innovation

EP#030: The Tata Group

EP#030: The Tata Group

The Tata Group is India’s biggest conglomerate company, founded in 1868 by Jamsetji Tata and headquartered in Mumbai, India. The Tata Group operates in over 100 countries throughout the world is believed to be India's best-known global brand within and outside the country. The ongoing mission of the group has been and is to develop India into a modern industrial nation. The story of the Tatas is another great example of dreaming big and never stop innovating.

EP# 029: OTC: Achieve the Impossible

EP# 029: OTC: Achieve the Impossible

Innovation is the lifeblood of an economy. Every one of us needs to continually improve ourselves and the world around us. Developing new, fresh ideas is vital as the world goes though monumental change in terms of socio-economic forces and rapidly changing technology. The goal of innovation should not solely be profit, but most importantly a way to improve the lives of others. 

This episode is a high-level overview of innovation and why everyone must innovate, every day. To truly change the world we must overcome the status quo and dogma. We must have laser-like focus and the ability to visualize our future. With the proper tools and techniques, along with an attitude and mindset of optimism, positivity, and passion, we can (and must) change the world, for the better.

EP# 028: Eiichi Shibusawa - The Father of Japanese Capitalism

EP# 028: Eiichi Shibusawa - The Father of Japanese Capitalism

Eiichi Shibusawa was Japan’s first modern venture capitalist. He financed and started more than 500 new businesses which he would leave when he felt they could operate on their own. As a serial entrepreneur, he championed the modern shareholder and corporate governance. He created the non-zaibutsu corporate model and created a vision for society as helped to create over 600 philanthropic institutes (zaibutsu: large Japanese business conglomerates, often controlled by one central family).

EP# 027: The New Lanchester Strategy (Part II)

EP# 027: The New Lanchester Strategy (Part II)

Frederick Lanchester was a key figure in the development of the automotive industry and the man who defined modern aeronautical technology and science. Lanchester is another legend in technology and science that most of us have never heard of or never learned about in business or engineering school. The theories Lanchester developed were adapted for business, especially sales and marketing which we will focus on within this episode.

Japanese business consultant Dr. Nobuo Taoka adapted Lanchester’s theories into The New Lanchester Strategy which provides guidelines for creating winning business strategies for both market leaders or firms struggling to remain profitable or increase market share. The lessons in this episode are straightforward but extremely effective for developing differentiation and keeping your competitors guessing and your customers excited.

EP# 026: The New Lanchester Strategy (Part I)

EP# 026: The New Lanchester Strategy (Part I)

Frederick Lanchester was a key figure in the development of the automotive industry and the man who defined modern aeronautical technology and science. Lanchester is another legend in technology and science that most of us have never heard of or never learned about in business or engineering school. The theories Lanchester developed were adapted for business, especially sales and marketing which we will focus on within this episode.

Japanese business consultant Dr. Nobuo Taoka adapted Lanchester’s theories into The New Lanchester Strategy which provides guidelines for creating winning business strategies for both market leaders or firms struggling to remain profitable or increase market share. The lessons in this episode are straightforward but extremely effective for developing differentiation and keeping your competitors guessing and your customers excited.

EP# 024: Henry Ford: My Life and Work

EP# 024: Henry Ford: My Life and Work

A great book to expand your business knowledge is, My Life and Work by Henry Ford. Yes, the founder and namesake of the world-famous automobile empire. The book was originally published in 1922 and is a brief autobiography as well as Ford’s ideas on business and life.

My Life and Work takes you inside the mind of a person who managed to change the world, yet who lived in obscurity for the first 40 years of his life. This was a long time to develop skills, both personal and mechanical, which laid the foundation for a massive enterprise.

EP# 022: OTC: Sell Those Ideas

EP# 022: OTC: Sell Those Ideas

As product managers we need many tools in our quiver to excel at our jobs. From the ability to develop creative ideas, to the use of systematic research techniques to understand competitors and customers, to strong analytical skills to evaluate market data, these are all critical business skills. But an often overlooked skill is selling. As product managers we often have a love-hate relationship with salespeople. But no matter how we feel about selling, we all need to excel at this critical skill.

