“When people left your session, they were on fire.”
REBECCA CLEMENTS, CHIEF PEOPLE OFFICER, MOZ
“We double the number of SKUs in the same square footage and without compromising merchandising. The store looked better.”
KELLY FOX, CEO, LUMBER TRADERS
“The keystone problem contributing to our cash-flow problem was that our invoices weren’t clear. We didn’t know why clients paid us late.”
LEADER IN A PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FIRM
“I learned our customers were frustrated enough with their ordering experience that we could have lost them.
It would have taken much longer to even know there was a problem.”
VP SALES & MARKETING, MAJOR SHIPPING COMPANY
It Might Be A Time To Cultivate An Innovation Culture If…
When you need to innovate, you’re already behind. As the ancient Chinese proverb advises, “Dig the well before you’re thirsty.”
If you’re ready for problems to be fun and exciting and feel like opportunities instead of burdens… If you’d like to innovate like you were made to innovate (and you were), then it’s time.
The innovating bird catches the worm… All of the worms.
Call us yesterday if…
- Conditions changed, and it took your company too long to notice and adapt
- You’re planning or anticipating change and dreading the change-management process
- You want to gain a competitive advantage in your marketplace
- Your competitors just won a deal you thought was yours
- Customers are complaining – about anything – or leaving
- You find yourself asking, “Why is X still a problem?”
- You’re having trouble keeping your most valued people
- You believe you’re “falling behind” or using outdated systems, tools, etc.
- You see opportunities to pull ahead, and you’re not sure how to capitalize on them
- You know it’s “innovate or die” and you’d prefer the “innovate” option
Let us help you follow Wayne Gretzky’s suggestion and (to misquote him)…
“Skate to where the future is going,” by creating the future yourselves.”
Result You May See When Cultivating An Innovation And Problem Solving Culture…
Make Grace Hopper happy, and never again say or hear, “We’ve always done it this way.”
- You solve problems for customers they didn’t yet know were problems so your revenue grows by leaps and bounds because raving fans buy more and refer more.
- “That’s just the way it is,” becomes, “That’s just the way it was,” so you surpass your competitors who’re still stuck in the muck.
- Kaizen (continuous improvement) becomes a way of life in your company, no longer something that needs special initiatives.
- New efficiencies compound and boost profit and momentum.
- Enjoy greater employee engagement, higher morale, and better employee retention.
- Your company grows through new lines of business.
- When change comes, your team rolls with the punches – they’re change-ready.
The leader of a shipping company, with the help of some team members, discovered and solved a significant frustration point that was driving away customers (worth hundreds of thousands each). No one said anything. They just silently seethed. By finding that problem, he preserved an unknown fortune in (almost) lost revenue.
Another leader told us about her cash-flow problems, stemming in large measure from clients not paying invoices on time. What initially presented as a client-behavior problem turned out to be an invoice confusion problem caused by their own invoices’ lack of clarity. Improved invoice clarity led to timely payments led to a cash-flow resolution (revolution?).
And still another CEO acquired a competitor, merged the teams, and doubled the number of SKUs in the same square footage while improving the customer merchandising experience. They did all this almost overnight. “We used the tools you gave us in the innovation program we did with you. This was the smoothest merger/acquisition in our company’s history.”
Innovation & Problem Solving Support FAQ
Yes. And no.
No… We don’t have the solution to problems you face in areas where you have expertise that we don’t.
You knew that already.
Yes… We can help you think about the problem differently, find new facets you hadn’t considered, get upstream of the symptoms you’re experiencing to find root causes (and what we call “Keystone Problems.”
The paradox of leading innovation is that mandating that people innovate can dampen creativity like a chaperone at Spring Break. While we know at The Yes Works that everyone’s creative, we also know that creativity is a shy creature. So in a world where it’s “Innovate or die,” what’s a leader to do? You’re caught between a rock and a hard place.
The CEO of a highly innovative tech company wanted to encourage even more innovation, so he offered an innovation reward for great creativity at work to be awarded to up to two employees per year. Innovative ideation dropped off immediately, and no one won the award at all in all the years it was on offer.
He got greater employee engagement in trying to innovate. He got worse results.
The incentive backfired – as Dan Pink tells us incentives always will when it comes to work that requires, “even rudimentary cognitive skill.”
“Go innovate,” simply isn’t a winning directive. It’s a saboteur of even incremental continuous improvement (Kaizen).
It’s like a little nudge that gets people in the way of their own creativity – through brain science.
They can’t help it.
Then it’s past time to bring The Yes Works in to run this program for your team.
If this is, “just the way things are,” for you, then it’s likely just the way things are for the competitors in your industry as well.
That makes fixing the way things are a potentially powerful competitive advantage.
Will it be you who captures this competitive advantage in the air, or will you leave that to your competition?
No matter how creative you think your team is or isn’t, you’re likely underestimating them. And they’re likely underestimating themselves. Everyone is creative. And with the right tools, every team can be more creative together than they are separately.
Yes, it’s a played-out term most of us are tired of… Synergy. We can help you generate creative synergy.
