services and start attracting a broader audience, eventually undermining the existing market leaders.

Related: Disruption Is More Than the Buzzword It’s Become

Some examples:

  • Amazon: Started as an online bookstore, now it’s reshaping retail, logistics, cloud computing — you name it.
  • Google: Moved from search engine to digital advertising titan, and now it’s into everything from autonomous cars to healthcare.
  • Tesla: Electric cars used to be a joke. Now, Tesla’s forced the entire auto industry to go electric or go home.
  • Uber: Decimated the traditional taxi industry by making ridesharing accessible, affordable, and convenient.
  • Spotify: Revolutionized music consumption, shifting the focus from album sales to streaming subscriptions.

Key characteristics of disruptive innovators:

  • Targets niche markets initially.
  • Creates accessibility, usually through lower costs or simplicity.
  • Gradually gains market share.
  • Alters the competitive landscape. Builds new opportunities.
  • Adds value to the market.
  • Promotes sustainable growth.

Why these matter

These innovators didn’t just create products; they created markets and shifted paradigms. They started with niche audiences and scaled up, eventually disrupting and often dominating their industries.

So, the lesson here? Be the Amazon or Tesla in your space. Think about the niches that are overlooked and how you can bring them to the forefront. It’s not just about technology; it’s about vision and having the courage to redefine an industry.

Related: How to Reject the Status Quo and Redefine Your Success

What is destructive innovation?

On the flip side, Destructive Innovation refers to technologies or practices that harm or make existing models obsolete without adding significant value to the industry or consumers. In some cases, they may offer short-term gains, but the long-term ramifications could be detrimental. Destructive innovators often leave a trail of unintended consequences.

Some examples:

  • Sold pet supplies online, but its unsustainable business model led to its collapse and had repercussions across e-commerce.
  • Lehman Brothers: Engaged in risky financial practices that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis.
  • MySpace: Tried to monetize too aggressively with ads, which deteriorated user experience and opened the door for Facebook.
  • Kodak: Introduced the digital camera but failed to adapt, essentially disrupting its own film business without a sustainable digital strategy.

Related: Don’t Make the Same Mistake Leaders at Kodak, Blockbuster and Xerox Made When Disruption Comes to Your Industry

Key characteristics of destructive innovators:

  • Undermines existing value networks.
  • This could lead to job losses or reduced industry growth.
  • Risks long-term damage.
  • May result in ethical or social issues.
  • Could pigeonhole you as a short-term opportunist.
  • Offers little or no long-term value addition.

Why these matter

These companies either disrupted without adding lasting value or operated in ways that had negative long-term impacts. The key takeaway here is that innovation without sustainability or ethical considerations can often lead to destructive outcomes.

Understanding these examples can be a cautionary guide. It reminds us that innovation shouldn’t just be groundbreaking; it must be responsible and sustainable to be truly transformative.

Why the difference matters

So, why should you care about the difference? Well, the path you choose has profound implications for your business model, market positioning, and long-term sustainability. Whether you’re a seasoned executive, a budding entrepreneur or a forward-thinking sales director, understanding these terms can help you steer your company in the direction that leads to long-term success rather than a short-lived buzz.

Your choice could be the difference between leaving a legacy of growth and innovation or just becoming a cautionary tale in someone else’s keynote. So, the question isn’t if you should disrupt, but how will you disrupt responsibly and effectively?

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing business operations in subtle yet unprecedented ways, though it undoubtedly arouses apprehension. Amid cries of “the robots are coming for our jobs,” it’s easy to perceive AI as an impending threat. However, individuals who invest time in understanding and utilizing AI can unlock tremendous opportunities for personal and professional advancement.

AI’s goal isn’t to displace roles but to enhance human potential. It automates repetitive, low-value tasks, enabling people to upskill and shoulder more strategic responsibilities. Entrepreneurs who can harness AI as a tool of empowerment are likely to advance in their careers and increase their earning potential. Let’s dive deeper into discussing the problems one of the hottest AI solutions can solve today.

