S2 E112 — Betting on the Progress of 5 Innovation Teams

But, more importantly to showcase the progress of 5 Innovation Teams paving the way to their reinvented future.  I intended to create a constructive “fish bowl” quality.  The reinvention experiment was in the center.  Those on the conversational sidelines could contribute ideas and insights teams would find valuable.

“5”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: “You can afford to be honest and direct. Some cannot do this without the requisite amount of charm. Some have too much baggage to do it without causing harm with the impact. Not you. You’re light today. Just say what you mean.” Leo

Hi and welcome to Friday’s Episode 112 in Season 2 of  “My Pandemic Year Natural Experiment” on this 11th day of September in the fall of 2020.  

“The Tau of Steves: What You Don’t Know Could Fill a Book”

Table of Contents

Season One and Two are a two-year examination of how bits of wisdom changed during the “normal” pre-pandemic and then in this unfolding pandemic year.

Previously in Season Two, the Pandemic Year

S2 E111 Against All Odds 530 is Alive!; S2 E110Keys for Reinventing a FUD-Soaked Enterprise; S2 E109Rebuilding Trust Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Related from Season One, the Normal Year

S1 E112 —  When Was the Last Time You Wrangled Your Past?; S1 E111Is There Half-life of Wisdom?; S1 E110Love, Longing, Belonging, Connection and Loss; S1 E109Do All Introverts Take the Long Acetylcholine Pathway?


This is a continuation of a “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” a work-in-progress.

In previous episodes we described Start Up, Emerging Growth, Rapid Growth, Sustained Growth, Maturity, Decline and now Reinvention stages.

Reinvention without Decline

Image Credit: Stephen G. Howard  Copyright 2020

We described mini-cases about major declines.  Now turn from our 4-part Reinvention mini-case operating from within a technology company,  Part One,  Part Two and Part Three to a different industry with similar needs, but from a consulting assignment. We profiled Part One , Two  and Three in the most recent episodes.


27. Knowledge Management — Brand Company  

A Strategy and Brand Consultancy. 

Part Four

Orchestrating delayed components in our internal campaign led to some nail biting moments.  530’s launch appealed to early adopters. We couldn’t stop with them.  Our goal included building upon their conversations by enticing more employees to hop on board. 

But, more importantly to showcase the progress of 5 Innovation Teams paving the way to their reinvented future.  I intended to create a constructive “fish bowl” quality.  The reinvention experiment was in the center. 

Those on the conversational sidelines could contribute ideas and insights teams would find valuable. 

Website Copy:

So as you can tell, you don’t have to be a lunatic to dip into the 530 conversation pool. We are these living organisms within this company. We all have stories of discovery and insight that can inspire others. These stories need to be told.  Jump in and tell us yours! 

Early Adopters:

What a Golden Opportunity for a Gal !!

“(After poking my finger around in the seed packet and then smelling them and shaking them and then comparing my seeds to others’ seeds) I put the packet of Seeds on my Computer desk at Home, next to a book called the Tao of Pooh, and another book — Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, an old brownie movie camera and some candles.  and one night, i crossed out complexia and wrote Simplifica. what DID everyone else do?” (Link to Talk Back Forum)

Innovation Moderator:


INNOVATION:  Lead the Revolution

“… For the first time in history our heritage is no longer our destiny.  Our dreams are no longer fantasies, but possibilities.  There isn’t a human being who has ever lived who wouldn’t want to be alive right now, at this moment so pregnant with promise.  Among all your forebears, among the countless generations who had no hope of progress, among all those whose spirits were betrayed by progress, you are the one who now stands on the threshold of a new age — the age of revolution.  You are blessed beyond belief.  Don’t falter.  Don’t hesitate. You were given this opportunity for a reason.  Find it.  Lead the revolution.”  — Gary Hamel in “Leading the Revolution”

Past Question: If you were given unlimited resources to create a company that would put PRERS out of business in two years, what would you do?

Early Adopters:

I’d Organize a Skunk Works, a Think Tank “If I were going to create a business to put us out of business, I would do the following. I would give customers what they want–and more. I would do it quickly. I would get rid of voice mail. I would ensure our business model guarantees that someone or some technology will be available–with an answer to virtually any question–24 hours a day, every day, and in multiple languages. I would build a system that allows customers to get information in a variety of ways–not just the traditional ways as we know them. I would ensure that every aspect of a move–whether a corporate sponsored move or a “retail” move, was designed to make the whole event easy and simple. I would ensure we had a customer contact system that not only gives us what we want when we need it, but contained information our customers need as well. I would create exit barriers so significant that it would be painful for a company to leave. I would create such value add that customers were compelled to tell their friends and family about our services that are second to none. We would create a web of alliances that addressed every need a family might have during a move, and that actually predicts what they might need. I would start by asking what customers expect, and then back into and build a new service model. 

May be crazy and far fetched, but it can be done. 

Innovation Moderator:

Current Question: What’s IMPOSSIBLE to do in our rapidly evolving industry — something so unthinkably revolutionary — that if it could be done (by someone – why not you?) the impact would FUNDAMENTALLY change the business rules?

