How do you create an environment for innovation?

The Saturday morning session at The Summit last year was the strongest single session of any event I’ve ever attended. (And I’ve been a part of a few events) I remember leaning over to Marko and saying… “I’ve paid way more money to attend events that weren’t nearly this good.” It was that good.

Ben Chestnut’s talk is so important for leaders. He’s not just talking about this stuff out of an ethereal or academic perspective, he’s  talking about it as the CEO of one of tech’s most healthy, creative, and on constantly innovative companies: MailChimp.

He dives into one of leaderships most challenging questions: How do I foster an environment that is insanely creative, moves faster than the marketplace, and sustainable so it doesn’t burn people out or run out of cash.

Questions from Ben’s Talk

  1. What’s the impact of not creating “things” in your work? (Non-profit, for-profit, etc.)
  2. One of Ben’s core learnings was that he can control time people get on a project. How would that translate to your context?
  3. Do you think your role as a leader is primarily connecting things?
  4. What in this talk  doesn’t correlate at all to your context?

The Distraction of Perceived Competition

Competition versus Perceived Competition

  • Did you see what ____ is doing?
  • Did you see what ____ had on their blog?
  • I heard ____ is going to do ______ next year. Wow. Total game changer.
  • _____ is kicking butt with ______.

If you are in leadership, any kind of leadership, you hear this stuff all the time. 

I catch myself going there from time-to-time. And I’ve learned that it’s nothing more than a big, fat distraction.


Actually, Failure is an Option

Wait a minute...
Wait a minute…

The most common thing

I love what you guys are doing.”

This is a phrase I hear today about our work at The Youth Cartel. It’s a compliment. I say thank you. But I hear it so much– usually 3-4 times per day in one form or another — that I’m not even sure what it means anymore.

I just know it’s a whole lot better than,  “So, have you thought about looking for a job?” Yep, I heard that a couple times per week when I had another job. No one has said that to me in a long time. And for that I’m grateful.

The second most common thing