Building teams to solve global social issues. Co-Founder Transfernation | Co-Founder Esusu | LinkedIn Strategy & Ops | Writer & Public Speaker
Truly being innovative is very difficult and presents most people or companies with a series of challenges. In mind the biggest is maintaining it.
Innovation means always being uncomfortable and constantly disrupting yourself. I see a lot of startups or entrepreneurial people who WERE innovative and used it to create a company or rise up the ranks but then became comfortable with the thing they did get there. Eventually others catch up and they are no longer innovative or disruptive despite thinking they are. Innovation is a mindset that's easy to lose when comfortable or successful so pushing people to thrive on that edge of discomfort is critical
Secondly innovation is all relative so you need to make sure that the peer set you are surrounded by is pushing it to the limits. If you are surrounded by people comfortable with the status quo then very incremental changes will seem much more drastic or impactful as they are in reality. It's important to create the right contexts and in this case use social pressure to be 'more innovative' as something that pushes (without taking this to the extreme).
Happy to discuss innovation or building the write innovation culture more in depth. There's a lot of other components like how incentives are set up etc.
Like some of the other responses on this thread, I do not think competition is a bad. Lets put it this way: Every good idea has already been thought of by someone somewhere. The difference between most people and an entrepreneur is taking the most difficult step, which is to move from idea to actually putting in to place. After that all it comes down to is execution and that is what you need to optimize for. Investors will care about what makes you think you can do this better than everyone else out there. What is it about you, your team, your demographic, your product, your strategy that is superior. It's about how you frame your Go to market. Since you're interested in moving forward with your company despite the competition I'm guessing you see some advantages to your approach and it's just making sure you illustrate those AND in some cases double-down on those.
The other piece of this is 'second mover' advantage. So using the Uber / Lyft example. Uber is the bigger player so they get the brunt of the regulatory focus, scandals, etc. Lyft has the benefit of seeing where Uber has run into trouble or made a mistake and ensure they avoid doing the same thing. You can actually use this to frame your pitch to investors. For instance one of Lyft's focus points has been building a strong government relations team. They can then go to investors and say we want to do car-sharing but from the perspective of partnering with the existing rather than 'breaking it down' which is the uber approach.
In terms of collecting competitive intelligence:
1. do your due diligence. look at every piece of content you can find on them. Use their products if they have any
2. see if you can connect with someone there to learn more - be transparent, the fear of someone stealing your idea is overblown
3. Talk to people who used to work there. You don't need to ask for proprietary info but even just understanding their experience will tell you a lot about the company. For instance talking to uber employees who left 2 years ago would probably be good writing on the wall for where they are today.
4. Industry experts. They'll know what's working in the space and what needs more attention.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you need further clarity or want to chat. Happy to walk through in depth.
High-caliber professionals receive endless requests for their time through boards, meeting groups, talks, conferences, and the individual requests from colleagues/friends. So what makes your request stand out? There are two key ways in which to approach this:
1. Identify the people who find your organizations cause/mission incredibly compelling. For instance if you are working in food insecurity focus on people with a passion for food, sustainability, or both. An ideal example would be an executive at KIND, Aramark, Terracycles. This takes a lot of in-depth research, the more specific you can be in how your organization aligns with their interests and goals the more likely they are to join. Furthermore this is not a cold email ask
Before I list a procedure - here is the second focus.
2. Ensure that you are able to clearly define what distinguishes your organizations from others in the space and how their experience will be relevant but will also push/challenge them since they are charting new territory.
1. identify the appropiate individuals 2. understand how to position the ask 3. find a mutual connection for an introduction 4. connect with potential board member in person and build a personal connection 5. continue to correspond with them and essentially showcase what makes your business/organization unique 6. Make the ask
- Clearly this isn't a 1 day or week process so be prepared to spend more time in direct correlation with how high caliber members you are looking to recruit
My background: Over the past few years I co-founded a non-profit which uses tech to rescue ensure extra food from events goes to supporting communities in need. I then transitioned to a chairman of the board role and recruited a strong advisor board. At LinkedIn i spent a significant amount of time helping non-profits fill executive level roles by curating and screening candidates. Additionally we worked to help organizations fill board seats.
Happy to set up a follow up call to dive into specific tactics and further explain the process, workshop your org.