Related: Does AI Deserve All the Hype? Here’s How You Can Actually Use AI in Your Business

Challenges of bootstrapped startups and solopreneurs

Bootstrapped startups and solopreneurs encounter a plethora of challenges. One is the inability to afford a big team due to constrained finances. As a result, founders often multitask, handling every aspect of the business. This approach frequently leads to burnout as the workload outstrips capacity, and critical business needs may fall by the wayside due to a lack of resources.

Areas like sales, marketing, finance, HR and customer support demand dedicated focus for effective execution. However, bootstrapped businesses rarely have the budget to support entire departments or multiple hires. Even outsourcing these responsibilities to external agencies can prove cost-prohibitive in the long run.

The scarcity of human resources also inhibits innovation and strategic thinking. Founders caught up in firefighting daily issues often have little time left for high-level planning and product development. Neglecting these priorities can curtail a startup’s growth potential over time. With limited access to talent and expertise, bootstrappers need to stretch every dollar.

Constant bootstrapping also caps the upside, making it tough to compete with well-funded ventures. Therefore, finding affordable solutions to address human resource gaps is vital for solopreneurs and startups building sustainable, thriving businesses. The advent of AI-powered virtual staffing emerges as a promising new avenue worth exploring.

Related: 10 Ways to Preserve Cash as a Bootstrapped Startup

AI virtual staffing: A smarter approach

The idea of our AI virtual staffing agency, Olympia, was born from the inability to hire top (more expensive) experts in a startup I previously worked for. I constantly had to redo someone else’s work instead of building more partnerships and launching creative campaigns to increase our revenue. My future co-founder then offered to create a couple of AI specialists for me to play with, and it was a game-changer. Today, Olympia’s early adopters love them like I do, and we continue building our startup with our own product.

Traditional staffing models are evolving with AI integration. AI-powered virtual staffing emerges as an innovative solution, providing startups and solopreneurs with affordable expertise and expanded capabilities.

AI-powered virtual assistants and consultants can handle various responsibilities, from content creation and SEO to legal consulting and marketing. Operating round the clock, these AI team members efficiently manage tedious yet crucial tasks, allowing business owners to concentrate on high-level strategy and innovation.

The benefits for resource-strained startups and solopreneurs are considerable. AI virtual staffing delivers the expertise and support of entire human teams at a fraction of the cost, expanding capabilities without inflating payrolls. This model points to a shift towards hybrid intelligence, where humans and AI collaborate to propel business success.

By adopting AI virtual staffing, entrepreneurs can optimize productivity, reduce costs and compete effectively. Combining human creativity and AI power equips startups and indie hackers with a formidable competitive edge. This tech innovation paves the way for a future where humans focus on responsibilities best suited to their cognitive strengths, backed by an AI workforce handling tactical execution. Unquestionably, AI virtual staffing is an affordable solution for founders aiming to scale their businesses sustainably.

Related: Generative AI Is Enabling Creators To Take On Massive Workloads. Here’s How.

Staying ahead with AI

In today’s digital era, incorporating AI into business operations is necessary to remain competitive. Companies that hesitate to leverage AI risk falling behind as their more forward-thinking competitors surge ahead. Beyond cost savings, AI integration offers numerous advantages, enabling organizations to embrace the future today.

AI virtual assistants empower businesses to develop products and services cost-effectively, efficiently and in less time. Moreover, AI enables hyper-personalized customer experiences based on predictive analytics, fostering brand loyalty.

Another advantage lies in AI systems’ continuous self-improvement, allowing companies to keep pace with technological advancements. As these AI solutions access more data and process power over time, they become more intelligent. Businesses that adopt AI now will reap the benefits as the technology evolves.

