Many companies have had to adapt in the face of the pandemic and supply-chain challenges, and Kellogg is one of the latest to switch up its business strategy.

The company announced Tuesday that it will separate into three independent companies, transforming its cereal and plant-based businesses into distinct entities and keeping the focus of its remaining business on snacking, cereal and noodles across the globe, and frozen breakfast in North America.

Per CNBC, Kellogg shares soared 6.5% in premarket trading on the announcement.

“These businesses all have significant standalone potential, and an enhanced focus will enable them to better direct their resources toward their distinct strategic priorities,” Steve Cahillane, Kellogg Company’s chairman and CEO, said in the statement. “In turn, each business is expected to create more value for all stakeholders, and each is well-positioned to build a new era of innovation and growth.”

Related: The Founders of RXBar, Acquired by Kellogg for $600 Million, Built the Company by ‘Having a Bias Toward Action’

The businesses have yet to be named, and management teams for the new businesses have yet to be announced.

Kellogg is also considering the eventual sale of its plant-based business. Together, the company’s plant-based and cereal businesses account for just 20% of Kellogg’s total revenue. Kellogg’s global snacking business and North American frozen breakfast brands, which include brands such as Pringles and Eggo, make up the rest, bringing in $11.4 billion last year.

Cahillane will stay on as CEO of the global snacking company, and headquarters for the three businesses will remain the same. The North American cereal company, which includes brands such as Froot Loops and Special K, and the plant-based food company are located in Battle Creek, Michigan, and the global snacking company is in Chicago, with an additional campus in Battle Creek.

Related: Over 1,000 Kellogg’s US Cereal Plant Workers Go on Strike Over Cut to Benefits and Pay

Kellogg Company is up 7.5% year over year this morning, and Cahillane told CNBC that the company has yet to determine how it will allocate its dividends among the three businesses.

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People who are intimidated by change often steer their actions based on fear. This is also what happens when outdated institutional standards manipulate people into thinking a certain way — to the point where they lose sense of self, and their identity in the process. Those who have accepted and adapted to those standards are often afraid of the unknown and/or of losing what they have. As a result, they may wait for something to happen instead of taking proactive steps to make something happen. This can leave them feeling helpless and anxious, and can also prevent them from taking advantage of opportunities or otherwise achieving their full potential.

Sound familiar? This is actually how most people feel today at work — suppressed, helpless and afraid of the future.

On the other hand, those who have been lifelong learners have likely not accepted the standards of the past, but instead have created their own. These types of people work both hard and smart to explore what’s required in order to find success — on their own terms and with a firm knowledge of the significance of what they’re doing. They realize that the is a barrier to their own growth and that of their organization, and have further grasped that the workplace landscape is changing fast — that it’s essential to be adaptable and to learn new things quickly. But simply having the desire to learn isn’t enough: They also trust their own self competence, and this helps them set clear goals, take action, follow through and remain accountable.

Based on my organizational research, which has been further validated by an industrial organizational psychologist, here are actionable behaviors that can foster such boldness — a willingness to disrupt the status quo in search of new possibilities.

1. Aim to Advance Rather than Criticize

It’s easy to be a critic. When things go wrong, it’s natural to want to point fingers and find someone to blame. But what does that accomplish? In many cases, all it produces is tension and division — a cycle of negativity, with no real way out.

So, instead of criticizing, find solutions that will improve a challenging situation, which requires patience and perseverance. This doesn’t mean ignoring problems; we still need to acknowledge them, but if the focus is on finding ways to make things better, moving forward becomes far easier.

Related: Entrepreneur Press’s 2017-published book, The Innovation Mentality: Six Strategies to Disrupt the Status Quo and Reinvent the Way We Work

2. Keep a Proactive Mindset

A dynamic and forward-thinking outlook is essential for anyone who wants to make a positive impact on themselves and their workplace environment. People with that mindset take initiative and responsibility for their actions, and understand that their choices have real effect. They restlessly look for ways to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them, and are not afraid to take risks or try new things. Individuals with a proactive mindset know that change starts with them, and so are willing to do whatever it takes to influence a work environment to foster a healthier whole.

3. Maintain Confidence in Abilities

This quality is evident in the way people approach both challenges and opportunities. They believe in themselves and their skills, and this allows them to push to new levels. Such confidence is also evident in their interactions with others; they share ideas and opinions without feeling defensive or self-conscious. As a result, they can build strong relationships and achieve in both their personal and professional lives.

Related: 10 Ways to Build Your Entrepreneurial Confidence

4. Nurture Self-Awareness, Including Your Flaws

On the surface, the individuals described so far might seem like they have it all together, but what sets them further apart is that they are purposefully self-aware. This is not to suggest that they are perfect, likely far from it. In fact, it’s their willingness to embrace imperfections that makes them unique. And in doing so, they inspire others to do the same. As a result, they are able to create a more positive and accepting work environment.