EP# 021: Edwin Land and Polaroid

EP# 021: Edwin Land and Polaroid

Edwin Land was a Harvard dropout, a tech genius with a relentless drive for perfection. Before there was a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, or Mark Zuckerberg, a Silicon Valley type story was created in and around Boston Massachusetts. Land was a tech genius with amazing ideas, who was relentless and obsessive, and cwho hanged the world.

He was a modern pioneer who ran Polaroid for over 50 years, longer than Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and George Eastman ran their famous companies. The company was a truly innovative tech and marketing company. Polaroid and Land also worked with famous artists and musicians such as Andy Warhol, Robert Mapplethorp, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne from The Talking Heads, Ansel Adams, and Lady Gaga. Polaroid supplied them with film for photos and technical feedback, as well as the publicity the connections created.

As any great inventor, Land would note:

“You must expect failure after failure after failure before you succeed”

EP# 020: OTC: Recap - Episodes 1-19

EP# 020: OTC: Recap - Episodes 1-19

This episode is a recap of the previous 19 episodes. Past episodes focused on key themes such as creativity, lifelong learning, strategy, continuous improvement, and the importance of never giving up. 

From amazing historical figures from business and military such as Sun Tzu, W. Edwards Deming, Peter Drucker and Col. John Boyd, The Business Fanatic podcast focuses on sharing stories to help you succeed in business and life. Sharing military and business examples that are not often taught in business or engineering schools, these incredible people and the companies they created provide important lessons to change yourself and the world.

EP# 019: The Japanese Motorcycle Industry

EP# 019: The Japanese Motorcycle Industry

The Japanese motorcycle industry is one of Japan’s most profitable and leading industries today. From over 200 motorcycle manufacturers in 1955 to only four by 1973, the Japanese motorcycle industry has gone through massive changes. This episode reviews how this industry started, grew, and went from hundreds of manufacturers to only four in less than 20 years.

EP# 017: The History of Toyota (Part I)

EP# 017: The History of Toyota (Part I)

Toyota influenced many organizations around the world and created the foundation of modern manufacturing. Toyota is the world’s most valuable automaker with a market cap of $200 billion and $50 billion in cash.

Part I of this two-part episode focuses on the origins of the company from its founder Sakichi Toyoda, to the founder of the motor company, his eldest son Kiichiro Toyoda, a review of the Toyota Motor Co., and the father of the Toyota Production System, Taiichi Ohno.

EP# 016: Konosuke Matsushita: Overcoming Adversity (Part II)

EP# 016: Konosuke Matsushita: Overcoming Adversity (Part II)

Part II continues the amazing story of Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic. If his early life was not incredible enough, the start of WWII puts the company and Matsushita in uncharted territory as the Japanese Imperial Army puts incredible pressure on the company to support the war effort.

Matsushita’s experiences during WWII led him on a spiritual journey to change the world and help humanity. His never ending creativity and innovation to transform society to help all of mankind moved him beyond business to help Japan overcome massive changes and ensure a great future for his country and the world. Well into his 80s, Matsushita was still innovating and working hard to improve society.

EP# 015: Konosuke Matsushita: Overcoming Adversity (Part I)

EP# 015: Konosuke Matsushita: Overcoming Adversity (Part I)

This episode’s topic is on Konosuke Matsushita, the founder of Panasonic. Also known as KM, the following quote epitomized his philosophy on business and life.

 “An enterprise as a whole is as good or bad as the abilities of the individuals who comprise it. The development of the individual therefore, becomes of critical importance to an organization”

KM was one of the most amazing businessmen and philanthropists that most people have never heard of. He was the founder of the massive electrical firm Matsushita Electronics (or MEI), known today as Panasonic. He built one of the world’s largest and most prosperous electrical companies. He was born into a comfortable, wealthy family but soon his world was upended and his family was driven into poverty.

He had minimal formal schooling, lost the majority of family to tuberculosis, and was hampered by poor health that kept him bedridden for long periods of time. However, he continually developed new ideas to innovate his business. As he aged he maintained a youthful outlook on life that continually grew the business, while focusing on improving society.

