Significant, Scalable, Sustainable Innovation

Engaging a crowd and transforming them into communities has become vital for faster growth in business. Innovative ideas and customer communities come to life because of how we engage with them: customer feedback loop, gamification, rewards systems, UX, CX, you name it.

Companies want to be innovative, but are they willing to take risks? And how much risk is too much?

Olga shares practical ways in which to start Transformational Innovation and create a customer community.

Conversation notes

  • What is the difference between innovation and invention?
  • Examples of great innovation that didn’t involve invention and why they worked.
  • Innovation is really about shifting behaviours.
  • What instigates the need for innovation?
  • Innovation comes in 3 forms: core, adjacent, and transformational. How do they differ?
  • It’s not just about the risks taken by organisations but the risks that we, as individuals, are willing to take. Organisations are made up of every one of us.
  • Success comes in creating something unique and delivering something you truly want to deliver.


“If you are not failing, you are not trying hard enough – not being risky enough. Not catastrophic failure but controlled, measured failure that allows you to push the boundaries in a safe environment. That is the risk – pushing to the limit but assessing. At that point, you learn and you iterate.”


Game, Set and Match

How do you get to be good at tennis? Practice + motivation.

How do you stay good at tennis? Practice + motivation.

How do you continue to improve? Practice + motivation.

Is natural talent and theoretical knowledge enough?

You might be born with talent. You might have learned all the theory. But, unless you put in the hard yards and focus on improvement, and have the motivation to keep going and the belief in yourself, your natural talent or theoretical knowledge won’t be enough.

The same goes for any skill, including mental skills and processes like innovation. If you want your team to come up with a new and engaging customer experience. You can’t just expect people to be innovative because you tell them to be, especially if this is not something the team has done before.

How do leaders break the mould?

In his article for Forbes, 3 simple ways to improve your innovation skills, Jack Zenger explained how he and his colleague, Joe Folkman, discovered that the most highly-correlated behaviour of leaders that accomplished their work quickly and with high quality was innovation. When they looked further to find the qualities that allowed these leaders to break out of the mould and try new things, they discovered 3 common traits. Each leader:

  • Showed a willingness to change and to put in the time and practice.
  • Wouldn’t settle for ‘good enough’.
  • Assembled an innovative community around them.

Innovation vs invention

Olga also pointed out that innovation and invention are not the same things. “Innovation can be seeing what no others see or seeing it in a different way.” She gives several excellent examples of how innovative thinking can lead to unique and engaging products and experiences that challenge how things ‘should’ be done. These included the city that found a way to use existing infrastructure and funding to reward drivers for good behaviour, rather than focus on penalising poor driver behaviour.

Olga believes that if you are not failing, you are not being risky enough. You’ve got to have the freedom to try things out in a controlled manner that you can assess and learn from – just like top athletes do.


Olga’s Linkedin: Olga Cuesta

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This episode forms part of our 2018 series narrative, ‘The Art of Focus’ which is based on the premise that, in an information-dense society, our attention resources have become depleted. The series’ speakers will help us identify and explore the areas in our lives where we may need to regain focus, increase our self-awareness and improve how we interact with those around us.

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