5. Be Fearless in Speaking Up and Otherwise Providing Feedback

Constructive and effective communication skills are, of course, indispensable in the workplace. They show that you are engaged with your work and with others, and that you are willing to stand up for what you believe in. However, giving feedback can also be difficult, as it requires one to be honest and direct. Some may shy away from doing so because they fear conflict or don’t want to upset others. However, if you can learn to give feedback effectively, it can be a valuable tool for promoting positive change. When engaged in that process, aim to be clear, concise and respectful, and avoid making personal attacks or speaking in absolutes. Instead, focus on the specific issue at hand and what you would like to see changed.

6. Stay Hungry for Knowledge

Those who are proactive in increasing their knowledge and intellectual growth are more likely to find significance in their careers. They are also more willing to unlearn bad habits, embrace new and better ones, and so expand their skillsets, which makes them more valuable and relevant. Furthermore, they tend to be more innovative, as they are constantly challenging themselves to come up with better solutions. As a result, those who invest in their intellectual growth are more prepared to be bold and disrupt the status quo.

Related: How to Advance Your Career Through Upskilling and Reskilling in Your Current Role

7. Embrace Actions that Create Confidence, Power and Velocity

When it comes to confidence and overall effectiveness, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are a few key actions that can help to nurture these qualities. First, it’s important to identify goals and set a clear plan for achieving them. This will help foster a sense of direction and purpose. Second, take positive steps towards those goals on a regular basis. Even small moves can make a big difference, and in taking action you build momentum. Finally, stay focused and maintain dedication to goals. If you can do these things, you will be well on your way regarding boldness as a trusted friend.

Business Strategies, Entrepreneurial Advice & Inspiring Stories are all in one place. Explore the new Entrepreneur Bookstore.

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The last decade has seen a shift in project management approaches. One big disruption is that agile project management (APM) methodologies have become prominent — now used by 25% of , according to the Project Management Institute’s 2021 “Pulse of the Profession” survey. The allure of this more dynamic approach is that it (in theory) allows projects to achieve real-time iteration and innovation without being bogged down by complex issues.

The problem with this practice is often that big picture and overarching goals of a project aren’t always well-defined from the onset. Imagine attempting to solve a problem when you don’t yet know what it is. This wouldn’t work very well. What’s first required is defining the problem, then firmly establishing the requirements for solving it, and the project specs will flow from there.

Another sizable upheaval is that hierarchies and structures are seemingly changing by the minute, thanks in part to the rising popularity of hybrid or all-remote setups. In turn, efficient project management might adopt Software as a Solution (SaaS) attributes that incorporate more outsourced and service approaches for project operations.

No matter what approach companies take, project management is invaluable to their outlook. The more aligned it is with a company’s big-picture aspirations, the better it operates.

Related: My Company Nearly Died! The Reason? My Lack of Project-Management Skills

What Disrupts Effective Project Management?

To ensure the successful implementation of the best project management strategies, companies must avoid three primary barriers:

Denial. The very definition of good management in this context is re-syncing a plan to match reality. If you flip this on its head and simply wish reality would fit the plan, you continue down a path of failure.

Lack of investment in a project management office (PMO). Whether it’s outsourced or in house, investing in the right project management structure will have a high return on investment. Even those companies that don’t have a dedicated Center of Excellence or PMO can still engage with outside specialists to deliver and manage projects on their behalf, and leadership will need to commit to realizing that return.

Chasing efficiency at the expense of success. Organizations that put efficiency on a pedestal often sacrifice the quality and integrity of a project. One recurring culprit for insufficient delivery is a technique called “crashing the schedule,” which expedites completion in a cost-effective way but at the expense of the product. Blowing past budgets and timelines isn’t ideal, but it may be necessary to deliver a workable solution. A project that goes 50% over budget but gets 100% of the needed return will be much more effective than one delivered on budget but which gets none of the return.

Related: Spark Efficient Project Management With These 3 Steps

Overcoming Obstacles

Now that we’ve established the main impediments to effective project management, the question is how to overcome them.

1. Embrace the Culture

Project management doesn’t operate in a silo; it cuts horizontally across all departments. So, there must be top-to-bottom, broad-based support — with a approach from leadership to all teams for project management to improve operations.

Empathetic leaders go a long way in making this kind of lasting change. At the beginning of the pandemic, for example, India-based infrastructure company GMR Group used that hugely disruptive time to transition to digital project management solutions. According to GMR Vice President of Operations, Nirbhik Sengupta, the goal was to cut waste, streamline employee processes, boost efficiency and make GMR less reliant on spreadsheets. All those benefits were discussed and cleared with employees through effective outreach.

So, it’s vital to incorporate the link between business and project management into the fabric of the culture. Maintaining effective and open communication when working toward that kind of effective management is essential.

2. Have a Road Map to Your Future State

Organizational change management fares much better when a company has a solid understanding of its current capabilities and direction. To that end, organizations need to generate an Analysis/Vision/Road Map to assess the current state of the business and plan future goals based on what changes achieving those goals will require.