Embracing AI grants businesses amplified abilities to ideate, create, problem-solve and make data-driven decisions. It also liberates resources to experiment with emerging technologies such as AR/VR and the metaverse. For solopreneurs and startups seeking venture capital, demonstrating AI integration signals technical prowess and future readiness.

Failing to integrate AI could lead to obsolescence. Companies that ignore traditional operational methods in favor of AI adoption position themselves as trailblazers in their industries. With AI woven into their business DNA, they are well-equipped to dominate markets for years to come.

Related: 6 Ways Small Business Owners Can Get Their Employees to Use AI


The new AI era is brimming with opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses. For startups and solopreneurs restricted by resources, AI-powered virtual staffing emerges as a transformative solution, offering affordable expertise and supercharged productivity.

However, embracing change is not without its challenges. Transitioning to new systems demands technical expertise and a readiness to reshape traditional mindsets. But transformation is rarely effortless or seamless — it nudges us out of our comfort zones, prompting growth. The key lies in perceiving AI as an empowering tool rather than a potential threat.

Those committed to continuous learning and adopting the right mindset towards AI stand at the beginning of exciting new times. The future belongs to the bold and pioneering companies that harness AI.

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Innovation is the source of critical differentiation in competitive markets. Unfortunately, innovation has become a buzzword for something that looks more like creativity in practice — or worse, incremental improvements. This conflation has had an undeniable detrimental effect on companies and consumers alike.

Creativity is the generation of new ideas. While valuable, these concepts cannot always be marketed or commercialized. Instead of addressing true consumers’ met or unmet needs, they were generated based on technical know-how. Even when they can be commercialized, they don’t often drive revenue or profit growth as expected.

On the other hand, innovation is driven by consumer needs and demands, especially unmet needs. Ultimately, innovation is the differentiator influencing consumer behavior, creating new revenue and increasing profit — all the makings of a market leader. Innovation is about transformation: achieving more with less, finding new ways of doing things and identifying ways to create new consumer demand. Especially in uncertain times, how do you significantly alter the playing field to your benefit?

Two key types of innovation drive increased profits: new-to-the-world solutions and new-to-the-market solutions. For either method of innovation to be successful, executive leadership must build and foster a culture that relentlessly prioritizes listening to the targeted consumers it aims to serve. Innovation can happen only by harnessing the power of people — especially those with different ways of thinking.

Related: 11 Innovation Strategies That Can Effectively Increase Your Businesses’ Growth

1. New-to-the-world solutions

New-to-the-world solutions are not existing products with incremental changes made; they are original in their approach to problem-solving and often create new categories that irrevocably change the market. New-to-the-world solutions require a deep understanding of consumers’ unmet needs and behaviors to accurately identify and address problems that consumers may not even realize they have. This means listening to what consumers don’t say and observing what they do. Based on this consumer understanding, technological know-how can make solutions.

Consider the classic example of how Netflix reinvented itself during the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, surpassing Blockbuster to change the entire at-home entertainment landscape. The company saw consumer demand shrinking and found new ways to create more value for consumers via home delivery and streaming content directly to the consumers’ homes.

Gone are the days of video cassettes, DVDs and Blu-ray disks — and better yet, consumers don’t need to drive to the stores to pick them up. While such a thing was unthinkable just 15 years ago, Netflix has since evolved into the streaming platform we all know and enjoy from our devices — a true innovative shift.

Related: Want to Build a Faster Horse? Follow these 3 Innovation Strategies

The rapid advancement of the internet also revolutionized traditional workplaces, including office supplies. As emails began to dominate modern professional communication, 3M’s Post-It notes were put in a somewhat sticky situation — and so 3M invented an innovative product that was even stickier. The Post-It Super Sticky notes could adhere to any vertical surface — including chairs, doors, computers, refrigerators, etc. This innovation addressed the needs of consumers who still preferred physical, visual reminders but found themselves using paper memos less frequently. The Post-it Super Sticky notes were made in vibrant colors, offering a convenient reminder that could be placed almost anywhere, ensuring that the product remained relevant and helpful even in the digital age.

