Inspiring Entrepreneur – Richard Turere: My invention that made peace with lions

Richard Turere’s TED talk: My invention that made peace with lions is a TED talk that highlights the beauty of invention and the possibility that there may always be a solution – you just have to not give up after the first failure. I love a new invention that gracefully solves an old painful problem.


This short (under eight minutes) video of Richards wonderful light invention exemplifies a number of agile and leave principles. I love his low-fi design of the solution, his entrepreneurial spirit to not give up even though a number of failures were literally fatal for his stock.


And of course to never stop dreaming and improving because possibilities can be turned into probabilities.


The video is available from TED talks and Richard’s profile is also available at


Using Outcome Driven Innovation with Agile Practices for breakthrough Customer Satisfaction

Most companies are responding to a market disruption rather than creating one, some innovate beyond expectation. The most popular of our time is obviously Apple and it’s amazing products. Why? Common opinion will have you think Steve Jobs is the cause. Well, yes he was the driving force behind the innovation equation but that equation is not his alone, it is actually a documented process polished by Tony Ulwick, originally a Harvard Business Review article and then fleshed out in his book What Customers Want: Using Outcome Driven Innovation to create breakthrough products and services.

Outcome Driven Innovation uses a few key practices to leverage the combination for a profitible outcome:

1. study the market at present to identify underserved customer demands (opportunity to solve probelems & serve needs)

2. study what the customer does, not what they say (behavioural observation)

I specifically say ‘profitable outcome’ not ‘drive revenue’ because unfortunately most companies think just polishing the way they serve customers will drive revenues – it does initially, but not in terms of being a sustainable market differentiator. Constant innovation is required, as market is constantly changing.

For example; most companies solely focus their customer driven organisation on service models. This is awesome – always serve beyond expectation to ensure advocacy. However, at what cost is that service? Why DISSOLVE the problem all together rather than having an amazing service to manage the problem.

The perfect example is the Strategyn Bosch Case Study. In summary












Product & Service Innovation is such an important part of the new business movement and unfortunately is missed change or restructures when agile consutltants serve companies that aren’t web 2.0 businesses. Product Innovation is assumed to be part of an R&D division alone and often Systems Thinking, Lean and Agile is (rightly so) busy looking inwards at the company on how they working RATHER THAN outwards at the market to drive what’s actually worth doing. Combining this sort of Customer Driven design at each stage of the agile delivery model is what was at the core of Internode successfully being the first to market with real time NBN services qualification tool in Australia, why they are an NPS leader in the market.

We looked at what the market really wants, where they are being underserved, and delivered quickly using Scrum, XP, and iterative feature releases.

This is my presentation that helped transform the paradigm of thinking and show how user stories can get us closer to customer satisfaction.




Inspiring Entrepreneurs-Joe McCracken

Joe McKracken
Head of business development
Stanford University iTunesU Thought Leaders

“a company that has had great financial and been able to maintain strong support for helping people”

Normally the thought leaders program I includes speakers soley from the IT world and not the medical industry. That certainly doesn’t make the content of the course any less relevent – the business of healthcare and biology has many parrallels when it comes to creative innovation, start-ups, capital raising and being great leaders.

Genentech was voted the #1 place to

Genentech was first established in 1976 and two budding scientist Swanson and cowen pulled 500 bucks to incorporate their company so they could essentially do what “is now a highschool biology experiment” and before they knew it they were part of the race to be the first to make human insulin.

Sound like a couple of geeks in a garage? Absolutely! So don’t be put off the industry this is an inspiring but valueable lessons in company expansion, sustainability, culture and innovation investment.

At some points in the presentation Joe sounds like a Genentech zealot rather than a mentor speaking at Stanford but you know what; if my technology made the impact on humanity that these guys have done, I’d be preaching the love aswell!

So, listen to Joe with an open mind and keep an ear out for the gems in between he’s detailed medical explainations of the products.

Some of the key lessons I took aware from this are;
– provide long term remuneration progression plan to nurture the scientist so they don’t ‘have to move into management
– r&d is a critical component of product design; survival of the company is dependent upon it
– the profit is not competitor nor evil for delivering healthcare as it enables further research and the opportunity to provide product to those who need but can’t afford
– technology, software development are integral components …. It’s not all cool web tools

So not the normal start-up story but an incredible business story of innovation and smart economics that seperates them from the normal pharmaceutical models. Genentech doesn’t have a commercially driven business model- it’s driven by the science …. And the science is where the value is.

That’s not to say they don’t have commercial business models, they certainly do – such as priority focus on customer service to build repeat sales.

Each scientist has 20% time application to work on whatever they want- ahhhh so is that where Google copied it from!!!!

Sounds alot like the great success mentors all say – do what you r passion about, not just chase the dollar.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs – Dominic Orr

Dominc Orr: Startups – the need for speed
Stanford university: thought leadership entrepreneurs series.
President & CEO of Aruba networks.

    Dominic made a substantial career transition from science to IT where he became leader of ciscos #1 competitor – Aruba networks. (41million vs. 1billion!!)


    In this podcast he is being interviewed rather then a lecture as per normal, so the content does vary from leadership technique discussions to specific technical insights relevant to networking and security – but essentially it’s just domincs detailed Manet in explaining his opportunities.


    Dominic spent 12 years at Hewlett Packard prior to joining Arooba bringing with him the strengths of that large culture.


    The good elements of this podcast is the lessons of people management, and most importantly people inspiration. Dominic has an ‘in touch’ with humans approach to his leadership then many inspiring leaders can learn from.



    “Fundamentally all people want to make a difference…”


    Dominc also shares some strong advice on how to place your product, what is your product, and what opportunities you can look for even when the big guys dominate the market.


    Interesting learnings are included about the benefits of going from a private start-up to a publicly listed company. Dominic actually goes into detail about what you do and what you gain.


    My highlight is domincs de-mystifying of work/life balance; if you’re passionate then it’s not about creating credit for purchasing goods after.


    But surprisingly- after listening to this for the second time – I’m quite endeared to this guy, and he’s aspirational view on being a CEO and people leader.



Podcast is published by:
Stanford University and is available from iTunes U.
Length: 58.34 minutes

Inspiring Entrepreneurs – Shai Agassi

The Physics of StartUps  presented by Shai Agassi

Stanford University Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs on iTunes U.


Shai talks through he’s growth from start-ups in Isarel to being two weeks short of being able to pay staff; then recovering to sell he’s company for $110 million dollars over a year later.


This is an inspiring lecture from one of the worlds great IT leaders. Shai’s ability to be successfull sounds very much like he’s creating he’s own luck in many ways, but definately what Malcolm Gladwell would call an ‘Outlier’. Shai went to California at the right time, and he made the right moves.


One of which he calls “Mexican Driving” – when you get to the edge of the town close your eyes and drive right through.


Shai talks about he’s recent resignation and move into the Environmental movement. Again, like many inspiring entrepeneurs he talks about ‘knowing your passion’ and why that’s so important to help your ‘drive’ to keep going.


But probably the greatest time to listen to this podcast is when you think you’re about to quit. One day can make the biggest difference between success and failures…”and just like that angels turned up”.


“Entrepreneurs are optimist by nature; we will walk into a desert with half as much water as we need to cross the desert, knowing we will find more water somewhere on the path. Venture Capitalist know you are an optimist…they have water and you don’t! ”


I really enjoyed this lecture compared to some others. Shai truly is an entrepreneur who learnt how to “leverage the giants” to make his own company successful. A must listen to for inspiring entrepreneurs.


The Physics of StartUps can be found on iTunes U.