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Disruption and Differentiation Are Key Parts to Business Innovation

Speakers at AV Executive Conference say business leaders should think differently, ask better questions and ensure they tell people why they stand out.

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Disruption and Differentiation Are Key Parts to Business Innovation

Stephen Shapiro says innovation is useless if it doesn't answer the right questions.

Conventional wisdom when it comes to business innovation is the more you know, the more likely you are to be able to create something no one has ever done before.

But author Stephen Shapiro told attendees at this year’s AV Executive Conference in Key Biscayne, Fla., the exact opposite is true.

“Expertise is the enemy of business innovation,” says Shapiro. “The more you know about a topic, the harder it is to think differently about it.”

Shapiro was part of a tag-team keynote session at the fifth annual Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association [AVIXA] AVEC focused on disruption and differentiation, with ICM Partners head of digital ventures Jeff Perelman speaking on the latter.

Perelman notes there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day and 90 percent of the data that’s available today has been created in the last two years. That makes it more important than ever for company leaders to find new ways to express themselves.

“With all of this data out there, you need to figure out how you’re going to break out,” says Perelman.

“Content is king, distribution is queen and she wears the pants. It goes without saying you need good content, but you also need to know how to distribute that content.”

Shapiro noted the proliferation of technology means “we have more ways to be interrupted than ever before.”

And Perelman says it’s only getting worse, with 30 million devices expected to be in the hands of the world’s seven million people by 2020. That’s four times as many toothbrushes as the world’s people have, he says.

More Insight From the AV Executive Conference

“When there’s a change in business innovation, there’s a change in how content is created and consumed,” says Perelman.

Shapiro notes it’s critical for business leaders who want to disrupt their industries to stay focused on what’s really important: asking the right questions to solve their customers’ needs.

“If you spend your entire life solving the wrong problems, it won’t make any difference how brilliant that solution is,” he says. “We need to spend time asking better questions. We get seduced by technology, seduced by novelty, but having a solution no one wants is useless.

“What types of shifts are going to disrupt your industry? The biggest enemy of innovation isn’t ‘yeah, but …’ It’s ‘wow, this is a great idea!’ When you think something is a great idea, you’re going to focus on the information that confirms it and ignore anything that might tell you it might not be as great as you think.”