Innovation is a big topic in companies today. The speed of business has almost required companies to reinvent and re-envision their products and services to find new ways to create value for their current – and maybe more importantly – their future customers.
I my opinion two things are necessary for true innovation.
First is an employee base that understands what your company really does for a living. And second... there must be no fear.
No fear of failure. No fear of reprisals. No fear of being different.
Saying that and doing it are two different things. Most companies can talk about innovation. Many companies have brainstorming sessions on what they can do different. During those sessions, they will say there are no bad ideas. Unfortunately, many of the ideas generated go nowhere. So either they were bad ideas – or there was a concern or fear associated with implementing them.
I thought it would be interesting to see what fearless looks like, and to do that, we need look no further than Jon Evans (@bigjonevans on twitter.)
Jon Evans – Fearless
Jon Evans – entrepreneur, local celebrity and fearless marketer. He is known in our city of Greenville, SC as Big Jon Evans. Some attribute that to his size – I attribute it to his ideas. Jon initially got some local notoriety by selling ad space on a scooter to offset the cost of the scooter. That went over well and within a few days had sold enough space to pay for the scooter. (More info here on the experiment.)
Jon is also working on a book for small business marketing and continually adds value to the small business community here in Greenville by experimenting with new ideas. He’s put together book clubs for small business owners and provides social media support and consulting as well. But his most recent endeavor is the most fearless yet.
Jon runs an advertising service called 4Head4Rent – and because yesterday was my birthday, I decided to splurge and contracted for Jon’s services. I bought space on Jon’s forehead for I2I.
Jon lip syncing "Take This Job and Shove It!" - Homage to all those employees who will be looking for new careers in 2011 (at least according to research.)
Short video intro to I2I with Jon
This is the 40 minute live video stream (recorded obviously - but we were live at the time!
In the local market you can’t miss Jon and that makes for a perfect place to have your advertising. Jon will rent his forehead to your company for a day. One company each day for 365 days. Yeah... he doesn’t get a day off. He’ll introduce himself all over town as your brand and will create lip sync videos, interviews with you and host a live video show where you can discuss whatever you want. This new venture was featured on local TV and the response from local businesses has been great.
As I mentioned – I did this yesterday for I2I. I’ve included the videos Jon and I put together. Other small businesses in Greenville have been using his services and you can also see their videos on Jon’s web site.
Do I think this is the future of adverting? Probably not. Do I think it is interesting and different? Absolutely. Do I think it is fearless? 100%. Will something else come from Jon being fearless? You betcha.
Let Your Fearless Out
What ideas do your employees have in the back of their minds? What fearless idea that may sound stupid, wrong, etc. that you should try once? Do you have a culture that allows for that?
How many people can be like Jon and launch an idea without fear? How many people like Jon do you wish were in your company?
So Jon – thanks for taking the time to play on my birthday and good luck and please... keep the ideas flowing and keep being fearless. You show us all what is possible.
That may be more important than showing us what is probable.