By contrast, Google failed to understand the true unmet needs of its consumers when the company first launched its “moonshot” Google Glass in 2014. Despite the “smart” glasses’ cutting-edge technology, the product was discontinued after just one year. Despite its live map imaging and hands-free web navigation, Google botched its assessment of the product’s marketability — opting for a “clunky” shape, overcomplicated features, and an overwrought price tag ($1,500).

This is a classic example of a new-to-the-world product that myopically prioritized sleek, convenient bells and whistles over simplicity and accessibility. Google also failed to consider the desires and budgets of consumers properly. The product did not offer an authentic solution to make consumers’ lives easy and affordable.

Related: Why Combining Company Culture with Strategy is Necessary for Lasting Business Success

2. New-to-the-market solutions

New-to-the-market solutions deliver an already-existing product to a region or market where it was not previously familiar or available. This does not require a fundamental change to the product itself but rather an integration into a new demographic of consumers — but not all products that succeed in one region are destined to succeed in another. Therefore, it’s crucial to take note of the ethnographic differences between markets and to develop a deep understanding of the cultures being marketed to.

WD-40 is a prime example of a longtime staple of the American home that was popularized globally. Invented in San Diego in 1953, WD-40 was created for Convair to protect missiles from rust and corrosion and was later used more widely for its water-resistance and lubrication properties. The product was not introduced to Latin America until the 1960s, when it was presented as a valuable tool for people from all walks of life — including mechanics, cleaners, and individuals preparing for natural disasters.

In addition to sponsorships of sporting events and festivals, the company was careful to market WD-40 to the Latin American audience through localized campaigns tailored to regional needs and interests. Lastly, the company established partnerships with local retailers and distributors to ensure the product’s accessibility. WD-40 was known for its versatility and reliability, but its affordability and universality propelled its successful sales in over 170 countries worldwide.

Related: Great Minds Think Unalike — 3 Ways to Drive True Innovation Through Diversity

Unlike WD-40, Bunnings — an Australian hardware and garden center chain — struck out in the UK market. While Bunnings was able to understand and cater to the needs of Australian homeowners, its leadership failed to consider the UK’s very different DIY habits, climate and competitive landscape.

After overpaying for the UK-based home store chain Homebase, Bunnings made drastic changes to its logo, layout, and product mix without raising awareness around Bunnings’ brand in the UK. Bunnings also failed to invest in its UK presence properly, alienating potential consumers familiar with Homebase. Thus, Bunnings and its products failed to catch on with UK consumers, and in 2018, the brand was forced to sell Homebase at a loss of 1.7 billion Sterling pounds.

The reality is that creativity alone will not create demand nor change consumer behavior. True innovation requires a combination of creativity, foresight and deep consumer understanding to deliver the right solutions for consumers’ unmet needs. Our current economy is actually primed for innovation — this troubled market is similar to what Netflix faced back in 2008, and company leaders would be wise to follow Netflix’s example.

Now is the time when generational entrepreneurs launch their world-changing businesses, and real innovative ideas are born. For existing companies, large and small, it’s a time to double down on the core of who you are and what can be best offered to consumers to drive new demand.

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In 2013, Heather Torres lived in East Dallas and couldn’t get enough of the nearby Dallas Arboretum’s “beautiful pumpkin displays” — so she took inspiration from them to spruce up her own front porch. “I’ve always enjoyed decorating for all of the holidays,” Torres tells Entrepreneur, “and I really love decorating with pumpkins. My personal displays would just get bigger and bigger every year.”

Friends would ask Torres to decorate their homes, and once her kids were old enough to be in school, she started thinking, How do you take something that you love to do and offer a service? What would that be? For Torres, it would be Porch Pumpkins, the concierge pumpkin delivery service she launched in 2020.

