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Phil McKinney
Innovator, Author, Speaker, Columnist at Forbes
Innovator, Author, Speaker, Columnist at Forbes


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This weeks show focuses on how to create a killer pitch for the top ideas that came out of the brainstorming session. We took a look at:

- How to prepare your idea for a pitch
- Refine the idea that came out of the innovation brainstorm
- Determine the type of innovation and then scope the pitch accordingly
- Understand who needs to approve the idea along with possible innovation antibodies and then tailor the pitch.
- Create a draft of the pitch (see below)
- Test the pitch
- Deliver the pitch and deliver "the ask"
- If the answer is "no" then learn from it
- Go do it yourself

7 Parts to a Killer Idea Pitch

Before you get started, get an “endorsed introduction” the person you are going to pitch. Find someone who knows the decision maker who will not just forward the email but who will give you a strong endorsement and the background on who you will be presenting to. The introduction is key to establishing your credibility as a person before you even start the pitch.

Start with a Vision. Describe what life will be like in the future as if your idea were fully realized. This should be a concise and impactful vision that is calculated to surprise and ignite interest in hearing more.
Create the "5 second" description of you idea. Build on the vision and explain how your idea would allow the vision to become a reality. List ways you would solve hurdles and  problems and clear the way to the impact you've already promised. This is where you want to use figures to show size, impact, etc.
List benefits/impact. Clearly describe the benefit deliver products faster, earn a margin premium, provide better customer experience, or improve overall effeciancy.
Analyze the competition. Demonstrate that you know the business environment by showing competing products or services and explaining why your offering is better.
Why are you the person to back for this idea? Describe why they should back you. This includes your background on success and challenges that you've had in the past. Putting this section at this point in pitch keeps the focus on the idea and not you while also allowing you to address the elephant in the room which is "why you".
Use flattery. Learn as much as possible about the people in the room and the organizations they represent. Then explain why you chose them to have this discussion.
Conclusion and close. In one sentence, reiterate your idea and its impact on them. Add a closing sentence where you present your “ask" such as; invest, acquire, purchase, etc.

What not to say in a pitch

So, how's everybody doing today? Wasn't that traffic a killer? - You want to use the energy in the room to focus your idea and not the traffic or weather. The first 30 seconds of any pitch is the most important. I start with presenting a strong vision.
You're going to love this idea! - Be careful not to set expectations. Let them come to their own conclusions. Otherwise, some people in the room will search for points that disprove your statement.
Everything I'm presenting is in the handouts in front of you. - Really? Then why are you hear. I never do handouts before a pitch. Use the pitch to build a personal connection/relationship with the audience. It will be a critical part of their decision to go forward with your idea.
I poured everything I have into this idea. - It sounds harsh but my criteria is based on the idea and the belief that it will have impact that warrants getting supported.
If we go forward and you want to change something, that's fine. - If you so quick to let me change it, then maybe its not that good. Show your confidence in the idea.
That's great that you want to go forward, but let me finish my pitch. - If the say yes to your ideas, stop. You're done. It is not about you getting through your pitch

Listen to this weeks show, 7 Parts to an Innovation Pitch for Your Idea S11 Ep50
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How Do You Run A Next Generation Brainstorming Session?

Most organizations use the traditional approach to host brainstorming session with their teams. If they took the time to evaluate the impact, they would recognize that there are some inherent weaknesses in the way brainstorming have been done in the past.

In this weeks show,we share with you how to run a next generation brainstorming session. The structure will look similar but there are a few key differences that will have a major impact on the quality of the ideas generated.

Listen at:

FREE BONUS: “How To Run A Brainstorm” PDF at
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Israel: An Unlikely Innovation Capital

The image that most people in America have of Israel is that of a small, beleaguered country surrounded by enemies. However, as the Jerusalem Post recently noted, the Jewish State has become a hotbed of innovation and high technology, rivaling even Silicon Valley.  Israel ranks fifth on the Bloomberg Innovation Index, behind South Korea, Japan, Germany, and Finland, and just ahead of the United States.

The index was comprised based on rankings in six sub-fields: Research and development, in which Israel ranked No. 2, manufacturing (21), hi-tech companies (11), post-secondary education (4), research personnel (4) and patents (31). Israel was also second, behind South Korea, in the percentage of its GDP devoted to research and development.

Israel also ranked 11th in the number of high-tech companies, an impressive number considering the fact that the country numbers only just over 8 million people. A separate index, the 2015 World Bank “Doing Business” report, ranked Israel poorly for the level of regulation, excessive bureaucracy, and red tape at 40. This rating suggests that Israel would do even better in innovation if the country loosened certain government policies.

So how is it that a small country, with fewer than 9 million people, with a huge national security problem, got to be so innovative? An article in Forbes offers some clues. It seems that Israel’s innovative culture stems from “a combination of intelligence, creativity, productivity and independence as well as their staunch determination to press on in the face of daunting opposition.” In other words, living in the tough neighborhood of the Middle East has forced Israel to innovate to become strong.

