capitalism + collaboration = collabitalism

Adversity Drives Innovation

by scott pickard

Businesses face adversity from time to time which directly impacts profitability, such as:

  • From man-made environmental and safety situations that precipitate regulations requiring costly compliance measures; e.g., the fuel efficiency and general safety regulations imposed on the automobile industry
  • The water and wastewater treatment regulations imposed on manufacturers by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Acts of God and natural global conditions such as drought which is currently affecting much of the agricultural land in production across the world

Each era in our history has had its challenges. The automobile industry has been able to respond to the adversity imposed by fuel standard regulations and over time, improve the quality of the cars and their competitive advantage. Manufacturers have been able to respond to the adversity imposed by water and air-quality regulations from EPA to build new corporate cultures that embrace green and sustainable practices requiring innovation along the way while building goodwill, brand, and competitiveness in the market.

Today, drought is one of the most serious and pervasive adverse challenges facing farming and farm communities worldwide. Instead of waiting for it to finally rain, the farm industry must pursue innovation in several key areas:

  • Storage of water
  • Recycling of wastewater back to subsurface ground and storage
  • Efficient use of water to grow next-generation crops requiring less water

Research is ongoing in all of these areas and when successfully applied, innovation will sprout wherever drought is an issue.

History teaches us that adversity at first may seem like a direct attack to profitability and the sustainability of our businesses, and this typically instigates a stubborn defensive reaction in the beginning. But history also shows us that when companies face adversity head on, people rise to the occasion and solve some very difficult problems and those solutions benefit everyone.

- sp -

The “Three Kings” at the 2015 Masters

by scott pickard

When I was ten years old, my family moved from Houston to Dallas, Texas, and my parents became members of the Dallas Athletic Club (DAC).  A couple of years later, they both volunteered for the 1963 PGA Golf Tournament which was held at DAC. My dad was a marshal and arranged for me to go to the practice session where three pros played with one amateur. So I followed them walking down the middle of the fairway (no ropes in those days) alongside Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus. I really did not understand the significance of who and what I was watching, and that these three men were the reigning “kings of golf” on our planet.

jack and arnie

Jack Nicklaus won the 1963 PGA.

I have a vivid memory of Jack Nicklaus hitting a driver off the fairway on a long par five, and back then with wooden club heads and the golf balls of the day, the ball would climb up into the sky . Nicklaus’ “driver-off-the-deck” fairway stroke made a loud “crack” as the golf ball shot out like a cannon and climbed up toward the clouds on a hot Texas afternoon, and then dropped down softly onto the green in two. It was magnificent!

Arnold Palmer hit a drive that started way out to the right soaring over the adjacent fairway, and then it turned left in a sweeping hook that brought the ball down into the middle of the fairway on the hole being played. WOW!

Gary Player hit one drive that took off low and skipped across and finally into the water. They all laughed including Player, so he re-teed and then blasted the next drive down the middle of the fairway. It surprised me that he made a mistake….. I didn’t know golf pros made mistakes!

I look back on that day with mixed feelings of awe and a little bit of regret that I did not fully grasp how special that opportunity was.  It was a milestone moment in my life as it opened my eyes and heart to the game of golf.

That was 52 years ago, and fast forward to April 9, 2015 (yesterday), as I watched the “Three Kings” perform the ceremonial first tee shots on the number one hole at Augusta National Golf Club to kickoff the 2015 Masters Tournament. Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player moved a little slower and a little less sure of themselves, each showing a little bit of anxiety that they would not muff their tee shots.  But in king-like fashion they striped their drives down the middle of the number one fairway to the delight and cheers of all the fans, including myself: still inspiring, still impressing, still showing us the way in the world of golf just as they did for me back in 1963.

Sports Golf  Golf is a declining sport, but why? sp What’s up with Tiger Woods? When will you shoot your age?  Is golf a sport? who cares, we love it in general: big hole golf | celebrity tournaments: Jalen Rose |  Fedex Cup | foot golf | handicap: formula | magic | online game:, Virtual U.S. Open | PGA: pgatour | performance: priming | rules & etiquette: smartphone, USGA, videos | sand: soft sand, hit hard; hard sand, hit soft | social: topgolf | speed golf | soul of the game | top ten courses: Chicago | trends: mitigation banking, The Future of Golf | youth: Drive, Chip & Putt tournaments: majors: British Open, Masters > Values/tradition, PGA, U.S. Open | Ryder Cup: Ryder Cup, Ryder Cup Diary 2012 sp books/movies: mentoring: Seven Days in Utopia | rules: Golf Rules Finder

THREE KINGS: Palmer, Nicklaus, Player kick it off at the 2015 Masters.

