Unlocking Our Innovation Potential With Ben Bensaou

Hello, welcome to another episode of Unlocked. I'm Scott. Today, we're going to talk about unlocking your innovation potential with a special guest named Ben Bensaou, who is the former Dean and a Professor at INSEAD. He also just published a book called Built to Innovate. So he's a special guest that we're going to have talking about this special topic, because he knows a lot about it. He's been training corporations. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Business School, a research fellow at Wharton School of Management, and a visiting scholar at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. He has been in the education space a lot. He has consulted with many companies across the globe about this idea of innovation. So if anybody knows about it, he does.

Now, we're going to talk about a lot of different things that he is very fired up about. I got fired up about it because we start off almost this conversation talking about the difference. He has a very interesting outlook on the idea, or I guess, a perspective on the idea of innovate, the word innovate versus innovation. Did you know that there's a difference? Well, to him there is, and it makes a lot of sense. So we're going to talk about that in this interview.

We're going to talk about some examples, I guess, some examples of companies that are innovating and that aren't the Apples and Googles and Amazons of the world. They're very companies that you don't necessarily think of as "innovative" companies. So we're going to talk about that as well. Pay attention. Stay tuned. This is going to be really fun. He stayed up extra late for us to do this interview. So I'm really grateful for Ben for doing that. Here we go.

Ben, welcome to the show. It's so good to have you. 

Ben Bensaou:

I understand it's good morning for both of us. 

SKOT WALDRON:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was like, okay. Yeah, it's morning here. And when got on the phone, I was just like, "Oh man, well, thanks for staying up late." You're like, "Well actually, it's early morning for me because it's just past midnight." So I appreciate you staying up late for us. 

BEN BENSAOU:

No, no, no. This is great. Thank you for having me.

SkoT WALDRON:

Hey, no problem. No problem. You're actually normally based in France. So you're my first French guest. Congratulations for that. And yeah, there you go. And I've been really excited about this conversation. You just released a new book as we can see in the background there, Built To Innovate.

BEN BENSAOU:

I did, yes. 

SKOT WALDRON:

And I feel like I'm just going to come out and say it. 

BEN BENSAOU:

Sure, sure. Go ahead.

SKOT WALDRON:

I use the word innovate to kind of poke fun at corporate jargon speak about companies that create mission statements and vision statements, all about innovation or customer service or whatever it is. So you have put that in your title, Built To Innovate. I almost consider you the almost innovation guru who is breaking the mold of typical innovation.

BEN BENSAOU:

Thank you. 

SKOT WALDRON:

That's how I look at what you're doing. And I want you to preface this conversation by telling us about the book. Tell us about the background. How'd you even come up with this? Why are you even writing this type of book?

BEN BENSAOU:

Well, as a professor at INSEAD, I've been teaching innovation for about 20 years, I would say now. And I've been helping as a coach, as a trainer. I've been helping organizations around the world develop their innovation capabilities. And what I've discovered over the years is that even though everybody would agree that innovation is everybody's job and that innovation can happen anywhere in the company, still people equate innovation with launching a new product, or they think that innovation is about coming up with a disrupting business model.

I also meet a lot of people who think that you need to have a genius leader or to be a startup to innovate. That's not true. In the work I've done over the years, I found established even centuries old companies able to innovate. How? Well, they don't necessarily kind of look for the industry changing effects, but for small and important changes very often in expected places. And what they use is continuous innovation, innovation of all kinds and driven by everyone in the organization. And that's really what I've been doing.

And I've seen companies completely transform from being your ordinary traditional company. I feature companies in the cement business, in paint business, in tire business who've become very good at innovation. They've become ... transformed themselves completely. And that's what the book is about. It's about documenting these companies and actually explaining the framework and some of the tools that they've been using.

SKOT WALDRON:

So are you telling me that I don't have to be Apple, Google, Amazon, the coolest startup around the corner to be innovative?