A First-Class Education System

The United with Israel website notes that Israel was ranked as the second most educated country in the world, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), second only to Canada. Its secondary school graduation rate is 92 percent. Moreover, 45 percent of Israel’s population has a university or college degree.

Not only does Israel spend lavishly on education, but its people have a cultural inclination toward becoming more educated as a means of upward socioeconomic mobility. This inclination predates the founding of the Jewish state, running through Jewish history dating back to ancient times.

A Strong Military (Which Benefits the Private Sector)

Because of the country’s persistent external threats, military service is mandatory for most Israelis upon reaching the age of 18. Just about everybody in Israel is a veteran of some sort, which means that they have been inculcated with the qualities of self-reliance and risk-taking inherent in being effective soldiers. The risk of starting a new company seems trivial compared to the risks taken on the battlefield.
Additionally, because of its relatively small size and the multiple threats it faces, Israel has traditionally relied on technology to give it an edge over its enemies. Israel’s military forces cannot hope to match its enemies numerically. So it strives to have the best equipment, superior tactics, and the best-trained soldiers, not only in the Middle East but rivaling many outside the region.

Naturally, military technology often finds its way into the commercial sector. A synergy has developed between the military and commercial worlds in which research and development have both benefited.

Multiethnic and Multicultural Society

The very reason for the existence of Israel has been to provide a homeland for Jews from any place on the planet. Israel has thus become a nation of immigrants from diverse countries, with people from Europe mingling with Russians and both interacting with immigrants from elsewhere in the Middle East.

This fact results in a great deal of diversity and multiple viewpoints. Add to that the free flow of ideas and creativity, with people holding different perspectives collaborating together, and a culture of innovation naturally arises. The situation parallels that of the United States, which is also multiethnic and multicultural, with an entrepreneurial culture developed among many recent immigrants.

Early Government Investment in Innovation

The Atlantic notes that while Israel had “the key ingredients for a high-tech boom by the early 1990s,” it lacked investors to fund that boom. The government stepped in with the Yozma program, which both directly invested in startups and encouraged foreign venture capitalists to create funds in Israel. Eventually, the government privatized the program once it was clear that the “financial ecosystem” was self-sustaining. Now, Israel attracts more venture capital and is home to more technology startups per capita than anywhere else in the world.

Challenges: Regulation and Discrimination

A recent study by the Kohelet Policy Forum suggests that government regulation in Israel has inhibited innovation and economic growth in Israel to some extent. The study noted that Israel’s government is one of the most intrusive in the developing world. Partly, this quality is a holdover from Israel’s socialist era. Israel’s government culture, which encourages red tape, bureaucracy, and paperwork, is increasingly at odds with the entrepreneurial and innovative culture of Israel’s private sector.

Additionally, there is plenty of untapped potential in Israel’s Arab population. Arabs don’t serve in Israel’s military, meaning they are cut off from the professional and social networks that help fund most Israeli startups. There are numerous Arab startups, particularly in the city of Nazareth, but few can secure outside funding, and therefore struggle to obtain the kind of success experienced by other Israeli startups like Waze and OrCam.

A Bright Future

Israel has become something of a paradox: a national security state that has become, partly because of its security concerns, a powerhouse for technological innovation. The Jewish state began its existence heavily influenced by socialism, with the Labor Party dominating its politics for the first 30 years. However, by necessity, Israel has embraced capitalism and innovation, making its economy larger and more powerful as a result. If Israel’s government can catch up with these developments and encourage innovation instead of placing obstacles in its way, the small state on the edge of the Middle East could achieve even more prosperity than it has already, impressively, created under the most trying of circumstances.

Contact me to let me know your thoughts on national innovation systems.

#Israel   #innovation   #government  
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You can help bring innovation and entrepreneurship To Africa ...

Each year, we select one charity to donate 100% of the author royalties from my book along with 100% of the profits from the sales from our store - http://Innovation.Tools. This year it was Pioneer.Education.

Pioneer.Education is building a prototype school in Rwanda to teach innovation and entrepreneurship to students who don’t have access to an education or jobs.

As we come up on the last day of the year — we need your help. They need to raise $250,000 to build and outfit the school (including bringing in all of the utilities such as water, electricity, internet, etc).

There are two ways you can help:

1) Make a charitable donation to http://Pioneer.Education. Pioneer is a 501(c)3 charity.

2) Make a purchase at http://Innovation.Tools (our store for creatives, designers and innovators) BEFORE mid-night tonight and 100% of the proceeds will go to Pioneer.Education.

Learn more at:
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This weeks show is up .. with insights from Kevin Kruse based on his 300 interviews with top performers and how they maintain their productivity.