Golf is so much more than just a game for most of us golfers. It becomes a golden thread that weaves its way throughout our entire lives. That must be true because several weeks from now, I will be playing golf with my dad to celebrate his 98th birthday and just as Arnie and Jack and Gary do when they play golf together, dad will be trying his best to beat me, and me him.  It has always been that way with us, father and son.

I can only hope that my son and I will be doing the same thing 30 years from now.

- sp -

RadioShack files for bankruptcy

Development of Technology Innovation  RadioShack files for bankruptcy. Garages are the authentic American fablab. sp | Will Uber’s autonomous cars destroy millions of jobs? Is innovation predictable? Does every innovation begin with a question? What can pirates, terrorists, computer hackers and inner city gangs tell us about the misfit economy?  Where do big ideas come from? Does public scrutiny and high expectations of stock value impede corporate innovation?  Do your innovation teams have a blend of cognitive types? (a) creative’s; (b) detail-oriented; (c) conformists Who is the greatest innovator of the past decade?  How is innovation management handled across the enterprise?  What internal and external resources are used to stimulate and guide innovation?  What percentage of revenues is from new products introduced in the last two years?  Is innovation blocked or stagnated in the company?  Why? (a) too many layers of approval required; (b) bad decisions due to lack of info flow up through the organization; (c) unsynchronized incentive systems; (d) slow response time to customers and market; (e) "not invented here" syndrome; (f) "always done it this way" syndrome; (g) creativity and innovation are driven underground; (h) overall frustration and dissatisfaction; (i) customers are angry and alienated  How fast can a new idea be tried out at the company? Months? Weeks? Days? Hours?  Does the company's new product satisfy the requirements for rapid diffusion into the marketplace? (a) Simple; (b) Compatible; (c) Observable; (d) Trialable  Do we focus our creative efforts toward the creation of value for others?  Do we consistently see opportunity in the face of adversity?  Do we cultivate collaboration through diversity in our social and professional networks?  Do we make the most of our programs for learning and training?  Do we cultivate a healthy work/family balance?  Do we work on becoming good presenters?  Do we have a good understanding of our core competencies and how to focus them on opportunities in the marketplace?  Do we periodically challenge long-held assumptions (assumption busting) to open up possibilities for novel solutions that are rooted in a fundamentally different understanding of the problem? in general: Create a path that makes it easy for good people to do good things, and they will do it. | | digital literacy | conferences: innovation.economist | commercialization: copycats | corporate sponsorship: Shell’s GameChanger | crowd-sourced: openIDEO | design: catapultdesign | digital brainstorming: branddelphi | energy: ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit | enterprise social innovation: 3ds | federal sponsors: NSF I-Corps | follow the patents | quid | games: disruptus | global innovation index: | government impact: Permissionless Innovation Thierer | incentivization | innovation ecosystem | marketplace: planeteureka | museums: nobelmuseum | on-demand management: acceptsoftware, brightidea | resources: strategos, centricsoftware, ninesigma | product lifecycle management:, rymatech, | states: illinoisinnovation | students: Design for America, hackathon | team building: | timeline: stages of evolution | ultra high-speed networks: gig-u | young innovators: Disney's Big Hero 6 - XPRIZE Challenge academic research: Research Excellence Framework REF breakthroughs: FAST’s top 50, popular science top 100, Wharton’s 30 over 30 disruption > obsolescence: What added value does your retail outlet offer the customer today vs buying real-time/online? | A Total Disruption | Blackberry | creative destruction: ice > refrigerator | devices: sliderule | education: imagine K12 | gigaomnetwork | publishing: The Great Amazon Debate salon | retail: RadioShack bankruptcy | taxis: Uber |  top 10 | trends: techie xprize: Revolution through Competition | exponential innovation: overview | big ideas | tricorder books, articles, essays, portals: Abundance Diamandis | Closing the Innovation Gap Estrin | Creating Innovators | Epistemology of Innovation Vojak | fastcoexist | Open Innovation Chesbrough | Reverse Innovation Govindarajan | Ten Steps for Innovators Houtman | The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs Since the Wheel Fallows | The Innovator's Dilemma Christensen | The Medici Effect Johansson | The Power of Two Shenk Retail | Jobs | Entrepreneurship

What added value does your retail outlet offer the customer today vs buying real-time/online?