3. Emphasize Leadership

Leadership in project management is the single most important aspect of creating change. A recent McKinsey study found that leadership can increase project performance by no less than 52.3%.

Effective project managers need to be trusted leaders who are allowed to be disruptive to the current system when necessary to drive top performance and worthwhile results. Leadership also needs to show an investment in giving project managers the resources and support they need to steer the ship.

Related: 10 Project Management Hacks That Will Help New Project Managers Find Success

4. Create Lasting Engagement

When teams are accountable for a project all the way from development to solution, they’re more engaged. Again, per McKinsey, the changes that implementation of project management creates are 25% more valuable when they’re embedded into day-to-day operations. So, look for ways to remain locked into a project for the duration. Speak to key stakeholders and experts to determine other requirements and where gaps might materialize. That way, business and project management objectives can stay on the same page.

When project management is done well, it can transform a business, but determining its ideal approach is a highly individualized task. Applying these four steps will allow the implementation of a successful strategy that fits your unique needs.

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Adapt or be left behind. The often-repeated phrase has long served as a warning to business leaders. It’s a reminder to never rest on your laurels and always evolve with the times. It doesn’t matter what industry your business serves, conditions are constantly changing and opportunities continually present themselves. Being left behind is not an option.

I founded my company over a decade ago. I set out with my colleagues to disrupt the real estate industry by fostering a culture of collaboration that had not yet existed in our business. What if real estate professionals came together, instead of working against one another, to better serve our clients and provide more comprehensive representation? What if we could create a place where agents could enjoy coming to work each day, learning from each other and benefiting from the knowledge and expertise of the whole?

We were successful in disrupting our industry over ten years ago. And we have remained at the forefront of innovation by continuing to advance our mission, adapting quickly to changing market conditions. We are constantly adding to our value proposition for customers and stakeholders alike. So how do we do it? Here, I outline four ways to adapt your business to keep up with the latest advancements in your industry.

1. Define a clear growth strategy

Where is it you’re going and why? It’s vital to constantly define, set and evolve the intention of your business. Ask yourself and your colleagues regularly: What problems are you trying to solve and how are you uniquely positioned to solve them? Growing for the sake of growing is not a thoughtful strategy. Answer the needs of your customers and your industry as a whole. You can then grow sustainably, increasing the return on investment in both the short and long run.

Case in point, the real estate industry has entered the age of consolidation. Brokerages are buying up smaller competitors to increase market share and agent count. To set our company apart, we have set our intention for strategic growth by identifying our market differentiators. We choose quality over quantity in everything we do. We carefully select our partners. We strategically enter new markets with agents and teams who share our vision. And that vision is providing a highly personalized service experience for both our agents and our clients.That’s how we’re able to maintain our boutique environment while growing on a global scale. Find your differentiators, stick to them and growth will come easy.

2. Continually evolve and innovate

This seems obvious, but here is where the specifics matter. What are you adding to your company’s value proposition? How are you constantly striving to add value for your stakeholders and customers? You can’t wait for the next great tech system or business tool to appear. You have to seek it (or create it) for yourself. Again, it comes back to the question: What problem are you solving?

In the real estate industry, it’s been very clear that buyers and sellers are seeking a simpler, more convenient buying and selling experience. While we’ve always been a tech-forward company, we recently acquired a tech-powered, independent brokerage in New York City. Their proprietary systems, partnered with the ones we’ve created, will help our agents offer just that. By providing our agents with a fully-integrated CRM system, data-driven insight and predictive analytics, we can further position them as experts in their fields. Thus saving them time to focus their efforts on advising their clients through the nuances of the market.

Related: 4 Principles to Develop Next-Level Leadership

3. Always be a step ahead

Being proactive — not reactive — provides a clear path to success. While we can’t predict the future, we can be prepared for the ups and downs our industries are sure to face. Preparing for those bumps in the road ensures you can remain flexible and quickly adapt to whatever comes your way.

For example, the rise and success of real estate apps and systems made it clear to us. Consumers were moving the home shopping experience, just like every other shopping experience, to their mobile devices. We embraced social media and digital systems early on. When home tours and open houses shut down during the pandemic, we were able to quickly pivot our business online in the blink of an eye. Our social media prominence served our agents well as their clients sought real-time engagement, service and guidance. They were buying sight unseen and selling to enjoy their newfound work-from-anywhere lifestyle.

Related: 8 Great Entrepreneurial Success Stories

4. Stay true to your founding mission

Never forget where you started. You set out to disrupt, solve a problem and innovate a new way of doing business in your industry. Are you staying true to your mission, the idea that inspired your entrepreneurial leap of faith? What motivated and guided you from the start should still be relevant.

