Author Archives: Greg Satell

Real Businesses Have Real Assets

When Enron was formed in 1985 through the merger of two natural gas pipeline companies, it became the second largest gas marketer in the America. Over the next decade the firm grew to be a dominant force in the industry and built a sophisticated trading operation that could compete with the biggest New York banks. It soon became clear that ...

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3 Social Entrepreneurs That Are Changing The World From The Bottom Up

When we think about entrepreneurs, we usually think about young technologists in co-working spaces coming up with the next big smartphone app. Yet some of the smartest innovators aren’t working with code or looking for a lucrative exit. They are working to find sustainable solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems. At the recent Falak Unreasonable Summit, I met ...

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Artificial Intelligence Needs Conversational Intelligence. Here’s Why:

Historically, building technology had been about capabilities and features. Engineers and product designers would come up with new things that they thought people wanted, figure out how to make them work and ship “new and improved” products. The result was often things that were maddeningly difficult to use. That began to change when Don Norman published his classic, The Design ...

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Start with the “Why Not?”

In Simon Sinek’s popular TED Talk, which remains one of the most viewed ever, he explains how great leaders, like Steve Jobs, the Wright Brothers and Martin Luther King Jr. succeed where many others failed because they put purpose first. “Start with why,” he says and then move on to the “what” and the “how.” That’s generally good advice. The ...

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Your Messy Desk May Be Helping You Innovate!

In 1993, advertising legend Jay Chiat announced his radical plans for the office of the future. His agency, Chiat/Day, was already a paragon of creativity — its legendary campaigns included Apple’s “1984” and “Think Different” campaigns — and its new LA office, designed by Frank Gehry was to be its monument. The space was engineered to be playful; with decorations that ...

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Anatomy Of A Breakthrough

When Jim Allison received a call from Dr. Jedd Wolchok, asking him to come to his office, he was puzzled at first. As a researcher, he rarely ventured into the clinical part of the hospital. Yet when he opened the door and saw his colleague sitting with a young woman whose emotion was clearly marked on her face, he immediately ...

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We Have Learn To Embrace Uncertainty And Confusion

One of the most often told stories about innovation is that of Alexander Fleming and his discovery of penicillin. Returning after a summer holiday in 1928, the solitary Scottish scientist noticed that a strange mold had contaminated the bacteria cultures he was growing. That single observation would change the world. At least, that’s how the story is usually told. What ...

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If You’re Looking To Make A True Breakthrough, Start With The Monkey First

At Google’s X division, the company’s “moonshot factory,” the mantra is “#MonkeyFirst.” The idea is that if you want to get a monkey to recite Shakespeare on a pedestal, you’d better start by training the monkey, not building the pedestal, because training the monkey is the hard part. Anyone can build a pedestal. The problem is that most people start ...

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