Monday, December 2, 2013

Innovation: When
It Seems Obvious


Back in the late 90's Todd Greene, came up with an award winning idea based on his own personal dilemma; he needed an easier way to shave his head. But the tools at the time sucked. Anyone who remembers the good old days may remember, to shave your head you only had a few choices...shaving cream, electric hair clipper, a Gillette razor on a long handle, your medicine cabinet mirror and a long evening involving whiskey-straight up. Painful. Awkward. And required your scalp to heal up for a few days Yea right...the best a man can get.

Armed with a small investment, a passion for his idea, and a design background Tom developed a prototype that immediately made shaving your head a joyful event. I'm not saying it was joyful like an ice cold beer and a good ball game, but you get the picture. Tom turned the event of shaving your dome something to look forward to. Tom called his racing car looking invention HeadBlade®.

Now to you and me HeadBlade seems obvious. Cool idea. Timely. Solves a huge problem. And it is so well designed that even if you don't shave your head, you want one. It's a guy thing. But astoundingly when Todd pitched his idea to the razor companies he was rejected!

How could something so innovative not raise
the pulse rate of a single executive at the
major razor companies?

I'll tell you why. Too may of us have a lot of rules in our head. (I'm serious). Rules like, why would anyone buy that? Or I don't see a market for that...that...thing! Or, who the heck are you? That's why I like the TV show Shark Tank on ABC. Entrepreneurs see the potential of a new product, the market it could fit into, and the potential to create an entirely new arena for that that didn't exist before.

Executives need to learn this skill. The skill of seeing potential from a new idea.

This is why innovative ideas may seem obvious to you and I, but lose traction when presented to the wrong person. Too many strong opinions about what will work, how could I make money on this, or simply not understanding what the idea is has left many a company wishing they had THAT product on their roster of offerings.

So without any real help from the big brands, Todd turned his company HeadBlade® into a multimillion dollar corporation and a niche brand. Hey, ya gotta do what you gotta do. By aligning his HeadBlade products with The Ultimate Fighter (founder Dana White also shaves his head) Todd turned his company into a lifestyle brand. A brand you can't live without.

Here is a short video to introduce you to the HeadBlade lifestyle:

So how does someone spot the next big idea? Start by dropping those strong opinions and ask yourself, "what is it about this that I am missing?" and "is there already a need for this product that is untapped?" "does this product have legs for a full line of product offerings?"

Now Gillette, Schick and Braun are trying to copy the leadership that HeadBlade established.

That's what I call getting caught with your pants down. Don't make the mistakes I've made (I almost missed the Internet Boom. Doi.). And BTW: HeadBlade is such a groundbreaking design, it sits on display in the Museum of Modern Art [MOMA].

And Thank you for stopping by,

Brad Szollose

Bridging Generational Chaos: Multigenerational management expert, award-winning author, business consultant and keynote speaker

“The Beekeeper and The Watchmaker” story can be found in Navigating The Growth Curve by James Fischer. Want to learn how to manage like a beekeeper? Check out James Fischer’s Growth Curve Institute.

Brad Szollose is a much sought-after generational expert, management consultant and keynote speaker who helps smart companies understand just how much technology has transformed corporate culture and behavior… and how that impacts management interaction, expectations and sales in The Digital Age.

But this is not based on management theory: With a 30 year career as an entrepreneur he knows firsthand what it’s like to grow a company from a simple idea in a coffee shop to an internationally recognized brand.

Brad is a former C-Level Internet Executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs—co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company experienced 425% hyper-growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 with 60+ employees and offices worldwide. At its height, K2 was valuated at over $26 million. 

His results only management model (ROWE) was applied to the first wave of young Generation Y workers producing great results—winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.

Brad Szollose is also the *award-winning author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation Y and analogue driven Baby Boomers working together. ISBN-13: 978-1608320554

Known for his humorous and thought-provoking presentations, Szollose received the highest testimonial of his career from a C-Level audience member: "I just had my mind blown." Brad’s keynotes and workshops are highly interactive, heart-warming, humorous, and filled with high-content information that challenge assumptions and help leaders and managers create a better work environment for innovation to thrive.

Liquid Leadership has been called "THE guidebook for the 21st Century" and has won the 2011 Axiom Business Book Award silver medal for leadership, The Indie Business Book runner up silver medal as well as becoming a #1 Best-Selling Business Book on Amazon for Organizational Learning. Published in the United States by Greenleaf Book Group, in India by Prolibris and in South Korea by UI Books/Iljinsa Publishing.

Mr. Szollose also writes a monthly column on business and marketing techniques that reach Generation Y for A Captured Mind newsletter and is part of The Mind Capture Group faculty.

Today, Brad helps businesses close the Digital Divide by understanding it as a Cultural Divide – created by the new tech-savvy worker...and customer. 

* 2011 Axiom Business Book silver medal winner in the leadership

* #1 Amazon Best-Selling Author

"I just had my mind blown..." - A.S., Vistage, New York

Liquid Leadership by Brad Szollose is available at all major bookstores and for Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony ereaders. Internationally published in India and S. Korea.