In our last post, we talked about the importance of being innovative, but this does not come without the risk of being ridiculed or looking a little different to peers. Howard Schwartz, CEO of Starbucks could have simply given into popular opinion or “type A” personalities with his coffee bar idea, but thankfully he didn’t. That brings us to our next point which is cashing in on the “NOs” of the corporate world. In the corporate world, the bigger the wheel, the slower it turns, if at all.
Companies are full of ideas, especially large ones. They promote themselves as being innovative, but often fail to innovate. I worked for a pretty large nonprofit one time, after I had suffered some health issues and had to close down my own small business. Ideas got shot down fairly quickly there, and it did not take me long to stop mentioning any of them again. It was simply a waste of time. The company was as old as dirt and things were not going to change any time soon or not at all. Coming from my small business background where there was no red tape wrapped around innovation, this was hard to take to say the least. I left on my 1 year anniversary there and what a happy day it was. If you find yourself working in the corporate world, don’t let your dreams and ideas die there.
In fact, the corporate world is a great place to look for a “No” that can be turned into a “Yes.” Corporations as a whole run from risk and potential failure. No manager wants to risk acting on something that sounds different in these economic times and even if they did, they know it would get voted down. In the 1970s, a large importer and distributor in the United States thought that importing bottled water was a very bad business decision. After all, who would pay for water that they could just get at home or who would drink water with bubbles in it? I am sure that they are not the only company that felt this way. Now, all grocery stores, convenience stores and even vending machines stock water by such companies as Perrier, Evian, Pellegrino, Dasani, and Zepyrhills. I guess the idea worked after all. Wouldn’t you say?
So, if you find yourself working in a big corporation, keep your ears opened while you are talking by the company water cooler because you just might hear the next million dollar idea.