Friday, July 31, 2015

Catching up with Rick's NatPost columns

Writing a twice-weekly column makes it harder to blog regularly. So please accept this blogpost as an invitation to check out some of my articles in the National Post over the past month.

If any one of them doesn't teach you something new about how to conduct business in the 21st century, we'll give you back your investment. Contact me for a free 10-minute coaching call.

Offer good till Aug. 31, 2015. Available in English only. Offer not available where prohibited.

Productivity and Innovation:
How transforming the bleak company lunchroom can help retain employees

Ask better questions, tell better stories to sell more
How Pizza Nova sets itself apart in a crowded market
Get closer to your customers with these ideas on how to build a successful client-focused business

Technology and personal productivity: 
Ten online business resources every entrepreneur should know 

Why innovation is the most fun you can have in business

I was delighted to book a special keynote on innovation this week with an Ontario community. Details will follow shortly.

Innovation is one of the toughest challenges for businesses today. It's an essential survival skill for most businesses , but it's also a process/frame of mind that is hard to integrate into businesses that have traditionally succeeded doing just one or two things really, really well.

Here's the blurb for my presentation on Doable Innovation to help you commit to making growth and product development part of your business's DNA.

In today’s fast-changing markets, innovation is becoming an increasingly essential tactic for survival and success. But most organizations have trouble harnessing the potential of innovation.  Businesses are generally created to fill a need and then replicate successful processes again and again – so it’s no wonder they don't understand where and how to inject regular, sustained jolts of innovation into their operations.

That’s why Rick Spence has created a simple new framework to help businesses master the challenges of innovation and new product development. A business writer and speaker who has studied Canadian entrepreneurship and innovation for 25 years, Rick thinks innovation can be part of every company’s DNA. Innovation isn’t a revolution – it’s about tweaking what you already do in order to do more of it, for more people. Innovation is based on two things we should all be doing more of: listening to customers, and giving our staffs the confidence to ask each other, “What else can we do for our customers?”

In this interactive and highly entertaining keynote, you will learn:
·       Why innovation is the key business process of the 21st century;
·       Stories and case studies from successful Ontario companies that have embraced simple, sustained innovation, including manufacturers, retailers, professional service companies and solo entrepreneurs;
·       Why you and your team members are more creative than you think;
·       Seven easy steps for taking innovation out of your backrooms and into the marketplace.

“People often think innovation is harder than it is,” says Rick. “It’s actually the most fun you can have in business. It will engage and re-energize your employees, and draw you closer to your customers. It’s win-win-win.”

Rick Spence is an entrepreneur, writer and speaker specializing in entrepreneurship and growth. He is the former editor and publisher of PROFIT magazine, and now a twice-weekly columnist for the National Post. He is the author of Secret of Success from Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Rick has taught entrepreneurship at Ryerson University and sits on the board of directors of a multinational software company. Follow him on Twitter at @RickSpence.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Shimon Peres: “Our dreams that seemed so big at the time now seem small.”

I attended an inspiring presentation in Toronto today by Shimon Peres, former prime minister and former president of Israel. A Nobel Peace Prize winner for his role in the Oslo Accord, burying the hatchet (at the time) with Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians, Peres started out as a political hawk in Israel and came to realize that peace and security could be reached only through trust and compromise.

Interviewed on stage at the Fairmont Royal York by Al Jazeera America anchor David Shuster, Peres offered his thoughts on current developments in the Middle East, his legacy, the role of the U.S., and the future of peace.

·    On the current negotiations with Iran: “I believe for the sake of our children, all of us, Iran should not become a nuclear power."

       ·    Concerning the U.S. role in the bombing of ISIL forces in Syria and Iraq, Peres was asked whether the United States should take more aggressive military action. “They spent a lot of money in Afghanistan, and it cost a lot of lives. The results are not so brilliant.” He suggested it would be better if the well-funded Arab League took on the fight against ISIS, on behalf of the United Nations.

     ·    On the source of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East: “The reason for terrorism is poverty, ignorance, and historic mistakes.  The Western powers carved up the Middle East for their own convenience.  They didn’t pay attention to the local people, so they constituted nations that were not coherent … Once the empires lost control, those countries went back to what they were in the beginning. They didn’t find a unifying role.”
       ·    On the future of political division in the Middle East: “I think the older generation is a lost generation. But millions of young Arabs feel differently. Forty million of them have cell phones. We have to help them. It is a new age, and they will be the future.”

    ·    Regarding the Palestinian/ Israel standoff: “We need two states, Palestine and Israel, living in peace, respect and cooperation.” As a model he pointed to Canada, which has survived its own language and culture divide for more than 100 years.

  “All of us want to recognize a Palestinian State.  It will be better for all of us.  It’s in our interest to find a solution.. And it may happen earlier than many people think.”

       ·    When asked what he sees as his legacy, or how he would like to be remembered, Peres said this: “The past is past. I’m not interested in it anymore. I devote all my attention to what will happen tomorrow.”

Peres now supports those who strive toward a better world: “I think we should all fall in love with dreams rather than memories.” 

He volunteered that he now recognizes a mistake he made years ago: “Our dreams that seemed so big at the time now seem small.”

(If you're pressed for time, go to the 17-minute mark).