BEN BENSAOU:

Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that there's been a narrative or a culture that has actually focused on innovation coming from the top leaders or innovation coming from R&D. As a matter of fact, a lot of the companies I feature demonstrate that, I mean, number one, everybody can innovate. And that's what they've been able to do, is to give permission and allow everybody to innovate. You can. I mean, when I say everybody, I mean, even I've seen great ideas come from a receptionist or from somebody at the call center. You can innovate in everything you do. Not only in your products and your services, but also in your internal processes, your functions. And most importantly, you can make innovation or I like to call it innovating a habit, a habit for everybody.

As a matter of fact, you see, you started with the language conversation. And I actually, I have a little bit of a distinction that I make between the word innovation as a noun in English and the verb to innovate or innovating. And then you mentioned that my book is about built to innovate. It's not about innovation. It's a book about built to innovate. And I make this distinction very clearly in the book.

SKOT WALDRON:

So you can't leave me hanging there, Ben. 

BEN BENSAOU:

Yeah, of course.

SKOT WALDRON:

You can't leave me hanging, man. Like, I've just ... Now you got me. You hooked me. 

BEN BENSAOU:

Okay, all right.

SKOT WALDRON:

So can you give a little glimpse? What's the difference?

BEN BENSAOU:

Okay. Again, I'm not trying to change the vocabulary, but I'm just trying to kind of explain what is the distinction in people's mind. First, how it came about to me is that every time I walked into a group trying to teach them about innovation, I felt that the word innovation, especially if you start to qualify it as disruptive innovation, digital disruption, digital innovation, I mean at INSEAD, I have a colleague of mine who developed something called blue ocean strategy. It is very intimidating. There's a high level of stress and anxiety in the room when I'm trying to teach innovation. But just by serendipity, once I started to use, instead of saying, "We're going to learn about innovation," I said, "We're going to learn about how to innovate." And then it was completely different because people understood immediately that when you talk about innovation, what you're really thinking about is the output, is the outcome.

And I ask people, "Give me an example of innovation." They will all say iPod, iPhone. They will always refer to an output, an outcome, a result. But if you say, "Let's try to innovate," people understand that this is a process. This is about actions, activities, activities that you can learn, behavior, attitudes that you can incentivize people in. So for me, the book is about built to innovate. It's about the process.

Another metaphor actually, Scott, if you allow me. I like to use the iceberg metaphor. And for me, innovation as a noun, the output is the tip of the iceberg, is the result that we see, is the iPhone, the service, the ATM, but what we don't see under the water is the innovating capabilities. This is what the book is about, is how do you develop those collective innovating capabilities that will give you some innovation as a noun.

In a sense, I mean, I'm not going to tell people to change the language they use, but just to recognize that the word innovation implies very often a different kind of stress in people's mind. And very often people associate innovators with talent, somebody who has a talent, somebody who is a genius, something that you are born with. But if you say, "Let's try to innovate," this is something you can train people in.

So I'm totally, to respond to your question, you don't need to be Apple to innovate. And as a matter of fact, I don't want to push the analogy too far, but I would say that some people are almost complaining that Apple has lost it ever since Steve Jobs has gone. And maybe people think that it's going to happen also to Amazon that now that Jeff Bezos is gone. But I would argue differently. I would argue that these companies and that these new leadership have built formidable, innovating engines, even though they haven't come up with blockbusters, even though they haven't kind of disrupted the industries again, but they are very innovative companies nevertheless.

SKOT WALDRON:

So it's not Steve Jobs that made Apple Apple, right? I mean, Steve Jobs was that leader that set the culture and the tone, I believe. But he had to find the right people to carry out his vision. He had to find the right people that could bring to light the right ideas to shape what was in his soul in order to create that iPhone or that iPod, or iTunes, or whatever it was that was groundbreaking, that innovation thing that we get the output.

BEN BENSAOU:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, I have different ways to answer this question. I mean, one is to make sure that, I want your audience to understand that, if you have a genius in the company, if you have a genius leader, if you have genius people in the R&D department, please, please take good care of them. Make sure they feel happy. They feel ...