Porch Pumpkins has expanded considerably over the past several years. Today, Torres’s business offers four decoration packages priced between $300 and $1,300, plus optional add-ons, to pumpkin-lovers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area and Houston. It also boasts 15 designers, 10 delivery drivers and a warehouse team.

But during that first season in business, Torres made the deliveries herself and stayed up “until midnight or 1 a.m.” routing new orders she accepted throughout the day. By the following year, she had a website to track sales and order numbers, and it’s a good thing, too — because business is booming more than ever before.

This year, Porch Pumpkins started taking orders on July 24 — and sold out on August 14. The business booked 900 residential homes for the fall 2023 season and will begin loading 18-wheeler trucks full of festive gourds on September 5, with deliveries starting a few weeks later in Dallas-Fort Worth and the beginning of October in Houston.

Pumpkin aficionados in the area still hoping for a display this fall can join a waiting list on the Porch Pumpkins website.

Related: 15 Strategies for Quickly Expanding Your Business | Entrepreneur

“The concierge pumpkin business model was kind of an untapped market.”

Torres followed her passion for pumpkins into business because she saw a fresh opportunity. “People love having holiday decor,” she explains, with its capacity to “warm your heart” and “make your house more homey” — but that doesn’t mean they necessarily want to do all of the work themselves.

You can hire an interior decorator to deck out your Christmas tree or select holiday decor for your home, Torres says. But she notes that a similar offering for fall didn’t exist before Porch Pumpkins, even though decorating for the season can be even more cumbersome.

“The pumpkins themselves are big and large and heavy and dirty,” Torres explains. “And so that’s what made my business model so perfect — we do all the heavy lifting and the dirty work for you. The concierge pumpkin business model was kind of an untapped market.”

Related: 6 Critical Steps to Succeeding in an Untapped Industry | Entrepreneur

Torres strategically filled that gap with a range of decoration packages suitable for any home’s layout — and anyone’s degree of pumpkin obsession — that allows customers to sit back “until fall arrives at their door.”

“Are you a pumpkin crazy lover…or do you just want some fall decor?”

The concierge service takes the guesswork out of each step of the process, starting with package selection: “I say, ‘Are you a pumpkin-crazy-lover, a pumpkin-lover, or do you just want some fall decor?'” Based on the customer’s response and photos of their home, Torres gives them a couple of suggestions, stressing “there’s not any one perfect package” — it all depends on the desired look and coverage.

Porch Pumpkins provides a seamless experience after the season’s over too. The company will pick up the displays the week before or after Thanksgiving for an additional fee and donate them to local farms, where they’ll be fed to animals.

The $300 package, which includes four large jack o’lanterns, four medium jack o’lanterns, four white ghost pumpkins, an assortment of pie pumpkins and four specialty pumpkins (with design and layout optional for an additional $75 fee), is the company’s most popular, Torres says.

But “pumpkin-crazy-lovers” with bigger budgets can rack up a much higher bill. To date, Porch Pumpkins’ priciest display, installed on a family ranch in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, came in at $8,500.

“It is remarkable,” Torres says. “We do the exterior of the gate, [on] the drive up, there’s a nice-sized display, and then we flank the front doors. And there’s an outside fireplace that we do. It’s really beautiful, and the family just loves having the pumpkins there to kick off their holiday season.”

“I am all about collaboration and helping other people grow in their business desires.”

Now, Torres fields weekly emails from people who are interested in setting up their own pumpkin display businesses, and she’s designing a course to help them do just that.

“I am all about collaboration and helping other people grow in their business desires,” Torres says. “But I’m also a perfectionist, so I want the perfect course to offer people. So [that’s] been about a year-and-a-half in the works.”

Torres also wants to continue to grow Porch Pumpkins — and has her sights set on Austin next.

And although Torres “would never say never” when it comes to expanding her decorating business to include other holidays, she thoroughly enjoys having a seasonal business right now.

