Ann Mei Chang is author of “LEAN IMPACT: How to Innovate for Radically Greater Social Good.” She was a technology executive with more than 20 years of experience at Google, Apple, and Intuit, as well as a range of startups before she pivoted her career into the private, social and non-profit sectors. She now works with companies around the world to help streamline growth and innovation.
Innovation is necessary for any company to grow. Ann helps non-profits and more risk-adverse companies properly take risks to improve their process. From global development to technology companies – there is a lot of uncertainty to combat against, grants to be filled as well as shareholders to appease. When tackling big issues investors and the public want to see tangible results quickly. Ann shows a balance between thinking big, keeping an eye out for what can be done better and keeping track of ever changing demand. Audacious goals are important, but you also need a process and plan of what is going to get you to that audacious goal.
Innovation is not only about creating the latest new thing, but rather taking something that is already created and making it better. Google wasn’t the first search engine, but they made it better. Facebook wasn’t the first social network, but they improved on it and made the experience better. Ann gives the example of a 700 year old invention – eyeglasses. With how long eyeglasses have been around, there is still about 2.5 billion people without access to them. Vision Spring is a non-profit that was created to reach these people without access. Vision Spring’s initial business plan wasn’t reaching as many people as planned and money was running out quickly. With continuously being open to making pivots in their business model, they continue to grow and reach larger and larger amounts of people. It is all about adaptability and innovation within whatever company your are at – non-profit to big technology.
In this episode of Trend Following Radio:
- Political grandstanding
- Process vs. outcome
- Understanding your base customer
- Projecting bias
- Non-profit work