Call it a strategic inflection point, a disruptive business model — whatever you want — what’s the innovation that will reset every competitive advantage back to zero?  (Link to “LUNATIC FRINGE)

Early Adopters:

“I’m looking forward to everyone getting ‘online’ and participating in some dynamic discussions …

“Yes, we certainly have a lot to be thankful for living in this day and age. And thanks to 530, we’ll always be connected just like all the families living on the ‘Rock'”

Website Copy:



Early Adopters:

Stay Connected, Exchange Ideas

For those of us in the field, this site will provide us a communication tool for idea exchanging, especially with those groups with whom we do not have much interaction. Hopefully, by reading how others meet client challenges, it will spur ideas and solutions for others.

Learn, Share, Grow, Have Fun Together

I believe it was Dale Carnegie that said “There’s nothing more effective and rewarding than showing a genuine interest in other people”. With that said, it’s refreshing to know: 

        1. We work with people that may be sensitive to our wants and needs, 
        2. Someone was creative enough to put this forum together, 
        3. That we can learn, share, grow and have fun together. I’m looking forward to everyone getting ‘on-line’ and participating in some dynamic discussions. This will be especially appreciated by those of us in the “field”…Thanks everyone”

Innovation Moderator:

Sticky Problems, Stories, and Window Shopping

It’s an enabler for conversations in cyberspace, where the conversation might be impossible if time or space-bounded. Here’s my challenge to you — share one of your stories. Or ask for help on one of your sticky problems. 

Don’t just window shop at 530. Leave your footprints.” (Link to TALK BACK)

Website Copy:

Added Topics



    • New Rules for the New Economy
    • First to Market
    • Setting the Trend Ourselves
    • Two Scenarios:  Predicting the Moves of Competitors
    • 3rd Scenario:  Industry Evolving into a Very Different Space
    • Fertilize Your Thinking

Innovation Moderator:

New Rules for the New Economy

Kevin Kelly writing in New Rules for the New Economy states, “The new economy has three distinguishing characteristics: It is global. It favors intangible things–ideas, information, and relationships. And it is intensely interlinked. These three attributes produce a new type of marketplace and society, one that is rooted in ubiquitous electronic networks.” 

Early Adopters:

First to Market

In so far as alliances go, we are late to the party. The best ones have been and will most likely continue to be acquired by Cendant. The new players aren’t willing to hurdle the formidable barriers to our access. You needn’t strain your brain trying to find a way to put us out of business. Let us die a natural death. Instead apply all that creative energy to the forced evolution of the next business model.

          • What are customers willing to pay for? 
          • Can we provide this product/service given what we know about the industry(s)? How much will they pay? 
          • Or, should we be prepared to seek compensation from a secondary source, i.e., free product/service to the customer. 
          • Can enough value be added to develop a product/service? 
          • What is our delivery platform? 
          • What are our costs of bringing this product/service to market? 
          • Which space will we occupy? 
          • Can we see a vertical market opportunity? How do we balance the equation of human capital vs. technological intelligence? 
          • Can we be the FIRST to market?

Early Adopters:

Setting the Trend Ourselves

Should we not be the ones to set the trend instead of trying to predict what trend someone else is going to be setting?? 

Was this not the purpose of the move to Phoenix?? 

To stay one step ahead!! 

The one thing that I do believe people often ask is “why fix what is not broken”. 

I believe in making what is not broken even better.

Early Adopters:

Two Scenarios:  Predicting the Moves of Competitors

“Our present conservative business model is too linked to the past to be differentiated and sustainable in the near future. The bricks in the tower come tumbling down every day. Let’s not be one of those who get konked on the head whilst we ponder why the old tower keeps coming apart.”

Early Adopters:

“Internal and external customers PAY FOR or USE products/services that: …allow them go home a few minutes/hours earlier each night. …make them look like heros to their management.  …flawlessly achieve what was promised after the sales hype. …have a direct bearing on their careers, profitability and peace of mind. If demand is high, supply is low and quality is assured — profits follow. The most valuable commodity I know of is Information. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Early Adopters:

“I respect the perspective with which you challenge my strategy. You are right. Somebody must “set the trend”. However, I suspect that trends result from both initiatives. The creative and bold process as well as the observation, analysis and action. Think about a game of chess. Our major competitor’s advantages to be derived from really thinking like your competitor thinks when your competitor is unable to do the same. 

 Do you suspect that our competitors regret not having predicted our initiatives in Phoenix? 

If so can you predict what they are likely to do about it?

Early Adopters:

“I know our major competitor has recently sold some small, non-core businesses in order to raise cash, and just announced an almost billion dollar purchase of the remaining shares in Number 2, but without the currency of stock to throw around, I think their ability to engage …

Early Adopters:


Any Benefits from an Integrated PRERS? 

I would like to use 530 to get the audience’s thoughts on the following…. 

In your mind, what does it mean to be the only integrated real estate and relocation company in the industry? 

What are the benefits? 

