Tag Archives: Innovation

Top Five Brand and Innovation Tips From 2014

Research insights from the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin

Texas EnterpriseI work among brilliant people at the McCombs School of Business. For your benefit and mine, I keep my eyes open and watch for the big ideas that are most useful for brand builders and innovators. Here are five of the best tips gleaned from Texas Enterprise during 2014.

1. Don’t Tell Me About Your Brand, Engage With My Life

Febreze BottleProfessor Art Markman reminds us that communication is only one, and not the most important, factor in engaging consumers with a brand. “We are all lazy creatures,” he writes. “That means that [marketers] need to help customers to arrange their environments in ways that support the continued engagement with a product.” He points to a redesign of the Febreze container, designed to encourage consumers to leave the product out and visible rather than hidden away under the counter. Usage and sales increased.

2. Your Personal Brand is About Relationships, Not Just Connections

In a must-see presentation for professionals, especially those currently looking for a job, Rajiv Garg uses his research on social networks to show that the quality of your professional network will advance your career, not the size. While having hundreds of LinkedIn connections may reward your ego, when it comes to leveraging your network when you need it most, there is nothing that replaces trusted colleagues who know you well and are willing to vouch for your abilities. Garg offers three key suggestions for building your personal professional brand: Identify, Connect and Convert.

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Herb Kelleher’s Classic 14 Ways to Be a Leader

“You must be jazzed by problem solving, the same way that a fireman gets a buzz out of extinguishing fires.”

Herb KelleherOriginally published in McCombs Today.

Despite soaring fuel costs and a glut of domestic airline seats, Southwest Airlines reported its 32nd consecutive annual profit in 2004. At that year’s McCombs BBA commencement, Herb Kelleher, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines, delivered the keynote remarks in a lecture entitled “Fourteen Ways to Be a Leader.”

Kelleher began by proclaiming the commencement to be a splendid occasion. “Why? Because you are the kind of audience I crave; you have to listen to my thoughts, no matter how dull, how puerile, or even how depraved those thoughts might be,” he said with a grin.

The address that followed was classic Kelleher.

Ten years later, since retired from his leadership role at Southwest, Kelleher remains an astute and beloved commentator on life, business, and the principles of success. As commencement approaches for 2014, we’re pleased to present “Fourteen Ways to Be a Leader, Centennial Edition” with one modification (point No. 4), suggested by Kelleher in retrospect.

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CEO Rex Tillerson on Energy Innovation and Investment

Notes from the McCombs Alumni Network’s 8th Annual Alumni Business Conference on February 8, 2012.

Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of Exxon MobilRex Tillerson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Exxon Mobil Corporation

“If we are not careful this will become known as the Land of a Thousand Nos.”

Speech Preview Notes:

Innovation creates new opportunity. This has never been more evident than in today’s energy industry, where technological breakthroughs have led to a revolution in domestic unconventional resource development, which in turn has created thousands of new jobs, millions in government revenue and billions in economic growth. Thanks to innovation, an energy transformation is now underway in North America, the dimensions of which are still unfolding. We are breaking new ground in the safe and responsible production of oil sands, shale gas, tight oil and ultra deep water.

To sustain such innovation at the breakneck pace the world needs, the International Energy Agency estimates industry will need to invest $25 trillion by 2030. As you know, successful investment requires long-term vision and discipline as well as a secure and stable environment. For such long-term investment strategies to work, business and government must each know and fulfill their duties. The duty of government is to facilitate the safe and responsible development of energy within the context of a level playing field.

This new era of abundance has made it possible for the United States to meet our nation’s needs for energy and become something we have not been in decades – a major energy exporter. We must work together to build energy policies that strengthen markets, encourage free trade, promote the rule of law and provide a sound and stable policy environment to support the investments that enable continued innovation and improvement. If we can deepen our emerging energy consensus, we will develop the diversity of sources and security of supplies that a growing and more prosperous world needs.

Tillerson’s Remarks on Technology Innovation and Investment:

Rex Tillerson began with a remark sure to please the audience of UT school of business alums. “It’s always a pleasure to get back to the Forty Acres,” he says. “Most of the places I go aren’t this pleasant.”

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Futurist Predicts Reciprocity Will Be Biggest Innovation Opportunity in History

“The fact that I say something like this is worth noting.”

Reciprocity-Based Innovation Will Be Biggest Innovation Opportunity in History
Video Clip

“Reciprocity is the currency of the cloud,” claims Bob Johansen, distinguished fellow at The Institute for the Future. “IBM is the best example of this. They practically give away the software and then sell consulting at high margins.”

Johansen is so impressed with reciprocity he calls it Bob’s Biggest Forecast, claiming it will drive more innovation than any other opportunity in history.

“I make ten year forecasts, so I’m usually understated,” he insists with a smile. “The fact that I say something like this is worth noting.”

He points to TEDx as testament of reciprocity’s power to add value while ceding control. Organizers of the popular TED conferences “give away” the TED talk concept to independently organized events such as TEDxBoston, and in return the original TED has become more elite and higher priced.

Voluntary Sharing

“You have to ask, can I protect this product anyway?” he says, using the Microsoft Kinect rollout as an example of what he calls Involuntary Reciprocity-Based Innovation, in which third party developers adapted the technology for purposes other than the original product intent.

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Are You a Boss Who Drives Innovation, or Squashes It?

As Warren Buffett has written, it’s not until the tide goes out that you know who is swimming naked.

Make Us More Innovative by Jeffrey PhillipsThe new Texas Enterprise business and public policy news site just launched from The University of Texas at Austin, where Jeffrey Phillips, VP Marketing for OVO Innovation and author of Make Us More Innovative, recently discussed six archetypes or roles that senior executives play in fostering (or poisoning) innovation within their organizations.


The first role or archetype is the Visionary.  In this case think Richard Branson from Virgin.  He has big ideas about transforming a number of industries.  His is the public face of the company and he seems to be the motive factor in Virgin’s innovation efforts, yet he can’t possibly be an expert in so many different fields.  He has one belief — that he can bring the “Virgin” way to many different industries and force them to respond.


Brainiacs are often Visionaries but they themselves are also the source for many of the ideas that are implemented.  Steve Jobs is my archetype for the Brainiac.  He is the public face for innovation and I suspect the source for many of Apple’s ideas.  He leads a very top down driven innovation program and is active in the program as an idea generator, communicator and lead user.


There are many executives who understand that this is the best role they can play in their organizations where innovation is concerned.  Jeffrey Immelt at GE springs to mind.  He is constantly spotlighting work within the many divisions of GE that is innovative, and works hard internally to champion innovation, including providing funding for the efforts.  I don’t think Immelt is necessarily a Visionary and I’m relatively sure he’s not a Brainiac, but his efforts in Cheerleading are key to the changes and focus on innovation within GE.

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