No, I'm not saying that you don't need the genius leaders, I mean, the Steve Jobs and these guys. What I'm saying is that if you don't have those, or if they're not there, you can actually generate a lot of innovation in spite of the fact that you don't have a genius leader, or in addition to the genius leaders you have. Because again, I'm saying a lot of people, a lot of organizations miss the ability to capture the innovating capability of the whole organization, of everybody in the organization. And also, by defining innovation so narrowly around a product, especially if you say it has to be a blockbuster product, you miss a lot of innovation in a lot of places in the organization, in your HR department. There's innovation in your legal department. There can be innovation in your processes.

And I think that's where the language kind of creates this view that innovation is only about Steve Jobs and Apple, iPhone. And that's kind of the narrative I want to kind of complement. Not ask people either you go with a genius leader or not. I'm saying they can be complementary.

A lot of the companies that I feature in the book are traditional as I said, very traditional corporations that have been around for many, many years. Of course, when they started, they were very often created by a founder who was a genius. I mean, they were like a startup. So they were a small organization where a lot of people were always engaged with customers. But as soon as you start to grow and build naturally, because you have to execute, you have to build layers of hierarchy, you have to build control systems. Then a lot of people get separated from the front. They don't have the direct contact with the customer. And innovation very often comes from customers and non-customers, as I explain in the book.

SKOT WALDRON:

Okay. Very good. Very good. I really ... That was a great discussion. I love that, innovation versus innovate. That's reshaping the way I think about it. So thank you for that insight. That's really, really cool.

Do you have an example? So you've talked about examples in the book. Do you have a key example from the book that you could share? Just a glimpse, just a quick synopsis of that.

BEN BENSAOU:

Again, I told you I have quite a few examples, I mean, quite many examples actually featured in the book. I have, of course, you cannot avoid talking about the geniuses. I talk about Netflix. I talk about gore. I talk about the usual suspects of innovation, because of course there's a lot to learn from these people. But I have also a lot of companies that are in industries, in sectors that you don't necessarily associate with innovation. I mean, maybe if I were to pick one, I could talk about Bayer. I mean, you lived near Germany, so you may be familiar with it. This is the global pharmacology and life science company based in Germany.

I'm sure everybody in your audience is aware that Bayer has a long history of scientific achievements and breakthrough products through their R&D. And yet in 2014, they decided to create what I call an innovating engine to be able to leverage the capability of the hundred thousand people working in the company. Now, how did they do this? First, they made the whole board responsible for innovation. Okay? The whole board. They started with the top. Whole board responsible for innovation.

Then they selected 80 senior managers across all country groups and global functions to support the board as innovation ambassadors. And then these innovation ambassadors would spend most of their time with middle managers, explaining to them, advocating, sponsoring, training them in innovation. And then they did something really interesting for these middle managers. They created a formidable support structure. They, I think between 2016 and 2020, they trained a thousand, a thousand innovation coaches activated locally across the company. And then for the frontline people, they created something called We Solve.

Now, Scott, this is a digital platform where any employee, wherever you are, whatever your title, your position, any employee can post information about the problem they're struggling with and invite input or ideas from anybody across the company. So this is a really interesting thing I've seen. They let me peek into the platform once. At any given time, they have about 200 challenges posted. So the challenges could be like a frontline worker in Spain trying to help farmers to regulate the pesticide in their farm. Or I seen somebody from India who was looking for suggestions for a brand name for a new product. So 40,000 people have participated on the platform. And the platform, by the way, Scott, the platform is in English, and only 50,000 people in the company speak English.

This is a fantastic participation rate. But the statistics that really blew me to tell you the truth is when they showed me that two thirds of the best ideas that are proposed for these challenges, two thirds of the best ideas come from a department or a unit or a function different from the one where the challenge originated.

So, again, I wanted to kind of give you this example, because it's a good example of how to systematically, in a very systematic manner, build an engine, it's really an engine, a structure with tasks and roles and processes where they're enlisting and unlocking, as you would say, the innovating capability of everyone in the company.

