How to Stay Ahead of the Curve
So much for the status quo… Research confirms what most already suspect: Continuous change is the new norm in business.
Happily, in today’s highly-disruptive world, innovation is just another word for improvisation—and anyone can adapt to new and novel problems the same way leading innovators do: By studying problems, brainstorming original solutions, then steadily trying and improving as they go.
To thrive in fast-changing times, change with them; to future-proof yourself, become more flexible. Organizations like Amazon and Google create competitive advantage by consistently experimenting with and learning from new ideas. Individuals succeed more frequently by thinking fast on their feet and resiliently forging ahead despite setbacks, not possessing greater IQ or inborn talent. Today, winning isn’t about having more resources, rather being more resourceful; getting ahead not about being a genius, but more ingenious instead.
To succeed in unpredictable environments, you’ve got to find the courage to take chances.
In uncertain times, everyone wants to be risk-free. Instead, you can create competitive advantage by being risk-averse—recognizing that change is coming, and making smart, calculated, and cost-affordable bets that can help you gain the insights, talents or capabilities today that will be in-demand tomorrow.
Whatever your stated goal, pick a portfolio of promising growth activities to try—launch a new product line or re-launch an existing one; attend night school or take online computer programming courses—and start pursuing them immediately. Just don’t sit still while times, trends and competitors are also evolving. Staying ahead of the curve is easier than it sounds, as long as you’re staying in constant motion.
Award-winning professional speaker Scott Steinberg is among today’s best-known trends experts and futurists, and the bestselling author of Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty and Millennial Marketing: Bridging the Generation Gap. The founder of Select nightlife magazine, and host of Next Up on NewsWatch, his website is www.AKeynoteSpeaker.com.
Interview with Scott Steinberg
What are some of the important steps towards creating a culture of innovation?
Vital to building a culture of innovation is to start by building a culture of participation, in which contributors are encouraged to grow organizational learning and capabilities, expand their executive talents and skill sets, and speak up, not keep their heads down. Also important is to construct a framework and infrastructure that allows not only for the cultivation and support of new ideas, but also continuous prototyping and iteration.
To stay at the cutting-edge of innovation, and keep up with shifting markets, organizations mustn’t just keep their ears to the ground and take a sense of pride and ownership in ongoing initiatives. As a business, they also need to remain in constant motion. Similarly, it’s also important to prepare organizations to effectively be able to mobilize, redeploy resources and leverage learning and insights, so as to be able to successfully pivot when business situations require shifts in thinking or implementation.
What are your most popular keynote topics?
Frequently requested topics include programs which center on enabling positive change management or leadership solutions, driving strategic innovation, and enabling ways that businesses can most effectively connect with and create lasting value for modern audiences. Naturally, these speaking presentations often touch on tangential topics such as how to best leverage technology and online marketing solutions to create competitive advantage.
Recent favorite speeches among business executives and meeting planners alike include Change Management: Creating a Culture of Strategic Innovation, Becoming Essential: How to Build and Maintain Competitive Advantage, and The New Rules of Marketing and PR. As you might imagine, we’re also seeing more incoming requests for talks around social media, online marketing strategy and the future of technology as it relates to topics such as training and education – obviously, things are changing for many businesses and industries (even today’s schools and university systems) at a rapid clip.
How do audiences generally describe your talks?
Engaging, educational and strikingly informative – we make a point of providing content-rich keynotes, workshops and breakouts that not only inspire and entertain, but also provide actionable information. All speaking presentations aren’t just customized to meet audience needs, and built to motivate and educate attendees.
They’re also specifically designed to offer expert advice and resources that provide viewers with next steps that they can take as they explore, research and embrace featured topics further. Learning and positive skills transfer are key: We’re always looking for ways to help audiences enhance their capabilities, become more productive, and be more successful on both the professional and organizational fronts.
How do you work with clients when preparing for a keynote?
We start by listening and gathering as much information as possible up-front. Via extensive ongoing research, interviews and conversations with key stakeholders and audience members, we also work to gain a deeper understanding of the organization, industry and key challenges faced.
Throughout the process, we’re constantly refining and updating programs to provide the best service possible, and make a point of being on-site prior to and the day of the event itself to meet with all involved, as well as making ourselves available for continuous feedback and insight. We also work with clients to consistently promote occasions and provide meaningful value-adds wherever possible – we greatly value our partnerships, and work to maximize the impact of meetings and events for all parties involved.
What are some of the bigger organizations you have worked with and what did you achieve?
We’ve had the distinct privilege of partnering with some of today’s most successful brands including AMD, AT&T, Activision, Century 21 Real Estate, eBay, Microsoft, Sears, American Express and more. From bolstering efforts to drive strategic innovation and change management efforts on a worldwide scale to aiding as these market leaders define the shape of new products, services and programs, we’ve worked with clients on a fascinating range of business projects.
Whether collaborating with clients to shape business strategy, build and implement new programs, or raise internal or public awareness for ongoing initiatives, we’re proud to say we’ve been a part of programs that have touched the lives of millions of consumers. Needless to say, it’s been a wild, but wonderful ride.
What is the most unique experience you have had as a speaker or presenter?
As part of our youth and school speaking practices, we often have the privilege to provide a number of programs for teachers, educators and kids of all ages at various assemblies and events. A tremendous learning opportunity for all parties involved (including ourselves), it’s always fascinating to see how new technologies, tools and trends are being implemented in the modern classroom and household.
As Sears Toy Shop’s Tech Toy Expert, I’m honored to say that I’ve had the chance to connect with many elementary-, middle- and high school-aged children, and their parents and teachers, all of whom are watching the world change before their very eyes. Not only have such occasions proved an eye-opening, amazing and educational experience for all involved (including myself – I suspect we secretly take more notes than anyone in the room), but a vastly enriching one. Think presenting to the executive team is tough? Try getting a laugh out of a room full of jaded adolescents…