Here’s a few ideas to get you started…  Please keep adding to the list… 

Because we’re integrated… 

* we’re stronger 

* we’re collaborative 

* we have a greater control over the transaction when working with PREA affiliates 

* transferees can expect consistent, high-quality services throughout the PREA network 

* relo can work with affiliates to win new business 

* relocation clients generate qualified leads for our affiliates

Your thoughts and feedback are truly appreciated. (Link to TALKBACK FORUM)

Website Copy:


The Greenhouse Lab Getting Ideas off the White Board to Put them to the Test “The speed at which a company gets the wheel of innovation turning determines… (Link to GREENHOUSE)

Innovation Moderator:

The speed at which a company gets the wheel of innovation turning determines the amount of new wealth it creates.  Lunatics imagine new possibilities.  They design business concepts around those ideas.  Then, they launch small-scale experiments to test viability.  What works and what doesn’t.  With an experiment or two under their belts, they assess what they’ve learned.  Then it’s a decision to scale up and roll out, or to run through another experiment cycle.

Innovation Teams:

“Nobody enjoys the middle parts of any project,” says Tom, Relationship Management Team Member. “Most people like the beginnings because they’re excited about the vision for the new future.  And most people love the endings because that’s when they see the project’s end results come to life.”

Innovation Moderator:

Innovation seems straight forward when sketched out on a white board.  But putting it into practice –- that’s the rub.

Innovation Teams:

Speaking for all five innovation teams, Paton continues, “It’s always hardest during the middle of any project when the hard work needs to get done, when momentum starts to slag, when uncertainties or unknowns begin to be felt and where some of the toughest hurdles are typically encountered.”

Innovation Moderator:

But, despite working together over great geographic distances, while balancing the additional project work with their existing PRERS jobs, and experiencing turnover within the Team due to career changes and re-structuring, the Relationship Management Team’s key recommendations are now in gear for the next phase of on-going research.  

Innovation Moderator:

Relationship Management

Fred, Sr. AE for Oxy & Steve T, VP of the account, took innovation to heart when they invented a new business model to recapture a competitive advantage. 

Innovation Teams:

Craig, Relationship Management Team Leader says, “In our fiercely competitive market the perception about us was our DS business product was inferior.”  While still in the early pilot stage, the new model requires collaboration with several offices – Houston, Dallas, and 2 in LA/ Orange County — and  a variety of PREA experts to more effectively compete in the Destination Services marketplace.  They’ll be testing its viability before rolling it out universally.

Innovation Moderator:

Alliance Management

… Original team member,  heads up the RewardsPlus alliance project – one of three significant new alliance initiatives, requiring close collaboration and shared leadership among functional units and teams across migration paths, according Scott, the Alliance Management Team Leader. 

Innovation Teams:

During initial meetings with RewardsPlus, a company involved in providing an integrated benefits platform for the worksite market, it became clear that there is an opportunity to generate more leads for our affiliate network, and to add leverage to our efforts to build an alliance management competency.  


“3”  Steve Zahn, 51: “The thing about peace is that it can’t be peace all the time or it wouldn’t be peace. Peace, like all things, needs a contrast. Is this any comfort — knowing that times of disharmony help you spot peace when it comes?” Scorpio

Can I apply this TauBit of Wisdom to then, but not now?  No?  OK.  So, it’s a “3” for today and a “5” for then.  Only peace wasn’t the contrast at PRERS.  A better term would be status quo trending towards high anxiety.  But, early adopters slowly built out 530 with their contributions.  

Random ones that make me want change my sign.

“4”  Steve McQueen (1930 – 1980): “You may feel sympathetic to someone’s plight but try not to indulge the emotion of pity. When you see strength in people, you help them to see the strong parts of themselves.”   Aries

One or more early adopters felt they had a forum to air their grievances.  Without naming names, I used back channels to coach their leaders through a public and private give and take.  If nothing occurred in public, all the time we spent building trust together would be wasted.

“4”  Steve Smith, 30: “Small gestures often mean more than anyone realizes at the time. There are exchanges that occurred over a decade ago that you still think about today. Your mind is a beautiful mystery.” Gemini

How can’t this be true.  And, isn’t this draft of “Volume Two Manuscript — WorkFit” proof?

“5”  Steve Carrell, 57; Steve Martin, 74; Steve Wozniak, 69: “You can afford to be honest and direct. Some cannot do this without the requisite amount of charm. Some have too much baggage to do it without causing harm with the impact. Not you. You’re light today. Just say what you mean.” Leo

As the designated innovation moderator, if I wasn’t both direct and nurturing in my roll, how could any of the 530 community take a risk during our reinvention commitments?

What’s Going On

Literally Bottled and Set Adrift from KnowWhere Atoll 

    • @KnowLabs followers of one or more of my 35 digital magazines organically grew from 4990 to 5060.




    • Saw the movie, didn’t realize that one of my favorite authors, Michael Connelly — his detective Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch book series and Amazon Prime series — also wrote, “The Lincoln Lawyer” which I just finished. Gotta tell you I can’t not see his lead character (Mickey Haller, Bosch’s half brother) as anyone else but Matthew McConaughey. 

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by: Holiday Mathis – Creators Syndicate


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