SKOT WALDRON:

That is awesome. I love that two thirds data of the problem coming from a different department, a different area of the company. 

BEN BENSAOU:

Absolutely.

SKOT WALDRON:

We are so siloed inside of corporations. Right? 

BEN BENSAOU:

Yes, yes, yes.

SKOT WALDRON:

We are. We stay. Marketing stays in marketing. Customer service stays in customer service. Sales stays in sales. 

BEN BENSAOU:

Absolutely. 

SKOT WALDRON:

Right?

BEN BENSAOU:

Absolutely. 

SKOT WALDRON:

And it's only the executives that generally get together and talk. But then when you get down to the lower levels, which is your argument that those middle managers are the engine behind our ability to innovate inside of corporations. Is that correct? 

BEN BENSAOU:

Yes. And now I'm starting to call them the ... I'm starting to kind of quote them as middle managers, the forgotten, or the unsung heroes of innovation. And I've seen them across all the companies I've seen how important they've been. I mean, innovation, I mean, they're pivotal to innovation. Let's put it this way. Without them, innovation would not happen. And I've seen that across all the organizations.

It's very easy to understand as a matter of fact, because senior leaders, as you were saying, they are the ones who are confronting the very uncertain and volatile, especially these days, competitive environment. The frontline, at the same time, they on a daily basis, they're dealing with customers and non-customers and their pain points and dislike. So for them, innovation makes total sense. But it's the middle managers who are kind of in the middle. They are kind of shielded away from this pressure from the outside. And on top of it, they are made responsible of the execution. They are the ones who are responsible of what I call the execution engine. And they're not trained in innovation. They're not incentivized around innovation.

So many ... I mean, most of the companies that I feature in the book, they are actually paying special attention to middle managers. Very often they are the ones that get trained in a first wave, they are the one who get a lot of attention from senior management. Some of them get to incentivize middle managers on, like for instance, let me tell you about Allianz, the finances services insurance company, again. Allianz UK on a regular basis, they publish an innovation league table of all their units in the UK. And they kind of rank them by innovation.

So you can imagine middle managers. No middle manager wants to be at the bottom of that league. And here, it is interesting. The incentive is not put on the frontline guy who is innovating. I mean, if you do that, you kill innovation, right? You put the motivation or the incentive on the middle manager who has to create an atmosphere where his or her team has to innovate, because they're not the one who are going to be innovating, is their team. And actually, again, I was telling you how much I'm enjoying these conversations. I came up with a model for this. I say to middle managers, give permission to innovate and make other people jealous.

And it's kind of a little bit of a ... I don't want to call it a job, but it's like in French, we say [French 00:24:01]. It's a ... I don't know what is the English word, but you know the usual quote that people tell frontline people? Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness. 

SKOT WALDRON:

Ask for forgiveness, yeah. 

BEN BENSAOU:

And when you think about it, if people are given permission, why should they ask for forgiveness? Why should you be asking for forgiveness to innovate if it is part of your job, if it is something that is legitimized? So this is what I'm advocating for, is that organizations, innovative organizations operate with two engines. One is the execution engine where you're executing today's strategy. And the other one is innovating engine. And traditionally the innovating engine was really the senior leaders and the R&D department.

But what I'm saying is that you can create a formal structure and processes and a culture for this protected space. It's a protected space, totally legitimate space, where everybody can innovate. And you have to make sure that everybody spends time.

I was telling you. Even a frontline worker on the plant, the head of legal department have to spend some time in this innovating space. Again, I offer some tools and some simple techniques that people can use to even spend 30 minutes on a regular basis in the innovating space. What is important is consistency and to create a habit around it. And then you improve the innovating engine of your company.

SKOT WALDRON:

I love your brain, Ben. Your brain is awesome. 

BEN BENSAOU:

Thank you. 