“I am a very busy wife and mom,” Torres says. “We have three children, and I love being at all of their events and volunteering at the school. I lead several organizations, so I love this seasonality of pumpkins that I start August 1 and wrap up December 1. December through July, I am free to work on all of those other endeavors that are so important to me and that I love.”

Related: The Definitive Guide To Achieving Work-Life Balance | Entrepreneur

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If you’d been a fly on the wall at our company a few weeks ago, you’d have witnessed a unique scene: From Monday to Friday, almost everyone on our team (remote and in-person) was involved in actively pitching, building and presenting innovative new ideas. We call it “Blue Sky Week”, and it’s our answer to fully immersing ourselves in innovative thinking and bringing new ideas to life quickly.

For those new to this approach, it’s similar to a hackathon but designed to give much more space and time away from our everyday tasks and comfort zones. This helps get the creative juices flowing along with creating opportunities for collaborations that aren’t usually possible. It’s been an impactful way to tap into the genius of our teammates and unlock new innovative ideas — and beyond that, it’s helped engage and invigorate our team.

But when people first hear about “Blue Sky Week,” many wonder how we can afford to dedicate so much time to something without clear controls or direction. My response: How can you afford not to? At a time when rapidly evolving tech like artificial intelligence has forced companies to ramp up their offerings, it’s simply too risky to let innovation take a back seat. That’s why “Blue Sky Week” has become a core mechanism for innovative output.

Here’s how to benefit from getting the whole company involved and committed to innovating regularly.

Related: How to Tap Into Innovation, the Most Essential Part of Your Entrepreneurial Journey

Start by committing the time

Dedicating pockets of time to innovation isn’t a unique concept. Tech companies have experimented with a variety of ways to encourage creativity and innovation at work — like Google’s infamous 20% time, which gives employees one day per week to work on projects of their choosing.

Structured innovation time has proven remarkably effective for us, too, in surfacing and developing ideas and evolutions in a way that daily work time simply can’t. And it’s no wonder: The average employee spends one-third of their time in meetings, let alone working through sprint cycles to hit deadlines — and while this can be effective, it can also limit the creative thinking necessary for innovation.

But contrary to what many companies do, we found that 20% time wasn’t effective for us. Frankly, I don’t believe innovation is achievable when you’re doing it off the side of your desk. And when we tried it, the time spent on innovative projects was often overrun with regular work. So we decided to dedicate an entire week every quarter, and sometimes more often when opportunities warrant it.

Of course, not every single staff member can participate for the full week. And that’s okay — our customers come first and we must ensure they still have access to the support they need. But outside of that caveat, we do our best to empower everyone to put aside as much as they can so we can just focus on innovating. This prioritization allows team members to really tap into a creative flow that produces marketable results.

Make it inclusive

I’d bet that virtually every tech leader has attended or sponsored a hackathon, and this model works well for a lot of organizations. These ubiquitous events are popular because they’re a low-risk way to tap into the spirit of innovation and creativity within a short timeframe.

But hackathons tend to attract a certain type of participant, and we wanted to find a way to get our entire company involved with innovation events — not only our R&D team or developers. Diverse teams tend to be smarter and more creative, which can lead to stronger results. That’s why we want people from every department to have a seat at the innovation table including marketing, customer success and our people team.

Anyone with an idea can pitch it, and the pitches with the most votes move forward with self-appointed teams. This helps with breaking down silos and empowering individuals who might not normally get to collaborate to break out of their usual teams and approach ideas and projects with a fresh perspective. In fact, the only criterion we impose is that every team must present their work at the end of the week.

Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Fuel Innovation and Push Societal Limits

Trust your team with autonomy

Studies have shown that innovative companies perform better, with higher profits and stock returns. But I’ll admit that when we first launched Blue Sky Week, I was worried the no-rules event would result in projects unrelated to our core business objectives. We have had a few internally focused outcomes — like the development of a warning light and Slackbot for an office washroom with a door that didn’t lock properly.

