Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh On Focusing On Collisions

What’s the biggest lesson you learned in 2012?

“Downtown Project is focused on helping revitalize downtown Vegas, with the goal to share what works and doesnt work with other cities on the web site. We originally thought the focus should be on building highrises in order to achieve a residential density of 100 residents per acre. When combined with street level activity (including the small businesses we are investing in to help build a sense of neighborhood and community), the magic will happen on its own. As we thought about things more, we realized that a better metric to focus on is collisions amongst people in the community. Research has shown that most innovation happens as the result of something outside your industry being applied to your own. These are usually the result of random conversations happening and ideas generated as a result of collisions.”

How do you think you’ll apply it in the year ahead?

“We are now specifically targeting 1000 collisionable hours per person per year, regardless of whether someone is a resident or purposeful visitor. When investing in small businesses and designing spaces, we will look at how they accelerate our 3 Cs: Collisions, Community, and Co-Learning. Rather than focus on the short-term ROI, we focus on the long-term ROC Return on Community.”

More Lessons for 2013 from some of today’s most innovative business thought leaders here.