SKOT WALDRON:

I want to bring this up though. I mean, I could read books. I can do all kinds of things to learn about innovating inside more organization. But what makes your strategies different from everything else I can read out there? Why you Ben?

BEN BENSAOU:

Well, I would say at least what I'm trying to do with this book is to tell people, well, stop thinking that innovation has to come from senior leaders or from the R&D department. Innovation is everybody's job. Everybody has a contribution to make to innovation. And I've seen many companies that have used some of the tools and techniques that I developed. I developed a seven-step methodology to allow everyone to innovate, to allow teams to innovate. And I've seen these companies create this innovating space where they give permission to people. Middle managers are central. And as I was saying, frontline people learn how to listen. I like to say they learn to listen to the silence of the customer. They learn how to listen to the voice of the customer, the silence of the customer. And they learn to listen to ... to learn from the non-customers. And I think this is where I try to offer a process methodology to do that.

And the last thing I would say is that, as I mentioned all along our conversation, I'm not looking only at your famous companies on innovation. I'm featuring companies that have transformed themself in powerhouses of innovation, in the cement business, in the paint business, in the tire business. So this is really a book for everybody who wants to build an innovating engine in their traditional business, traditional company.

SKOT WALDRON:

How important is culture within an organization when we're talking about that permission to innovate?

BEN BENSAOU:

Yes. 

SKOT WALDRON:

I mean, how pivotal is culture? And if it is important, if it's not important, why? Like what's the context?

BEN BENSAOU:

It is the core. I mean, this is a very good question. This is the core. And for me, I mean, again, culture is everybody's responsibility. I mean, I'm not going to go back to what the senior leaders can do. But the middle managers are central again here. And maybe, to help kind of give an example, this is something that I use a lot in my teaching now. This is something I learned as a matter of fact, in Japan, where I am now.

A number of years ago, I worked with a company, and one of the managers I had worked with showed me how he completely transformed the culture of his team. And he did this very simply by using the word thank you and asking only two questions in a systematic manner.

So here's what happened. I'm sure your audience will understand that when people are operating in what I call the execution engine, they're executing their job, they know that their boss, because the task is structured, it's observable. There are even KPIs. They know that their boss can know if they're performing correctly the task or not. Would you agree with that when you are in execution?

However, when you move into the innovating space, this is not observable anymore. You cannot know if somebody has an idea or not. I mean people, as I said, innovation is very intimidating. They don't know. They have fear of being ridiculed. They don't know. So they play it safe. A lot of people have great ideas that they will never tell their boss. They would never tell the team. What this guy understood is that when somebody came to see him with an idea, he understood that the person was giving him a big gift, because the person was taking a risk.

When somebody comes to the boss and says, "I have a great idea," the person is taking a risk. And if you receive a gift, what do you say? You say, "Thank you." And he started to every time somebody came to see him with a good or bad idea, he would start by saying, "Thank you so much for coming to me with your idea." As a matter of fact, it just happened that he got flooded with ideas, and he realized that people were not disciplined to even think correctly about their ideas. So instead of bombarding them with the framework that I had taught him, what he did, he said, "Instead of showing them the framework, I just ask two questions on a systematic manner." "Boss, I have a new idea." "Oh, thank you, Scott. I love it. I love it. Thank you for coming to me with the idea. Scott, can you help me with your idea? Can you tell me, if you can, why would the customer like this idea? Why would customers like it?"

And by the way, in my book, customers can be internal or external. And maybe Scott would say maybe, "Boss, I don't know. Ben, I don't know." So I would say, "Well, then just go and ask a customer." And then he would come back and then I would ask the second question, always unassumingly, just kind of thinking, looking in the air and saying, "Oh, but Scott, yeah, I understand why the customer would like this idea. Now, what would be the value for us? Why should we do this?" 

And you see, just by asking these two questions, he's changing the culture. Not only with a thank you by telling people, "I want your ideas. Bring them to me," but think about the customer first. And then, once you understand that the customer is going to like this idea, how can we make money out of it? What would be the benefit for us?

