August 30th, 2022, represents a landmark milestone for The Innovation Garage. Ten years in business. Ten years since stepping out into the unknown and starting something.
In contemplating what to write about for the tenth anniversary, this article is written with a specific intent—sharing what we are learning and answering some FAQs about the journey. Many attendees have been asking these questions in client sessions, large groups, and individual discussions. One of the best ways to provide the answers is to write about them.
As a long-form reflection, this article also represents a celebration of effort. We share outcomes of the elements in our ideal design and what we continue to learn each day.
Shared later in this article series, you will find a top-ten list that is pressure tested in the real world, even after ten years in business. The Innovation Garage assembled this “top 10” learning list based on thousands of conversations—and hundreds of cups of coffee. Advice from close, trusted colleagues you might not know. As well as wise sages and influencers that you may have heard of at some point. In capturing this insight here, it might be that you have heard it all before. We are hopeful you will pick up some new context and insights that will be helpful.
We share these learnings, backstories, and what we consider as True North Principles. When designing your ideal adventure, use the lessons learned as pin drops to your roadmap of very own Hero’s Journey. Consider this a helpful traveler’s guide for your own experience. If you are looking for encouragement in finally taking that “big leap of Faith” for yourself, use these learnings as fuel.
As we now pass this ten-year “valley of death,” it is valuable to look back for a bit. With a business model understood yet continuously evolving, it’s an excellent time to reflect and capture the immense learnings and experiences from the last ten years.
What elements are critical in designing a business for the long haul?
Playing the long game regarding a time horizon is essential too. What might the next twenty or twenty-five years look like if I do this?
If you spend any time listening to the so-called “business gurus,” they will tell you that there are just a few valleys of death in business—the one-year, two-year, and five-year mark. The statistics say that most companies will fail after three years. 50% of businesses fail after five years, and 66% yield after ten years. The average survival rate of firms with a decade or more of business under their belts is 34.4%. So, maybe about three in ten chances of surviving beyond that. Many statistics indicate that only 25% of enterprises will last for 15 years or more.
So, why on earth would you risk starting something that, in the long run, only one in four businesses (just 25%) will ever see or experience?
You start because you want to see what will happen if you take the leap. The real payback is much more about the experiences you are having and are grateful to have. The reality is that there are multiple valleys of death. It’s your job to do your best, move through the ups and downs, and keep pressing forward. There are many ways the storms can come. It is incumbent on you to be in a position to be overly surprised by what may come.
Three design elements we try to anchor to each day help us do just that. Specifically, in our design, we have three parts:
Faith, Learning, and Gratitude. Each is an integral component of our ideal design.
This article focuses on the importance of gratitude.
Why is Gratitude important?
The final part of what is essential in our design is Gratitude—making sure to practice Gratitude every day. You can only connect the dots of your efforts by looking backward, not forward. Gratitude comes into the design by being thankful for whom you meet and what you learn.
There are hundreds of people and just as many experiences we are grateful for having. These include early mentors, managers, passionate advocates, and close family members. A group of people that, even to this day, continue to offer encouragement to keep moving forward.
On the business side, executive leaders provide essential support and meaningful introductions to others to help the business grow. Colleagues, now in leadership positions remember past work experiences. Client leaders pull us into current situations with their new teams to deliver value. Relationships and contacts advocate and support, even when we are not in the room for the conversation. And as well, a multitude of trusted advisors offering encouraging words or helping illuminate a necessary pivot we couldn’t quite see. There is a tremendous amount of Gratitude for those that have provided support and opportunities to collaborate.
When you start something, ensure you include Gratitude in your ideal design.
Most creatives like musicians, entertainers, designers, educators, and yes, consultants, are, in their way, striving to design and provide a great user experience. And by participating in the experience, the designer is hopeful that the user truly learns and gains a meaningful outcome. We strive to do the same each day.
Our mission is to Make Things, Make Things Better, and Teach Others.® We will keep on this path of Faith, Learning, and Gratitude and see where it will take us.
And, as Tom Petty encourages, keep running down a dream.
At The Innovation Garage®
We help organizations grow. Providing education, tools, technology, and expert consulting in change management for strategy, innovation, and supply chain. Guiding leaders from startups to the Global Fortune 500 to intentionally self-disrupt their offerings and organizations. Delivering world-class education, tools, and technology on how to craft business operating systems focused on long-term profitable growth.
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