EP# 014: OTC: Deception and Surprise

EP# 014: OTC: Deception and Surprise

Military theorists, most notably Sun Tzu focused on the benefits of deception to shock and surprise your opponent. Unfortunately, most business leaders ignore this technique as the daily requirements of Wall St. requires a short-term perspective and pressure to share to plans publicly. Unfortunately, this short-term mindset prevents leaders from using many effective ways to outmaneuver competitors.

Sun Tzu and his Art of War is a great resource for military and business strategists. Sun Tzu noted that all warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable, when using our forces, we must seem inactive, when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away, when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

This episode will review four key military campaigns that demonstrate the effectiveness of deception and surprise. These examples are great models for business leaders to adapt similar strategies and tactics to outmaneuver competitors and continually wow customers.

EP# 013: Chester Carlson and Xerox

EP# 013: Chester Carlson and Xerox

The ultimate game changer in the history of making copies was xerography, developed by a quiet, unassuming man who was sick of being bent over a desk for hours at a time making copies by hand. This man, Chester Carlson who grew up under unimaginable poverty, never stopped dreaming of inventing a machine to automatically make copies.

As an assistant to a patent attorney and later as a law school student, the nearsighted Carlson spent hours bent over his desk. With his muscles cramping and his back aching, he dreamed of a better way to make copies. He was never interested in money. He wanted to help society with an invention that would change the world.

EP# 012: OTC: Rekindle Your Creative Thinking Skills

EP# 012: OTC: Rekindle Your Creative Thinking Skills

As we grow older, our creative thinking skills atrophy based on conforming to societal norms (e.g., education, religion, business organizations). Unfortunately, our communities and businesses are in desperate need of new, creative ideas to solve complex problems. As businesses struggle, the environment changes rapidly, educational systems are failing the youth, and crumbling infrastructure is putting lives at risk, the world is desperate for new ideas and ways to improve the world.

Don't worry. All of us are born creative, we just need to rekindle those dormant skills. By understanding that creativity is an attitude, supported by skills, anyone can improve their creativity. It just takes some work and practice.

EP# 011: Momo-san: The Inventor of Instant Noodles

EP# 011: Momo-san: The Inventor of Instant Noodles

This week’s topic is about the incredible story behind instant ramen and the man who made it a worldwide source of tasty, inexpensive food. One man had a dream to provide low-cost, healthy food to ensure Japan’s citizens were able to recover from the destruction of the war.

The man was Momofuku Ando and the company he created was Nissin Food Products. Ando-san, better known as Momo-san, created the revolutionary product of instant noodles and later CUPNOODLES. His products and continuous innovations helped Japan be recognized around the world as a source of innovation.

EP# 009: The History of John Deere

EP# 009: The History of John Deere

What’s happening Fanatics. Welcome back to The Business Fanatic podcast; your weekly business podcast of all things strategy and innovation. I’m your host Dr. O and this week’s topic is John Deere and the history of Deere & Co.

What is more iconic than seeing a green tractor or combine in the middle of massive field of corn? Well, those green farm machines are probably Deere & Co. vehicles. And that iconic leaping deer logo that we all recognize has been used by the company for over 150 years.

John Deere created an iconic global company that helped transform America. The development of Deere’s iconic “singing” plow helped farmers conquer the Midwest and created America’s breadbasket. With the help of Deere’s products, farm output doubled from 1840 to 1860 and then tripled from 1860 to 1890.

Allowing for the settlement of the American Midwest and the ability to feed the growing population of America, Deere was instrumental in the growth of America in the 1800s. 

The story of John Deere and the history of Deere & Co. is a great example of creativity, ingenuity, and an entrepreneurial mindset that never stopped inventing and innovating. John Deere and his son Charles are synonymous with American ingenuity and entrepreneurship and their story is another great example of how a single idea can transform individuals, groups, communities, and countries.

EP# 008: OTC: The Five Elements of Parallel Thinking

EP# 008: OTC: The Five Elements of Parallel Thinking

Developed by Dr. Edward de Bono, parallel thinking is a powerful method to make decisions, develop new ideas, or improve processes. Working together rather than against one another, parallel thinking allows teams to collaborate successfully for a high probability of success.

In an unscripted episode of "Off the Cuff", Dr. O provides an overview of what leaders can do to help their organizations become more successful by adopting parallel thinking.