Hint: Time Management

During the interview, Kevin shares …

- Its not about hustle  and hard work.
- Work smarter not harder
- The concept of 1440 and why its so important
- Don’t let people steal your time
- Why you shouldn’t use to-do lists
- The E3C method to increase your productivity
- How to use procrastination to your advantage
- Tricks to avoiding digital distractions for better concentration
- The myth of multi-tasking
- Prioritize based on your MIT (most important task)

The audio for the show is at
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+Flipboard did piece on how I use their app to capture ideas ...
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Disruption by innovating the "how" (business model) rather than the "what" (new shinny product) ...

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What role should the government take in encouraging and supporting innovation?
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Stop the Negativity!! Become an Anti-Critic

It’s an unfortunate fact that the world is full of critics who feel that it’s their place to put others down left and right, based on their ideas, actions, and even personal beliefs. It seems that negativity is the order of the day, based on its prevalence among TV pundits, editorials, and anonymous internet comments. Politicians criticize their opponents instead of working together to find solutions, bloggers and so-called experts criticize the way we raise our children in often contradictory ways, bosses criticize your work performance and ideas, the list goes on and on.

Unsurprisingly, all this negativity can rub off on us, even if we have the best intentions. I know that even I sometimes find myself unthinkingly criticizing something before I even know all the details.

It’s important to step back and try to stop this cycle, because it’s simply not productive. Instead of joining everyone else by being automatically critical of everyone who has an idea that differs from yours,become an anti-critic. An anti-critic is someone who collaborates instead of always coming up with a reason why the other person is wrong, and works with others to constantly improve ideas and practices rather than simply tearing them down.

The first step is changing how you think about the word “criticism” itself.

The word “criticism” generally has a negative connotation and is equated with an attack. For instance, when a co-worker criticizes your ideas on a project, it’s easy to get defensive instead of trying to develop better ideas to solve the problem, because it’s easy to perceive criticism as a rebuke.

But the truth is, criticism is not inherently negative. To criticize, in its most basic form, simply means to examine closely. So an important step towards becoming an anti-critic is changing the connotation of the term “criticism” within your own mind.

When you think of “criticism,” try aligning it with words like “analysis” and “evaluation.” Changing your own definition can make you more open to receiving criticism in a constructive way, which is an important step toward becoming a good collaborator. The next time someone on your team criticizes something you came up with or are working on, try to look past the negativity to see any useful advice at the core of the critique. If you can do that, and answer with constructive ideas, you’ve taken a meaningful step toward breaking the cycle of unconstructive criticism within your organization.

How to Criticize Keeping with the same work example above, we’re going to flip the script and look at criticism from the perspective of the criticizer. If you’re the one criticizing a co-worker’s ideas, then it’s time for you to consider how you are offering your criticism and whether or not it’s constructive. For this step, you also need to change your definition of criticism and start thinking of yourself not as a critic but as an evaluator.

To that end, always start with the positive. Look at the core of the idea the person is presenting and figure out what works about it — and say that. Then go onto what could be improved. It’s okay to mention flaws or potential issues you see, as long as you also offer ideas for fixing them. Criticism without a fix isn’t helpful, and only perpetuates nonconstructive negativity and resentment. Always focus on improvement — building on ideas rather than tearing them down.

None of this means you should be dishonest about your evaluation of an idea. It means your honesty should, for the sake of the project, be offered with the aim of collaborating, not criticizing.

An anti-critic is, above all else, a contributor. Instead of someone who sits on the side throwing rocks, an anti-critic gets in the middle of the situation by figuring out how all parties can work together to come up with a better solution than the one that currently exists.

Criticism (or evaluation, or analysis) is important, but it needs to be constructive and followed by joining in and collaborating. To do this effectively, it’s a good practice to first ask to offer your opinion. If you usually just automatically jump in by offering your opinion, try to cut that habit. To truly collaborate, you must be open to others’ feelings and ideas. They may not want or need your expertise at the moment, or they may feel that you are taking charge when you automatically offer your take. The key to collaboration is that nobody is necessarily “in charge.” Instead, you are multiple people with multiple areas of expertise and experience that need to be shared, discussed, and analyzed in order to come up with a solution that will solve the problem and move the project forward.

The world has plenty of critics, and you don’t need to add to that negativity. Every team member has the ability, and the responsibility, to make the working environment one that constantly moves forward rather than getting mired in what’s not working. Modeling what it means to be an anti-critic on your team will lead to more collaboration and less resentment and conflict. Take the time to really listen to others when collaborating, and always follow up a critique with ideas for how to move forward.

Have some examples of good and bad criticism?

#criticism #politics #ideas #innovation #critics #collaboration

. . . . . . . . .

To not miss other essays in the series, text the word INNOVATE to 33–444 or if outside the US, send an email to INNOVATE @ KILLERINNOVATIONS.COM
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