Innovation Expert Shares Predictions for “What’s Next” – Part 2

An interview with George Young, founder of Kalypso.

Innovation is a hot topic, and George Young, founding partner of Kalypso, is an expert on the subject matter. George is a particularly intriguing professional who is able to move back and forth from being a creative innovator in the music world to being a creative innovator in the corporate world.

In part one of this two-part interview, George shared his expert opinion on how companies should be exploring innovation, the four things all companies should do if they want to be great innovators, and the trends in R&D. In this second part of our conversation, George shares his expert opinion about the commonalities of innovative companies, who the upcoming innovation leaders are, and what we should all be expecting from them. And, with his musical background and knowledge of the entertainment space, what innovations can we expect to see in television?

What do the top innovative companies have in common?
The top innovative companies have the following three things in common:

1. A culture that accepts failure, which is important because if you are going to be innovative, you are going to fail a lot.
2. A culture that rewards people for risk and embraces individuals as well as teams.
3. A culture that accepts nontraditional people, because in order to have a company where design-based innovation thrives, you need interesting people.

Who are the upcoming innovative leaders that we should be observing?
There are three that top my list:

1. Google places a lot of emphasis on innovation leadership and doing your own thing. They don’t direct.
2. Costco takes a holistic approach to innovation. Their members buy everything from gas to grapefruits to glasses. They know who they are, and they don’t think of themselves as a store.
3. Elder care facilities and substance abuse facilities are learning from resort companies and running their facilities like hotels and resorts. Hospitals are looking at their services and trying to learn from service-based industries.

What advice do you have for executives who want to lead an innovative company?
Executives need to create a culture in which people can be innovative. They must celebrate big ideas and accept failure. They need to accept people who are a little different, and they must set expectations for generating ideas and leading concepts. Executives must learn to get out of the way so that people can create and understand the importance of moving rapidly and efficiently in order to bring products to market quickly.

What are we going to see in entertainment innovation, especially with television?
In the next five years, we will see more interactive television. There will be more opportunities for consumers to role-play in their favorite TV shows and movies. The audience will be able to actually be in the show with their friends in episodes.

Is there anything else you would like to share with Connect readers?
I believe that Texas, and in particular Houston, is going to become the innovation hub of the U.S. Texas is going to have the lowest cost natural resources because of cheap energy and cheap natural gas. It’s going to lead to a rebirth in manufacturing, and whenever you have that low cost advantage in materials you can then start to drive innovation up the value chain. Low cost materials drive breakthrough innovation.

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