At our company, culture was everything to us from day one. The culture of partnership and collaboration helped us build one connected community. This has helped our agents reach new heights in their business, even as we’ve grown from one boutique office to more than 50 in five countries. With every decision we make, we stop to ask: Will this align with our culture? Our recent acquisition is proof of this. The New York team has the same commitment to service, collaboration and community, putting people before all else. Finding the perfect match to help us grow sustainably and strategically while staying true to our core founding principles was well worth the wait. Begin as you mean to go, stay true to what sets you apart and always adapt to the needs of the marketplace. A winning strategy to not only keep up with advancements in your industry but to be leading the charge.

Related: 5 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

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Ideation is foundational to and so to success. But do you get it right? Well, likely not all the time. Key to its application and evolution is the need to form an idea, but then to test, re-ideate, refine, and iterate until you have something ready to launch.

Pathway to Innovation

Ideation is the indispensable first step in the process of innovation, which is itself about making positive changes for the future — improving things and creating something new. But innovation doesn’t just happen: It requires that you have a vision of what you want, then work towards making that a reality. In the ideation phase, you brainstorm ideas for how to solve a problem or create something new, and it is often the most fun part of the development process.

When you’re in ideation mode, you’re not just looking at what’s possible, but at what might be possible, which then allows opening your mind to all sorts of new ideas and innovations that would never have occurred to you if you’d simply focused on the practical applications of existing , for example.

A case in point: Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone was actually incidental to something else entirely: an improved for his wife. His original idea was to use electricity to transmit sound directly into a person’s ear (as opposed to the audio speaker systems we still use today). But when Bell decided to add an amplifier so that multiple people could hear the sound at once, something magical happened: he created a device that allowed people anywhere in the world to converse instantly, and changed the world forever.

Related: Tackling Ideation in the Startup Realm is Easily Done (When Done Right)

How Most Companies Get Ideation Wrong

As a professional, I have worked with many companies and seen their ideating ways. Some of them are good, but most are not, and the way most companies get that concept wrong is that they have no structure to their process, which means they cannot get the best ideas from employees or customers. And without those, they cannot take on the problems that need solving.

In my analysis, ideas are like babies: They need to be nurtured and cared for if they’re going to grow into something with the potential to change the world. If you don’t take care of an idea, it will perish. What’s necessary is the development of a structured process that helps turn ideas into reality, because the truth is that ideation can be a long, slow process — one that can waste time, or worse, make you feel like a failure.

Some common pitfalls:

• Not giving a problem enough thought

• Not having a plan for getting started

• Not knowing when to stop collecting ideas

• Not knowing how to ensure that ideas are good

• Insistence upon thinking that an idea is great, even though it isn’t

Related: Providing an Ecosystem for Ideation

A Central Question

The best way to get ideation right is to ensure that you’re approaching it from the right place, and the first step in doing that is to ask, “Are we doing this because it’s what customers want, or because it’s what competitors are doing?” If you don’t firmly embrace the former, it’s likely time for a new approach.

Of course, a good idea is nothing without the right execution, so planning out what your ideation activity will entail is crucial to ensuring that an outcome is effective and predictable.

Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself: No one is perfect. The key is to learn from mistakes and come out of the process better off than you were. If you’re committed to driving innovation in your organization, ideation can be a powerful tool, but keep in mind that it’s an ongoing process that must be managed effectively. To truly harness its power, an organization needs to have a culture that values new ideas — one in which idea generation is not seen as a “soft” activity. Once this happens, the above approaches can be used to great effect.

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Like many other industries, the sector is constantly evolving. Candidates can investigate restaurant-related concepts that serve everything from flavored ice and vegan-only menu items to specialty coffee shops and Korean BBQ. But progress in the restaurant category is also notable in the way the industry is expanding far beyond dining options. Several new diverse concepts now offer ownership opportunities for catering, healthy eating programs, meal planning consultancies and even chef training schools for the foodservice and . Many of these concepts are putting a greater focus on technological advancements, transforming how operate, serve customers and process payments.

If you truly want to be a self-styled restaurateur, your options among franchised business models are as diverse as global cuisine itself. Restaurant and hospitality concepts are available at every price point, which means there’s an affordable way to get a seat at the table for any entrepreneur minded individual. As you’ll note from the progress of several of the brands listed on the recently released Entrepreneur 2022 Top Franchises Ranking, the restaurant industry is a picture of progress and innovation.

Related: A Taste Of The Future: How Tech Is Revolutionizing The

Variety is the spice of life

One measure of the industry’s progress can be seen in the increasing amount of dining options and diverse business models available to franchisees. Which is also helping to dispel one of the most common myths associated with franchising – that it’s mostly made up of fast-food outlets. In reality, these quick-service restaurants (QSRs) actually account for less than a quarter of all franchised establishments. There are also FSRs – full-service restaurants, fast-casual, fine dining, ghost kitchens, mobile food trucks, and other franchise models that specialize in catering, employee training, and food delivery. In today’s restaurant and hospitality industry, some franchise owners may never see the inside of a kitchen at all.