But we quickly realized giving people the autonomy to determine their projects and how they unfolded led to better overall results — features and product iterations that customers had been asking for, like search within our communities, and pagination for course listings. Not to mention new offerings that we needed, such as a mobile app and generative AI functions. And this adds up: Research clearly shows that people who feel empowered to act with autonomy have stronger job performance, higher job satisfaction and greater commitment to the organization, and this leads to a willingness to work toward better customer outcomes.

Of course, we do set the stage with data on customer usage, problems and pain points, so that teams have context around our most pressing needs. But ultimately our people run the show.

Reap the organizational benefits

Bringing the whole company together to cross-collaborate on new projects has had undeniable cultural benefits. It’s reduced silos across the organization, and has been a great way to foster relationships and bonds while breaking up the routines and ruts we can all get into.

But it’s also reinforced the value of fostering an innovative mindset. The reality is, the pace of today’s tech advancements means innovation is critical all the time — not just once per quarter. With AI rapidly changing the game for tech companies, it’s essential to have opportunities and processes in place that keep products and services evolving to meet customer needs.

Of course, we don’t expect the results of a single week’s work to be perfect. But seeing how much we can accomplish in a single week can often be amazing to all involved. It resets our expectations of what’s possible and stirs up the creative juices for regular work.

We’ve all heard the expression about not being the smartest person in a room or on a team. But better than acknowledging that fact is actually creating systems that unlock the genius of your team — and “Blue Sky Weeks” are a great way to do just that.

Related: How Collaboration Can Help Drive Growth and Propel Your Business to New Heights

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For decades, identifying the next big consumer trends and products was an imprecise art dominated by guesswork. Companies would spend millions on market research, only to be caught off guard by sudden shifts in public taste. It was like throwing darts blindfolded. But artificial intelligence has transformed trend forecasting from a fuzzy guessing game into a data-driven science. Artificial intelligence algorithms can now predict hot consumer products by analyzing massive datasets — articles, reviews, social media and search trends, for example — that humans can’t process.

This monumental shift is on par with the discovery of electricity. Companies now have predictive insights once reserved for giants like P&G or Apple. For entrepreneurs, it’s like being handed the answer key before the test. Consumer trends that used to appear out of the blue can now be detected months in advance, allowing startups to launch the right products at the right time. AI turns elusive market intelligence into an actionable advantage open to businesses of any size.

Related: AI Is Poised to Change How We Shop: Here’s What You Need to Know

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As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to advance at an unprecedented rate, companies large and small are left grappling with its implications—especially for business finance. CFOs and other financial leaders need to understand what AI is capable of now and have a sense of how that will evolve in the years and decades to come.

If you’re ready to unlock the power of AI for finance, then you won’t want to miss this free webinar, AI-Driven Decision Making: The New Frontier in Business Finance, presented by Oracle NetSuite and Entrepreneur.

Register Now

This webinar will explore how AI is revolutionizing financial processes, strategies, and decision-making, providing a competitive edge to those who leverage it. From automating mundane tasks to predictive analytics and risk assessment, AI is setting new standards in efficiency and accuracy.

The conversation will be led by moderator Terry Rice. He will be joined by speaker, author, and business owner, Gene Marks, who is well versed in all things at the confluence of business finance and AI.

Attendees of this webinar will:

  • Grasp the fundamental ways in which AI is changing traditional financial operations and roles.
  • Understand the role of AI in enhancing predictive analytics, ensuring data-driven decision-making.
  • Discover how AI can streamline financial processes, reducing errors, and saving time through automation.
  • Explore real-world case studies where businesses have successfully integrated AI into their financial workflows, reaping tangible benefits.

Join us to understand, adapt, and harness the power of AI in the financial sphere of your business. The AI-Driven Decision Making: The New Frontier in Business Finance webinar will take place live on Friday, September 29 at 12 p.m. ET, 9 a.m. PT.

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