Suddenly, the conversation had a familiar ring.
I was privileged to attend the video shoot for our upcoming NOVO Health digital event when a sense of deja vu came over me. I was watching a conversation among TitletownTech’s Craig Dickman, Fork Farms’ Steve Tyink and NOVO Health’s Curt Kubiak when a comment about established companies’ risk-averse approach to innovation fired up a long-dormant brain synapse from 2015 that suddenly seemed to perfectly illustrate the situation.
During that summer, which now seems so long ago, I spent a couple of great afternoons with Jim Feeney and his team at Wisconsin Film & Bag. The company, a small plastic film manufacturer in Shawano, was celebrating its success at achieving what many in its industry had said was impossible – an effective way to clean and recycle plastic film.
Feeney and his team got there with a lot of trial and error and risk-taking, things that larger, more-established players could not — and perhaps would not — attempt.
As he told me the tale, which included a brush with an angry laundromat owner over the use of a washing machine, he lamented that larger companies with innovation teams and large budgets were too worried about meeting quarterly results rather than solving the problem.
They just weren’t nimble enough to take it on.
Now, here was Dickman making a similar comment as he discussed the levels of innovation with a story about established companies not being flexible or quick enough to see those innovative opportunities. It’s often the entrepreneur, or the smaller company, that can bring the perspective that leads to innovation and new opportunities.
I’ve been thinking about Feeney and Wisconsin Film & Bag a lot since our video shoot at TitletownTech. While Feeney has since moved on, as I look back now, I can frame his success in a process very similar to the 5 Steps to Health Care Independence that will be a cornerstone of NOVO Health’s May 14 virtual event: thinking differently, working the process, celebrating success and then repeating.
I hope you can join us that afternoon and learn how it can work for you and your company. I look forward to seeing you then.