Digital interaction makes this brand a smooth operator

Smoothie King earned a 13th place ranking in Entrepreneur’s 2022 Franchise 500 list, not surprising when you consider the brand’s mindset and approach in providing the right technological tools for their franchisees. With over 1,000 locations in the U.S., Smoothie King places a focus on connecting with consumers through the digital touchpoints of their mobile app. The brand believes that the purchasing process begins long before customers set foot in a store and have dedicated time and effort to build consumer loyalty through mobile interactions.

Related: Examples of Food Business Ideas

Automation nation

If automation continues to drive innovation in the restaurant and hospitality industry, we’ll no longer be able to place the blame for incorrect orders on drive-thru personnel. That’s because big name trendsetting franchisors such as McDonald’s, Dunkin’ and KFC are all investing in self-ordering kiosks. Consumers can now enter these establishments and make their own customized selections directly on a touchscreen. As automated processes such as self-ordering kiosks continue to catch on with even more franchise brands, will no longer be the only place where you can have it your way.

Generating value

There are countless other examples of restaurant franchisors utilizing technology to raise brand awareness, target consumers, and lower operating costs. These, and other innovations are generating value for franchisees, and strengthening franchise systems for the brands who invest in technology. The future may rely upon comprehensive digital platforms that can streamline efficiencies and profitability down to the franchise unit level. All while greatly improving customer loyalty and experiences. As franchisors reinvest these savings back into their operation and expansion efforts, the restaurant industry will really steadily become an even more tasty opportunity for entrepreneurs everywhere.

When it comes to the best franchise concepts by category, Entrepreneur has you covered. We have business opportunities to share from over a dozen industries. Everything from automotive, home services, and childcare to food, health and beauty, and everything in between. To see what’s in our franchisor database, be sure to check out Entrepreneur’s Best of the Best Rankings.

Related: Entrepreneur’s 2022 Top Food Franchises Ranking

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To spend time with is akin to gulping a nitro coffee right from the tap.

Born in , the billionaire learned early on that life’s game is not always right-justified. His late father’s attempts at honorable work sent Jain and his family trekking through cities of sizeable populations, where moral judgments of character, unfortunately, went against his professional growth. His father’s refusal to play larger city politics eventually led the family to settle on small village life. While it resulted in a decrease in their standard of living that might have sent shivers down most other families’ spines – it galvanized the Jains.

Jain’s father was a builder, and one might contend that Naveen is as well. His toolbelt is fastened by boundless energy, wit, and wisdom for a future outside of this world, quite literally.

The endlessly curious billionaire

The man who can actually mine the moon has set his course forward to crack the human health code with Viome Life Sciences. Jain says that Viome’s singular mission is to “make illness optional.” The company’s AI-driven platform analyzes the interaction between food, one’s microbiome, and human cells to develop precision nutrition that aims to prevent and reverse chronic diseases.

Related: The Secrets That Helped LeBron James Become a Billionaire (And Have Nothing to Do With Playing Basketball)

Jain’s belief in Viome mirrors his belief that entrepreneurs should embody the passion of their company. “Entrepreneurs should jump out of bed in the morning, and if they don’t they are pursuing the wrong goal,” he says. “Entrepreneurs need to be obsessed with solving problems. Passion is for hobbies; passion is for losers. The winners and the entrepreneurs who know what they are going after possess a true obsession. When they go to sleep, they want to solve problems.”

Sleep may be the only thing Jain is in short supply of these days. Jain balances his curiosity for life as the Executive Chairman of Singularity University and as a Trustee on the Board of XPRIZE.

How to define success

Despite his notable success, Jain’s obsession hasn’t turned to dollars and cents. Even noting his status as a billionaire had Jain squirming in his chair. Jain notes that finding happiness should not lie in the hands of others or the experiences others extend to us as entrepreneurs.

“Success is not about the destination. Success is about the journey, acknowledging the shoulders of the giants before you, and setting your sights on moving the ball down the field. Regardless of the degree of success obtained, the next generation should be able to stand on your shoulders to continue the progress.”

Related: 5 Lessons From Billionaire Jeff Bezos That All Entrepreneurs Can Learn From

As Jain notes, success or failure teeters more on an idea’s importance than on any one person. Jain’s executable strength as an entrepreneur might be best demonstrated in his ability to listen, adapt and pivot. By not seeing perceived failures as indictments on himself, he uses data to inform a clearer path forward.

His view of success centers on an entrepreneur’s ability to impact others, not themselves.

“Success is not measured by goals. It’s measured by the number of people whose lives you have improved along the way.”

Jain’s childhood ingrained in him a sense of calm in the face of change. Constant upheaval from one village to the next taught Jain to embrace change instead of fearing the unknown.

Related: How Do Your Eating Habits Compare to Warren Buffett, Elon Musk and Bill Gates? These Are the Billionaires’ Favorite Foods to Snack On

“Change became the mantra of my life; you can throw me in any situation. It doesn’t faze me, and entrepreneurs need to have that same mindset to manage through challenging times,” he says.

His advice to all entrepreneurs is simple: “Remember, you measure your success, not by the amount of money you have in the bank. You simply count the life that you have improved. The day you become humble is the day you have become successful.”

