Imagine if all managers were catalysts?

I attended the BIF-4 Collaborative Innovation Summit last month and was inspired by the innovators that told their stories. All had sparked ideas for me that could inform emerging innovators, entrepreneurs and corporate leaders.

Imagine if all of their insights were embodied into one innovative entrepreneurial venture?. Envision the power of a company or organization that incorporates the following wisdom:

Turn managers into catalysts who are there to inspire and get out of the way. Saul Kaplan, BIF Chief Catalyst 

When you don’t have an answer, reach out to those who have the answer – regardless of how remote they may be. ” `John Abele, founder of Boston Scientific, Leader of the Grunion Expedition 

Let your childhood passions drive your insights into customer behavior and entrepreneurial success. “~Marc Ecko, founder Mark Ecko Enterprises 

Surround people with teams who are responsible for the success of others in the group. This will provide people with the confidence to accomplish more than they or others can imagine. And, it is the stories told to us as children that can inspire greatness in us as adults.” Lewis Gordon Pugh, Environmentalist and Explorer 

Innovation is more about people and intentions than inventions. Trust front line employees and provide them with the tools to innovate and create new business initiatives – the revenue will flow and you will keep the best people you have.” John Wolpert, Innovation Consultant and Entrepreneur 

Realize that the spaces – both virtual and physical – you create for employees and customers do make a difference in the way they think and behave.”David Rockwell, Architect 

When you want to understand your customer, immerse yourself in their world and allow them to help create the products of the future.” Matt Cottam, Storyteller for Nursing Home of the Future 

There could be significant money to be made in aspects of your business that are outside of your core but interesting to others. Jason Fried, founder 37Signals

Trust and give upfront permission to your employees to uniquely exceed customer expectations and their stories will be told to everyone the customer knows.” Tony Hsieh, CEO

Those who understand how millennials and boomers will dynamically work together in the near future to change the nature of business will benefit from this phenomena.”James Ludwig, VP of Global Design at Steelcase 

Failure is the precursor and in many ways essential for success”. Richard Satava, Surgeon

Involve employees in policy decisions; your transparency could welcome their insights effectively discounting much of the foundation of your initial decision making logic.” Steve Bendt and Gary Koelling, Best Buy’s Blue Shirt Nation creators 

Learning in school or in one’s job is about having authentic experiences that inspire, challenge and engage.” Dennis Littky, Education Reformer 

These and the other innovators who told their stories have more to say than presented here. It was the depth of their insights that inspired me. (To see for yourself, just click on the links. It will take you to their full video stories.) And the next time you meet any innovator in your day-to-day life, sit them down, buy them a cup of coffee and ask them to tell you their stories. You will be inspired forever.


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