Sunday, October 27, 2019

Chief Exnovation Officer

The fifth annual Fast Company Innovation Festival is November 4-8 at various locations throughout New York City. It features newsmakers in business, the arts, and social impact for a week of panel discussions, immersive workshops, purposeful networking, and interactive field trips led by curated Fast Company journalists. 

The NYDLA global community is invited to attend, at special members-only pricing. 

The theme of this year's festival, "A Connected World," seeks to highlight the technological advancements that are accelerating the connections among people, places, and things while also shining a spotlight on the importance of forging strong human and cultural connections. 

NYDLA: Distance Learning > DIGITAL Learning > DIGITAL LIVING. OK, yeah, I get it. Living, learning, working, playing on a global basis, via technology. Yes, this festival is a fit for NYED-LA

A FESTIVAL is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community (intellectual, creative, technology, science, etc.). 

Festival? Sounds like there will be food - sign me up!

INNOVATION is a cool word, right? How do you not love and support innovation? In business, the process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value would be innovation. Sometimes new products and services can be ground-breaking and revolutionary, resulting from major new technologies such as 3D printing or nanotechnology. 

Sometimes innovation shows up in small, simple or "why did I not think of that" or "Hey, that was my idea!" moments like turning a ketchup squeeze bottle upside down as improved packaging. 

In today's world, consumers are always looking for what's new, what's best, fastest, more convenient, more fashionable. Business today cannot sit still for if you do not successfully innovate you will be passed by. Global competitors and start-ups can easily leapfrog industry incumbents. Today, complacency is not a option. We live in a globally connected marketplace. We are now all competing in an ever increasingly educated and talented world with lower labor costs - successful start-ups can pop up anywhere.

Yes, Innovation is a very cool and powerful word. 

But so is Exnovation.

Exnovation is the process of eliminating the unsustainable, irrelevant or unsuitable to constantly improve and renew the innovation process. Exnovation is the process of removal of innovations that are not effective in improving organizational performance, are too disruptive to routine operations, or do not fit well with the existing organizational strategy, incentives, structure and/or culture. John Kimberly first coined the term exnovation in 1981 to describe the removal of process at the tail end of the innovation cycle. 

Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines, was a maverick and innovator in every sense of the word. He started his innovative, cost-cutting airline when flights were expensive and few people could afford them. Herb was known for his inspirational quotes:

"We have a strategic plan - it's called doing things."

"Your people come first, and if you treat them right, they'll treat the customers right."

"I tell my employees that we're in the service business, and it's incidental that we fly airplanes."

Yes, Herb Keller was a great innovator, but he was ALSO a great exnovator. 

"Today, there is one best way to land a plane. And that BEST WAY is how we are going to do it, every time, all the time. If we ever find a BETTER way to land a plane, then we shall do it THAT way." 

There is an underlying assumption that innovation is good, so then MORE innovation must be better. But the true masters, the Herb Kellers, the Walt Disneys and the Steve Jobs of the world - they were masters of both INNOVATION and EXNOVATION. You need both.

Innovation creates the magic. 

Exnovation is what makes the magic last. 

As in the case of folks like Steve Jobs, Herb Keller, Walt Disney and many others, their legacy - the magic of their innovation lasts long after they have left us. 

Come join us at the Fast Company Innovation (and Exnovation) Festival in NYC this November. 

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