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As long as there have been movies, cutting-edge technology has made the experience of watching them better. The history of film is replete with innovators trotting out their latest tricks, to the delight of cinema fans everywhere. If tech is to work, it can’t just be seen as a technical innovation alone. It must also be utilized intelligently and creatively to enrich the storytelling experience.

Adapt Entertainment

Innovations that transformed an industry

When a group of inventors in the 1920s figured out how to capture and sync recorded sound with images, their discovery changed Hollywood forever. Talkies trounced silent movies and, as a result, giddy studio bosses trotted out so many musicals that audiences grew weary of them

The era of musicals may have peaked, but sound was here to stay. Since we’ve seen the advent of Dolby and THX, innovations emerged to enrich the experience of watching a good film and opened the possibilities for reaching new viewers.

Technology needs a soul

Cinephiles are savvy. Tech for the sake of tech isn’t going to wow them. Think Jaws 3-D. Once novel and promising, 3-D devolved into something of a joke until James Cameron finally did it right in 2009 with Avatar, which set a global box office record with $2.8 billion in ticket sales.

Related: 5 Advances in Tech That Will Take Entertainment by Storm in the Next 5 Years

Yet follow-up efforts to duplicate Avatar’s success fell flat. Studios cut corners, and viewers who shelled out a premium for their 3-D tickets felt cheated. With the release of Avatar 2 coming in December, fans are hoping Cameron has another inventive ace up his sleeve.

Motion capture, long the domain of video games, broke new ground in 2004’s Polar Express, when director Robert Zemeckis converted human performances to animation, but many viewers found the look disturbing — characters hovering between human and robot with zombie-like eyes. Creepy computer-generated imagery helped usher the term “uncanny valley effect” into our common vernacular. In typical Hollywood fashion, a string of bad CGI features followed, including 2011’s flop Mars Needs Moms, and audiences rebelled.

But who can forget Andy Serkis’s motion-capture Gollum in the Lord of the Rings series? It was an extraordinary performance that showcased the potential for CGI. Director Peter Jackson’s fantasy series from Middle-earth grossed $3 billion in the box office universe, the highest of all time. Serkis then starred as Caesar, a CGI ape, in Rise of Planet of the Apes, winning kudos from fans and critics — and rebooting a profitable franchise.

Bringing history to life

Colorization, another tech advancement with huge potential, often left old films looking cheap. Purists were scandalized, and Congress was pushed to adopt the National Film Preservation Act. Then Jackson optimized the technique to huge acclaim to make his 2018 documentary They Shall Not Grow Old. Jackson’s team rescued battered World War I footage and made improvements to color and speed, resulting in a film that packed an emotional punch and connected with audiences.

Although big-budget, VFX-heavy films have dominated the box office — and helped lure folks back to the theater — directors like Jackson have proven that A.I. is equally effective when telling smaller-scale, intimate stories.

The next transformation in film

When technology is designed and utilized as a part of the artist’s vision, it can enhance the experience and further the cinema landscape. But when it is solely used to fill seats and drive revenue, that’s when it tends to fail.

Related: Kids in the Hall’s Bruce McCulloch Says TikTok Is the New Punk Rock

It was with this mindset that I worked with my team to develop a new technology-driven process designed to give artists a wider audience while not diluting the quality of the experience.

International cinema is the next frontier. Never have movies and TV series produced abroad been in so much demand. Parasite made history in 2020 as the first foreign film to win the Oscar for best picture. Another import from South Korea, Squid Game, is Netflix’s most-watched series ever.

Although I’m a film school graduate and a longtime fan of international cinema, even I find subtitles tough to take. In 2009, while watching the Japanese film, Departures, I was struck by how the subtitles seemed at once insufficient and yet so wordy they rivaled the iconic opening scroll of Star Wars.

During the pandemic, the need for content only grew and international content that might have once been ignored by a U.S. audience became “must-see.” Greater international choices led to poor dubbing or distracting subtitles, distancing the viewer from the filmmaker’s vision.

From earlier work after receiving a patent in 2014, I wanted to solve this issue and formed a new company, Adapt Entertainment, and assembled a team of partners who shared my vision. Together with Pinscreen, we’ve created a novel A.I. process to adapt movies into a new language that looks, sounds and feels real. This breakthrough opens new vistas for filmmakers and fans clamoring for foreign content.

We created the first feature film to use this revolutionary process, The Champion, debuted in April of this year. Shot in Polish and German, we were able to use our technology to sync it into seamless English.

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When approached with the idea, director Maciej Barczewski was skeptical. He had every right to be. The Champion, which tells the story of a real-life boxing champ sent to Auschwitz, was Barczewski’s baby. And much-maligned deepfakes have gone viral with their scary verisimilitude. Barczewski, a committed professional, didn’t want to see his hard work cheapened. “Don’t make my guys look like monkeys,” he told us.