And it was really interesting because he told me it took maybe a few months. And then he started to discover that people would come to see him and say, "Boss, I have a great idea. And the customer would like it because of this. And this is ... " So he just changed the culture where people were really thinking customer-first, company, and then it became a habit. It became part of the language. I mean, this is part of the language in the company. And that is culture for me. See, this is culture.

SKOT WALDRON:

That is 100% culture. And that leader is being completely intentional about liberating his people, and having them feel. That's creating a culture of empowerment and opportunity where they can come, bring ideas, and feel like they're not being stifled, but feel like they're open to share. And there's a couple principles that I coach individuals on all the time. And one of the things there is how do we move from critique to curiosity?

For a lot of leaders who are short on time, they don't have time to ask questions. They're going to hear an idea and they're going to say ... They're going to poke holes in it. Right? Holes, holes, holes. "This won't work because of this, this won't work because of this. We've tried that before. That's not going to work. That's not going to work." And so they're going to tear it apart, right? 

BEN BENSAOU:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

SKOT WALDRON:

And then that person's going to feel shut down. 

BEN BENSAOU:

Absolutely. 

SKOT WALDRON:

They're going to feel like, "Well. Okay. Well, I guess I'm not going to share my ideas anymore." Right?

BEN BENSAOU:

Absolutely.

SKOT WALDRON:

And they don't feel like they're in a safe space. So by that leader, moving from critique to curiosity, even if they don't think it's a good idea, saying, "Huh. I wonder if I could learn something from this? Why would our customer like it? How are we going to ... " So all that.

BEN BENSAOU:

Yes. And by the way, Scott, actually, I just happened to ... I'm going to be meeting him in two weeks actually here in Tokyo. I mean, not in Tokyo, I mean Kobe. But what you said, what is important also is that if somebody has to poke holes to the idea, it's better that they do it themselves. That's why he tells them, "Go to see the customer." If they come back and say, "Oh, actually I thought it was a great idea, but the customer ... " or, "It's going to be very difficult to get people convinced of my idea internally, or nobody's going to support ..." They poke the holes themselves. He doesn't do it to them. So he trusts them. He trusts them. I think trust is the most empowering thing in the company, I think.

SKOT WALDRON:

I love it. I love it. That's such a great example. Empowering our people to make the decisions, to have the permission to innovate. I mean, all that is brilliant. And you are ... I'm right in line with you in the sense that those middle managers are essential to creating that culture where that is okay. Right?

BEN BENSAOU:

Right.

SKOT WALDRON:

So the leaders at the top are going to say, "Hey, we want to create a culture where everybody's free to bring their ideas." But when it really comes down to creating that culture, it's those sub-leaders that are going to either foster that or kill it, you know?

BEN BENSAOU:

Right, right.

SKOT WALDRON:

And that is why I believe from a leadership standpoint, that is so essential to being able to-

BEN BENSAOU:

And you can't leave them in the cold as well. You have to support them. Because the same can happen to middle managers. Senior people say, "Oh, we believe in innovation." But if you don't give them a support structure, because an individual or a team comes to them and say, "We have this great idea. We want to work on it." And the middle manager first, even if he or she is trained, doesn't have the time to spend with them. So you need to be able to say, "Okay, listen, in the department we have this local coach. Why don't you work with the local coach?" The middle managers, they are what I call the essential piece in the process I called integration. They're the ones who connect the dots. They connect the teams, the ideas, the people. And they are the ones who push the ideas to the process because you cannot expect the middle managers to do the innovation themselves. But to enable it, to make it possible for other people to do it.

I mean, just by creating some space, some time, giving. If people want to volunteer for teaching ... I mean, the training in innovation, send them for that. If another team needs somebody from HR for their cross-disciplinary project team, send your people. I mean, it doesn't have to be a huge investment from the middle manager him or herself as a person, but there's an infrastructure. If you don't have that infrastructure, they will soon kind of give up.