It’s not magic. Not woo-woo hand-holding. It’s brain science. We’ll science your team’s brains with stimuli in all the places a brain needs to be stimulated to create, and shush your brains in all the places a brain needs to be shushed.
And we’ll show you how to do it on your own whenever you want to. It’s your birthright.
And you’ll generate ideas. Creative ideas. Solutionary ideas.
Sure. I get it. Change moves very slowly through some industries.
Come here. I want to introduce you to someone. Meet KODAK. Have you met Kodak before? If you’re over 40, probably you have. If you’re under 40, there’s a good chance you’re saying, “Who’s Kodak?”
Kodak was the name that was synonymous with photography. That is, it was synonymous with photography until they invented digital photography, decided it was meaningless, put the tech on a shelf to collect dust, licensed it to other companies, and got left in the dust when those companies used their tech to revolutionize photography forever.
If innovation isn’t a big thing in your industry, you’re either in luck, or you’re out of luck. Someone’s going to disrupt your industry soon (ask cab companies).
Might as well be you to capture an unfair competitive advantage.
Well, yes… And no.
How can it possibly be both? Good question.
If you’d like for us to facilitate your next innovation breakthrough, we’d be delighted – even if you haven’t yet gone through our “Cultivating an Innovation and Problem-Solving Culture” training labs. And, as noted above, we know that you can’t simply decide to, “go innovate.” Innovation is something that happens when the conditions are right.
So the for the first half-day of our facilitating your innovation breakthrough, we’ll have fun together creating the right conditions – with the first of the two labs. Then we’ll roll our sleeves up with you to directly address the innovation you’d like to create or the problem you’d like to solve (not that there’s a difference between those two goals).
If you’ve got a decent internet connection, we can work with you wherever you are.
Speaking of facilitating innovation, before the pandemic, our answer to this question was different. “We need to be with you in person,” we used to say. And we traveled sometimes, but usually stayed in the Puget Sound area.
Then the pandemic hit. And we gathered to grapple with a new reality. We’d have no business if we didn’t adapt. So we spent a day together adapting programs that were so reliant on being in person to deliver value even on a video call.
“That was so much better, more fun, and more engaging than I expected,” said the first of our in-person clients who worked with us remotely. “It was so fun and engaging when we worked with you in person, I was sure I’d be disappointed.” He wasn’t. He was thrilled. And so were we.
Now, we’ll gladly work with you face-to-face. And we’ll gladly facilitate the cultivation of your super-powered innovation culture remotely.
And our team is growing around the country. If you want our work in person, could be we’re not far away.
You can have that too. Fundamental principles we’ll train you in will help you find the problems others don’t see because, “That’s just the way it is.” It’s the water everyone else is swimming in. From there, we’ll give you tools that support the kind of mindset that says, “This unsolvable problem built into the fabric of reality can actually be solved, if we just tilt our heads this way a bit.”
The same tools that support Kaizen by increments can be employed to disrupt a marketplace.
And more importantly, a culture that doesn’t settle for the status quo, one that habitually solves problems instead of walking past them… That’s a culture that innovates as a way of life. And an innovation culture could be your unfair advantage.
Get innovating because innovation begets innovation.
Nothing in life is guaranteed.
No wait. Here’s a guarantee… Someone in your industry is going to make the next innovation – solve a significant problem you and your customers face – and wield the next competitive advantage.
It could be you.
If conditions are right.
And we can help you ensure that conditions are right, giving you the best chance that the next competitive advantage is yours.
Well, sure… And, we can’t.
One of our brand promises is – No ineffective, boring, PowerPoint-lecturing yak-yak. So, it may not surprise you to learn that we don’t have very many slide decks at all at The Yes Works.
That said, we do have a short e-book that’ll walk you through the foundational principles that we know create a culture of innovation, problem solving, and Kaizen. You can totally have that.
There’s a critical difference between teaching and training. This free e-book will teach you the principles, how they apply to innovating and problem solving, and even some tactics of how to get those principles established in the fabric of your company’s culture.
What it won’t do is give you the direct experience of having fun practicing these actionable principles together as a team. It won’t facilitate you through their application and help you see the ways you may be misusing them or missing them in critical ways.
That’s what the training we bring you in our labs does. We’ll share our knowledge with you all day long for free – because it might help you, and it doesn’t cost us anything to share.
The real value in having us join you is the fun, sticky, behavior-changing experiences we create to cement the learning and turn it into SOP.
Our ability to train (taking advantage of brain-science and the power of experience) rather than teach – that’s our unfair competitive advantage.
Remember the monk-boy in The Matrix with the freaky-bendy-snakey spoon?
He knew the truth. “There is no spoon.”
Trying to think outside-the-box is an impossible trap. “Instead, only try to realize the truth… There is no [box].”
Anytime you try to think outside-the-box, that boxy-reference point imprisons your thinking right back in the box.
You’re familiar with the idea of beginner’s luck… And also, perhaps the common phenomenon of “outsiders” generating innovation in industries they know little about.
The Yes Works can help you and your team leave the box far behind.