Related: How Disney’s New Guardians of the Galaxy Roller Coaster Uses Story To Make You Feel Like You’re Floating In Space

As a bonus, although our technology doesn’t require the original actors to make a successful conversion into another language, the cast of The Champion participated in the effort by reshooting their lines in a studio, in English, with a series of cameras capturing their facial movements at multiple angles, producing a level of authenticity never before seen. The Champion team was cheered to be part of the effort, and Barczewski’s concerns were eased. “It is the original version of the film but enhanced,” he said. “I love the fact that the audience won’t be distracted by subtitles.”

For filmmakers like Barczewski who lack a big budget, this landmark A.I. provides a realistic method to reach a wider world. It is also great news for viewers, who will have the possibility of accessing films they previously would have skipped. “This technology could change the whole paradigm of international filmmaking,” Barczewski said.

I couldn’t agree more.

Darryl C. Marks is the founder and C.E.O. of Adapt Entertainment

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We first heard about the potential of blockchain in several years ago, and almost immediately were thrust into a cycle of hype and hope of what they could do for us, followed by a “trough of disillusion” when nothing moved as fast as we had wanted. But that doesn’t mean startups, enterprise and consortia alike haven’t been quietly working to advance the technology, and pushing to apply it in ways that we may not have expected.

Modernizing Old Critical Tech

One nonprofit consortium, the Baseline Protocol, has been working on what they call “baselining” enterprise systems. By creating a layer on the blockchain that enterprise ERPs like SAP can communicate in a unified way, enabling cross-company and inter-enterprise communication. Coca Cola is currently piloting this in their bottling companies in North America, and is seeking to improve transparency across the bottling .

Baseline Protocol is also working to modernize EDI, a technology that has existed since the 1940s, to connect disparate systems for things like order placement, invoicing, inventory tracking and more. Baseline is backed by Microsoft, Consensys, EY and Accenture.

Related: is Revolutionizing the Real Estate Industry

Bringing Government into the Future

One Slovenia-based startup, CargoX, recently announced a deal with the government of to assist with modernizing customs procedures for ocean freight in the country. Thrust into the public eye by the Ever Given mess in the in 2021, most people don’t know that the Government of Egypt has been undertaking one of the most significant modernizations of port procedures in the world since 2019. With COVID-19 making ripples throughout the industry, all steps to modernize and improve have helped Egypt offset many issues others have been experiencing.

The CargoX platform facilitates customs procedures by providing Advance Cargo Manifestation technology to Egypt, with the goal of reducing time held in customs, money spent on physical documentation, and unlocking automation and general efficiencies through the Ethereum blockchain. The reported efficiencies include a reduction in cargo release time from 29 days to 9 days, a reduction in compliance costs from $600 to $165, and a general reduction in detention and storage costs. CargoX is also known for its digital blockchain-based Bill of Lading documentation for shippers, saving time and cost.

Sustainability and Traceability of Materials

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have joined together to launch a cotton traceability project on top of the Ethereum blockchain. With the goal of increasing visibility and benefitting small family farmers in Latin America, the project is designed to show how small farmers can join together and utilize technology to not only improve the way they operate and engage with the global market, but also improve their lives and their livelihood in the process.

With cotton being notoriously hard to trace to origin, this provides garment manufacturers the opportunity to verify not only the sustainability of their supply chains, but also as a check and an audit to prove Fair Trade claims to consumers and governments.

Where do we go from here?

Blockchain in supply chain was a hot buzz phrase of 2017 and 2018, but quickly moved to one that generated eye rolls at industry trade shows. By moving past this quick boom and bust hype cycle, nose to the grindstone startups have continued to build in public and private as the blockchain infrastructure continued to grow to support their goals. Paul Brody, Global Blockchain Lead at EY, echoes this sentiment, saying that while Blockchain may not fix the supply chain by itself, it does provide a clear and open communication system that was sorely lacking in the past.

Moreover, enterprise-grade systems typically have not been very friendly or accessible to small and midsize businesses. ERPs, TMS and WMS are notoriously challenging to set up, and have an out of reach cost not only to procure, but to maintain long term. Typically new implementations will cost millions, and require hiring consultants, as well as in-house employees.

Open access and systems like Ethereum enable inclusivity in building supply chain applications that can be used by businesses of all sizes, at a cost that scales proportionally with their ; not one that has a high barrier to entry like present ERPs.

Fast forward to 2022, and the startups have climbed out of the disillusionment, into the “slope of enlightenment” as Gartner terms it, and now have growing, verifiable use cases around the world. Blockchain, especially public chains like the Ethereum network, now are showing their true potential in becoming the “HTTP” of supply chains.

Related: The Complete Guide to Crypto, Bitcoin, ApeCoin and Blockchain Technology

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“We are focusing on something else right now.”

“We already focus on innovation, but we call it something else.”

“We already have a strategy for innovation.”

“That’s not my job.”

While challenges for companies vary, excuses for a lack of innovation are always surprisingly similar. Below are three everyday excuses you may hear in your own organization that may make your hairs stand on end, and set alarm-bells ringing.

