Innovation – sound scary to you? It generally means changing how we do things and for most, change is scary! However, when you stop to think about how the coffee industry began, it was a simple goat herder and his goats, a bush, and some berries. If the herder and the monks (as the legend goes) hadn’t been interested in “innovating” the use of the cherries, our industry might not even exist today, as we know it.
To be successful we must embrace innovation! But, innovation should mean working smarter, not harder! Innovation is another method to help us find that delicate balance I discussed last month. It was darn easy writing about not working too hard and finding time for yourself and family when I was taking a month off. After being back for five weeks and trying catch up, balance has quickly flown out the window. However innovation is coming to the rescue and balance will return.
CoffeeTalk is mostly (I say with high hopes) finished with completely renovating our internal systems by implementing SalesForce CRM and Cloud Computing. You may have noticed that many of our webforms have been “under repair.” Yup, sometimes innovation hurts. And though the process seems painful while we’re going through it, and, of course we have had to invest time, energy, and money, the end is in sight and the benefits will more than make up for what we have been through in time saved, costs reduced, and improved revenues. And best of all, this innovation means less time working and more time with family and friends to keep that precious balance.
Innovation is all around us, if we only take the time to explore. This is the first column I have ever written by first speaking my thoughts into my iPhone Notes app, and then emailing them to myself as the first draft. It was amazing, not to mention free. I had the technology to do this for years, just never thought about it. If you want to be a true leader in business, you must make the time to explore innovation.
So where do you find tools to help innovate your business? Well you could start with our feature on page 10 in this issue with just a few innovations that can help your business grow and thrive. From traditional “technology” solutions like Point of Sale Systems and Gift and Loyalty Apps, to improved roasting and brewing equipment, contract roasting, and flavoring, you will find ideas here.
But don’t stop there! Remember, innovation can’t happen unless you look for new ideas. Many of the articles in this issue may spark ideas for innovations in your business. Roasters may be particularly interested in Rocky’s article that talks about Direct Trade Relationships as a way to create a competitive advantage in their markets. For Retailers and Coffee Service Operators, Mike’s Marketing Miracles article is a must read on defining and creating value. The Aroma Fingerprinting article on page 16 is a true example of innovation in technology that could change the face of our industry.
“Knowledge is Power”
Francis Bacon’s quote has proven true time and time again. Those that take the time and energy to keep informed are the leaders in business. In a study done by Bolt and Brassard (2004), the most important attributes of effective CEOs are their support of learning and knowledge:
• They have a desire to learn: They integrate learning in all that they do and try to pull knowledge from every situation.
• They have an open and curious mind: They seek out people who think differently or might provide a different perspective.
• They tolerate risk: Mistakes are important as learning tools. People need to learn from their mistakes, but must not shy away from risk for fear of making a mistake. They also understand that learning absolutely needs to occur at a faster rate than the rate of change within the organization.
• They show humility: They are willing, in fact eager, to learn from their mistakes. They do not have to ‘know it all’ and respect people who share that value.
• They walk the talk: They pay it more than lip service; they fund and dedicate resources to learning, through good times and bad.
Where am I going with this? I am trying to say, use us! CoffeeTalk Media exists to provide critical industry information and knowledge to help you and your company succeed. Digital subscriptions are free around the world for all three of our publications: CoffeeTalk Magazine, Daily Dose – links to the top news stories in the industry emailed every business day, and PowerPress – links to new products and press announcements emailed every Friday.
With all of this free access to ideas and information, why give up your competitive advantage to those that do take the time to be aware?