advertisement
advertisement
The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

15 entrepreneurs discuss the right time to pursue innovation

How to keep your company’s original mission relative to the future growth market.

15 entrepreneurs discuss the right time to pursue innovation
Members of Fast Company Executive Board share their expert insights. [Image: Courtesy of the individual members.]

To avoid remaining stagnant in today’s evolving marketplace, an entrepreneur must keep one eye on the pulse of the latest trends and the other on the reasons for going into business in the first place. To stay balanced, the leader should make pursuing innovation a natural part of the company’s course in order to survive.

advertisement
advertisement

Below, 15 members from Fast Company Executive Board weigh in on the path to blending legacy with future possibilities to help their companies thrive.

1. CONSIDER THE SHORT- AND LONG-TERM OUTCOMES.

Most entrepreneurs need to do both simultaneously. Stay the course in the short term because success requires conviction as you are right in the face of lots of data and people telling you that you’re wrong. Pursue innovation in the long term because emerging technology trends are already laying the groundwork to disrupt and upend your business. – Scott Brighton, Aurea

advertisement

2. PIVOT WHEN IT’S NECESSARY.

True entrepreneurs usually never identify as an entrepreneur. They typically start out as problem solvers. At some point down the road, someone labels them as an entrepreneur. Problem solvers pivot whenever necessary and never follow the status quo. If they did, there wouldn’t be a need to solve the problem at hand. Lastly, innovation is a continual practice, not something you pursue.  – Maurice Kelly, Windpact Inc.

3. BLEND LEGACY WITH POSSIBILITY.

advertisement

Organizations should be actively scanning the environment to identify predictive market insights that will enable them to constantly evolve. Blending legacy practices with the art of the possible can create a balanced approach. Pilots are a great way to gauge impact and value. – Britton Bloch, Navy Federal

4. DON’T REST ON YOUR LAURELS.

There is absolutely no question that innovation should be in your DNA and institutionalized. From the famous Wayne Gretzky “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Everything changes, so with technology, information, and innovation moving at light speed, your success today is not your success tomorrow. To stay relevant, skate to where the puck is going. – Ed Beltran, Fierce, Inc.

advertisement

5. STAY DEDICATED TO SELF-REFLECTION.

Cultivate a working environment where the team and their leaders work together to identify areas the company should push for innovation, as well as areas that are currently thriving with their current measures in place. This allows you to stay the course. At BrandON Media Group, for example,  my team’s dedication to self-reflection as a company means that we are always revisiting our tactics and looking for ways to improve.  – Brandon Pena, BrandON Media Group

6. CHALLENGE IS ESSENTIAL FOR GROWTH.

advertisement

Challenge is essential to growth, but no one is built to spend all their time on terror’s edge. If you’ve been out on terror’s edge for some time, consider it a sign that you need to recalibrate and temporarily stay the course. On the flip side, if you’re feeling overly comfortable, there is no question you need to pursue innovation. It’s essential to keep growing yourself and your business. – Camille Preston, AIM Leadership, LLC

7. SUBSCRIBE TO CREATIVE DESTRUCTION.

The principle of creative destruction requires that the status quo will eventually not do. Every industry experiences its typewriter moment—a point where innovation makes its product or service obsolete. Avoid being a casualty statistic by learning to embrace change and innovation in your organization. – Tyrone Foster, InvestNet, LLC

advertisement

8. STATUS QUO MEASURES RESULTS TO MOVE FORWARD.

The wheel was invented in the 4th century BC but the transportation industry never stopped advancing. Companies that innovate are the ones that are leading their industries. Entrepreneurs should be those who challenge the status quo and lead the change. The status quo should be only a process to measure results or test performance for the next set of iterations. Innovation should never stop. – Goran Paun, ArtVersion

9. DON’T REMAIN STAGNANT.

advertisement

I think that entrepreneurs need to make pursuing innovation part of ‘the course’ in their business. As history has repeatedly shown, few companies can afford to be stagnant if they want to survive. So, it’s not a question of when to innovate but rather how. This is doable through steady and paced steps rather than a sudden change in the business. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

10. LEVERAGE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES.

The entrepreneur’s decision to stay the course or pursue innovation is a difficult one. They must weigh their options and make sure that they are making the best decision for their company. To make this decision, entrepreneurs should consider their company’s current strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they can leverage these strengths and weaknesses to create a competitive advantage. – Kristin Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC

advertisement

11. INFUSE YOUR MISSION WITH INNOVATION.

There’s an opportunity to do both. Entrepreneurs should continue to make sure their original business mission is still represented in every decision and iteration made. However, they should also keep a pulse on trends and innovative ideas that could benefit their employees, partners, and customers. Welcome and celebrate challenges to the approach. – Jason VandeBoom, ActiveCampaign

12. PUSH YOURSELF CREATIVELY. 

advertisement

Entrepreneurs don’t do the status quo—this is why they’re entrepreneurs. The push to create, to innovate, to make meaning and impact, uncomfortable as it may be, invites founders into a state of perpetual beta and, along with them, the very endeavor they’re building becomes an engine of evolution. Like Bob Dylan famously said, those not busy being born are busy dying. – Jonathan Fields, Spark Endeavors

13. CONTINUE TO EVALUATE IMPROVEMENTS.

There should be a balance. Leaders need to commit to following through on current initiatives while seeking ways to innovate. Innovation can come from myriad areas: work culture, leadership, technology, and customer experience. Constantly evaluating where you can improve is important. Finding the ideal segmentation between status quo and innovative change is critical to ongoing success. – Matthew Tengwall, Verint Systems

advertisement

14. TAKE ‘BIG SWINGS OF BOLD.’

I think entrepreneurs are innately meant to innovate. Staying the course for an entrepreneur means continuing to take what I call “Big Swings of Bold” even in the face of the unknown, even when something fails, even when it is uneasy. This is where the edge of growth, evolution, and advancement cohabitate. – Leigh Burgess, Bold Industries Group, Inc.

15. CHANGE YOUR COURSE IN THE MARKET.

advertisement

Entrepreneurs are typically unhappy with the status quo because it’s boring—anyone can do it. A truly happy entrepreneur needs to pursue being innovative because it’s our juice, our adrenaline, and our fuel. It’s the whole reason why we choose to be entrepreneurs in the first place. So, if you’re an unhappy entrepreneur, it’s not time to stay the course, but to change your course. – Kevin Neff, Kevin Makes Sense Media

advertisement
advertisement