Included are some tips on how you can make excuses a thing of the past, while creating real innovation for the future.

“It’s not my job”

Try asking some of your colleagues who they think is responsible for innovation in the company. Bewildered answers can range from the development department to production, or marketing to senior management.

The only thing most people agree on is that innovation is not their job, let alone something they should prioritize. Someone else takes care of it.

You may have approached the sales team whose only task is to sell what the production team makes.

But go to the production department and they say they’re fighting hard to keep up with the long list of demands that the development department sends them.

Visit the development department and the vicious cycle is complete when it is explained that the sales team is constantly coming up with new demands.

The buck is passed around, from one department to another. It quickly becomes clear that these departments are siloed and don’t “do’ innovation.

Equally, part of the challenge is to understand what an innovation is.

In my book Listen Louder I highlight, among other things, how we need to take a more critical look at our readiness for change.

“Readiness’ is a bad concept, especially when talking about innovation. Being “ready’ means waiting for something to happen.

So by being “ready for change’, paradoxically, we put ourselves in a situation where we are waiting for a development to come to us. By then, it could be too late to capitalize on its full potential.

We should not simply “be ready’. We should be driving and “going to’ the change ourselves.

Innovation is therefore something that depends not on one person, or even one department. It is an institutional culture which needs to permeate all levels, where an entire organization has an innovative mind-set every day.

Established companies can learn from the startup culture, where innovation is a necessity for survival and provides the driving force among startup entrepreneurs.

Startups usually start by researching their business model. It is an innovative process where they try to create sufficient value that others will pay money for.

They search for a problem worth solving, meaning they become less focused on the product and more focused on the problems. This requires a much broader view compared to more established organizations.

How to get started:

Accept that your organization needs to focus on the four essential pillars of innovation: creativity – including the ability to experiment, a strong feedback culture, an incentive to change the status quo and the ability to revise and scale. Ways to achieve this can include:

  • Creating internal “solution days’, where the path to a given goal is rewarded rather than simply achieving the goal;
  • Starting a monthly “Friday bar for innovation’ where all the employees who are interested in innovation and new ideas can meet and talk;
  • Creating an internal blog or newsletter that shares intern experiments, the effects of them, as well as thoughts on groundbreaking innovation happening in the world.

Related: How a Diverse Team Brings More Creativity and Engagement to Your Business

“Management is best at evaluating the potential of new ideas.”

It’s not the number of ideas that make a company more successful, but the right ideas. Unfortunately it’s difficult to know when an idea is good or not, and as people we are generally not great at judging this. Just have a look at this collection of 25 meaningless inventions, including diet water and a gasoline-powered flashlight…

It is understandable that top management, the people who have successfully worked to understand the market, believe it is their responsibility to pick and choose the ideas that they think will bring the company future success.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. The world is too complex, the needs of customers change regularly and competition is too difficult for even the most brilliant minds on the board of directors to be able to predict the future alone.

Since we can’t predict the future, the trick is to kill bad ideas quickly. In the context of “Lean Startup’, we speak about how companies must “fail often, fail fast and fail cheap’. The companies who test their idea by experimenting in the market, gain faster and cheaper feedback than companies that sit behind a desk and try to predict what will happen.

How to get started:

  • Identify outdated products and experiment to bring them new life;
  • Identify concerns about new initiatives and do tests on them that can help confirm or dismiss any weaknesses;
  • Use experiments to gather proof of what works, then it will be easier to convince any reluctant boss who needs to back up the change.

Related: 4 Ways to Drive Internal Innovation and Unleash Employees’ Entrepreneurial Side

“We already know what our client wants!”

Over time, companies build up a special understanding of their clients. This understanding is based on a number of assumptions and beliefs that all too often are not updated or remain unchallenged. Instead, they could become insights that are no longer supported by the reality of the market.

Market studies often confirm and reinforce what you already know, instead of testing the assumptions to reject them or confirm them.

We are good at categorizing our existing clients, for example by demographics, but at the same time we are bad at understanding what motivates or inspires them.

It gets worse. In a strong, siloed company, people often work without keeping the client in mind. Employees focus on their own tasks, because that is how their performance is measured, instead of working to create value for their clients.

The core of “Lean Innovation’ is to understand a client’s problem. By utilizing the “design thinking process’ to better understand customers, employees learn more about a client’s needs and desires.

How to get started:

  • Listen to your new employees when they ask why something is done in a certain way. It is an opportunity to see things from a new perspective;
  • Observe your customers in the natural way they interact with your company (for example: if you sell to restaurants, ask permission to go undercover as a waiter for your customers);
  • Practice your role so you don’t miss something and let it fall through the cracks. Approach the conversations you have this week by talking with your clients about their problems without mentioning your product. Just listen, ask questions and listen some more until you get under the skin of your clients and understand what really drives them.

Related: Jason Hall on Why Every Client Will Doubt You (and What to Do About It

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