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5 Keys to Continual Innovation

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A research project was done some years ago seeking to determine which was the more intelligent - flies or bees. A very large transparent glass jar full of bees and a similar jar full of flies were put up against a window pane on a bright sunny day and the lids removed. As the researchers watched they observed every one of the flies eventually escaped their jar, but every one of the bees died in their jar. From this they concluded that bees are more intelligent than flies! They deduced that the flies just flew around and eventually bounced their way out the opening, but the bees with higher intelligence were so focused on the direction of the light being the way out that they only went in that direction. Hence the open glass jar became a death trap.

The most successful companies in the world at the beginning of the 20th Century were the giant railway corporations in the USA that helped open up the prosperity of the wealthiest nation on earth. Yet these giant companies were largely gone by 1950's because they thought they were in the railway business and did not realise they were actually in the transportation business. They, like the bees, focused on what they knew, and meanwhile other companies and the public embraced air travel.

I was at a presentation recently by a very well known and successful telephone book style business directory which for the past 10 years has been quietly innovating because long ago they realised that the days of a large telephone-type-book approach to their business was drawing to an end. Today through constant innovation they have a very diverse online network with a combined total of 30 million searches per week (Australian figures only) because they have realised they are not in the telephone book business but in the people connection business.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" may have once been a good mantra, but in this day and age, with things changing all around us all the time, it is usually those who resist innovation who will be struggling tomorrow.

5 Keys to Continual Innovation.

1. Know your core business - Jim Collins, Good to Great, discovered in analysing businesses that had been successful for more than 50 years, that they knew their core business well and stuck at it, but were willing to keep changing everything else all the time.
2. Believe there is always a way! - Keep telling yourself until you believe it. If what you are doing is not working, growth has slowed or results are starting to plateau, then try something else, and if that doesn't work, try something else...
3. Brainstorm possibilities regularly - Always be thinking ahead of the game. This involves making sure you make time and clear your headspace to be able to think ahead of the urgent day to day matters to engage in seeing where you are headed.
4. Be eager to learn new things - the day you start to think you know it all, or that no-one can teach you anything is the day to sell your business.
5. Don't be afraid to fail - Build a culture within your business which gives everyone the clear message that it is ok to fail. There is no such thing as failure, only feedback! This will build an environment in which team members will be willing to have a go without fear of recrimination.

A great question to ask yourself is: "When was the last time you did something for the first time?"

So what are you working on right now that will make tomorrow different for you?

Green Business Ideas

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In today's world, many people are worried about our environment. This concern is valid with all of the things that are happening in the world around us. It is key to remember that we live in the world we create. We can make a choice to be part of the solution or become a part of the growing problem. The problem that we are talking about is environmental issues.

There are two types of business. One type of business creates garbage and another type does something to improve the environmental issues. Which type of business do you want to be? Have you ever thought of starting your own business doing things that will help to reverse the harmful effects of environmental pollution? Well, perhaps it is time.

There are many business ideas that you can use to create an environmentally friendly solution. First take a look at your strong points and find out what talents you have that can be used. There are so many things that can be recycled and turned into wonderful products if you start to think outside of the box.

Let's take a look at an old car tire. What do you do with it when it can no longer be used on your car? Most people just throw it away or let the new tire place take care of it. However, it has other uses. You can make things from that old rubber. You could make a business by collecting types of rubber trash and reusing them.

You can use this rubber to make things like bags, hats and berets, gloves, jewelry, wallets and many other handy things. Rubber is not the only thing that can be recycled. You can recycle almost anything with the same unique business idea.

Here is another idea for you that could start a great business. Harvest rain water run off. They do this in places where water is not readily found. You could create a rain water storage system and sell them. Place them around the town and show people how to use them.

You can use things like old wood that people throw out to create things. These created items can be put up for sale with ease. Many people love to buy stuff that looks old. Here is another one for you to consider, rebuild old bikes and toys. Take parts from one and add them to another to create a new bike or toy idea. It is just another spin on re-cycling.

You do not have to throw out something like a bike just because it does not work in its current condition. You can use these other parts to mend it and get it back on the road to being useful. By starting your own green friendly business you are doing your part to help correct the environmental issues that many people want to help fix but don't know how. Think about how we are taught to throw things away. Did you ever notice that no one teaches us how to recycle? Perhaps you could with your new business. You have the opportunity to become part of the solution and not part of the problem.