Andy Stefanovich, author of Look at More: A Proven Approach to Innovation, Growth, and Change (which was an Inc. bestseller and included in AdAge’s “Ten Marketing Books Your Should Have Read” in 2011) is a prominent—and much sought after—thought leader and innovator. Stefanovich, a TEDx speaker and guest lecturer, has been invited to share his ideas with some of the world’s leading corporations and institutions, including Yale University, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, NASA, Coca-Cola, and Disney. He is also a frequently invited commentator on CNBC. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Andy to discuss inspiration, innovation and life balance.
AS: Inspiration and passion inspire me. Inspiration is my inspiration and passion is my passion. These abstract, but critical, elements to anyone’s life can serve as fuel to create, innovate, and lead a great existence.
AS: My five Ms explained in five lines:
Mood: The company’s ethos, i.e. the climate for creative energy within an organization.
Mindset: The individual’s propensity, passion and capability for creating.
Mechanisms: The tools, techniques and technologies used to create.
Measurement: What are we measuring to drive innovation and what might we consider measuring that we are not?
Momentum: Assuring creative energy is not an event or episodic, but instead a part of an ongoing cultural underpinning.
AS: As a corporate curator and provocateur for executives and corporations, I start the project inspired from the outset by choreographing inspiration as a regular cadence into my life. In short, I get inspired to be inspiring. For me, it is a way of life and about making it the way you are, not just what you do.
AS: My dream client? Anyone who has a belief in the right things: people, change, growth, inspiration, and so forth. These higher order issues are my focus and business will follow suit (in their traditional metrics) if we concentrate on these life issues. This is where I choose to spend my time. These people and companies are special and need to realize their full potential.
AS: Social media and the Internet have both hurt and helped innovation. Hurt them in that people see innovation largely through the lens of the digital world and must realize that innovation is agnostic to platform or issue set—it is democratic in its ability to move anything forward. On the other hand, together they have helped innovation by putting more ideas into the ethos to be pursued, critiqued, built upon etc. Since the Internet originated it has fast tracked millions of ideas.
AS: My quick top five pieces of advice for young entrepreneurs are as follows:
AS: The most innovative brands to watch are those we aren’t seeing. Go to “micropolotians” (cities of 5-50k) where makers are making, craftsmen are crafting, etc. Not too big and not too remote, but just the right climate and conditions for innovating.
AS: I believe in Stew Friedman’s approach to work/ life integration, not balance. By mashing up my four domains—self/ family/ community/ work—(more than feels comfortable sometimes), I get the benefit of them fueling each other for a rising-tide effect on my life overall.
AS: When my children are in bed, I sit in my Eames lounge chair, snack on sunflower seeds and watch mindless TV. You have to manufacture down and “dumb” time in your life and that’s mine.