SKOT WALDRON:

You're right. And that's a great thought. I want to make sure that our listeners, as they know, I'm a big fan of unlocking the potential in our people. And this is just another way to do that. And being able to unlock that ability to innovate is going to be so crucial for our organizations moving forward.

BEN BENSAOU:

I mean, I cannot agree more. And I would almost say that people go to their job. I mean, the usual thing, you go to your job to execute your job, and you have a whole part of your brain, of your emotions that is literally locked. I mean, I'm trying to paraphrase your language because they're not kind of allowed. You're here to do your job and that's it. And this is a missed opportunity for the company because these people, I mean, we all agree that everybody has a certain amount of creativity. And by the way, everybody has a customer, whether it's inside or outside. And just listening to that customer with empathy, getting a few tools to innovate for that customer.

And now, the second part, when you unlock people, I mean, you don't lose them anymore because they're having fun. I mean, innovation gives a different meaning to people's job. And I'm not talking about making everybody become an innovation kind of specialist. I'm talking about giving a little space where people are totally legitimized in doing some innovation activity. It doesn't have to be a big deal. But what is important is the regularity and that everybody does it. And the companies I've seen, you're totally surprised by the kind of ideas that come out.

SKOT WALDRON:

Built to Innovate. Ben, you are awesome. Thanks for being on the show. 

BEN BENSAOU:

Thank you.

SKOT WALDRON:

By the way, your English is amazing. I wish I did-

BEN BENSAOU:

Thank you.

SKOT WALDRON:

It's fantastic. So well done. I love hearing the thoughts and ideas from other people that inspire us to be better and to do the things that we are capable of doing. So everybody, how they get in touch with you, Ben? If they want to get in touch with you more about the book, about any of the other things you're involved in?

BEN BENSAOU:

Anything. I mean, you can go on ... I have a LinkedIn account and there's plenty of information on it. There's a website for the book it's www.btithebook.com BTI, built to innovate, thebook.com. There's a YouTube channel. There's a lot of social media out there, but I think LinkedIn can be the port of entry.

SKOT WALDRON:

Okay. Beautiful. Well, thank you for- 

BEN BENSAOU:

Thank you, Scott. Yeah-

SKOT WALDRON:

... being on the show and ...

BEN BENSAOU:

I enjoyed it.

SKOT WALDRON:

Staying up late. Go get some sleep and enjoy your day over there.

BEN BENSAOU:

All right. Thank you, Scott. It was very nice. Thank you.

SKOT WALDRON:

How can we make innovation a habit within our organizations? A couple of things. Understanding that middle management is going to be the, I guess, deciding factor with a lot of this. Yes, it has to come from up top. That vision, that inspiration, and that directive needs to come from there. But the buy-in, the execution, all needs to come from that middle management. And it's so crucial that we have that in order to have permission to share ideas and permission to fail, permission to listen, permission to ask. That is so empowering. And Ben shared some examples of that in the interview that we really need to think. I love those two questions that that leader asked as a result of someone coming to him for ideas. It's why would customers like that? And then number two, what's the value for us?

Asking those questions sparks this discussion and sparks this innovation engine that we all crave and want and need. We have to make time for that. We have to be intentional about that. And as we do that, we will find the growth and the engagement and the participation of everybody just skyrocket. 

The value that we provide as the leaders, the value we provide inside of our organization for our employees, and the value that we provide for our customers is all going to be a result of that thinking, that permission, and that liberating lifestyle and culture that we create within our organizations to innovate.

So I'm grateful for Ben. Good luck, Ben, in the launch of your book Built to Innovate. If y'all want to find out more about me, go to scottwaldron.com. That's where all my interviews are posted. I've got some free tools on there. You can find out a little bit more about what I do to help empower cultures and teams within organizations and leaders. You can connect with me on LinkedIn and on YouTube. Like, subscribe, comment. You're going to find all these videos there as well. As well some other helpful videos and tools, bite size chunks that I do, some instruction there that will help empower you and lead you in your journey. So thank you very much for being here. We'll see you next time on another episode of Unlocked.

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