Is Your Business Silly or Innovative?

by Seth Kahan

Is Your Business Silly or Innovative?We get used to silly, nonsensical things… or do we?

I am flying out of Phoenix tomorrow and received an email from American Airlines to remind me to check in. Click here, the message says and I do. It tells me that I have come to the wrong website and the flight is being managed by their recently merged partner US Airways, so I have to click to go to the US Airways website. I do and it tells me to re-enter all of my information. I do and it takes me to a screen to pick my seat. I click and it tells me that their recently merged partner American Airlines is running the plane so I cannot pick my seat…

I need to buy four barstools for my kitchen and I am running from one appointment to another before going out of town for two weeks. So I go to the Pier One website. There are 30 barstools to choose from. I pick one and it tells me the store closest to my house has two. It doesn’t tell me where I can find four. So I click a different style. The store has three. So I pick a different style. The store has none. I stop. I was ready to spend $1,000 with Pier One, but apparently they’re not ready to take it from me…

Meanwhile AirBnB (founded 2008) has more rooms that InterContinental Hotels (founded 1777). Uber is worth $16 billion. And there are 78 other companies valued at over one billion dollars that have appeared in the last year or so. What do they do? They take care of the things that are frustrating and make them easy.

If you don’t make it easy for customers to use you these days, someone else will.

Oh look, here’s an app called Furnish that will not only sell me four barstools, it will show me what the barstools look like in my kitchen before I buy them and it will buy direct from Ikea, Target, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Herman Miller, Knoll, West Elm…

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

– Steve Jobs


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Transforming Associations to Meet 21st-Century ChallengesSeth Kahan is a Facilitator, Advisor, Mentor, and Speaker who helps leaders identify, influence, and leverage emerging trends for business growth. He has consulted with CEOs and executives in organizations that include Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps, Marriott, Prudential, Project Management Institute, and NASA. His new book is, Getting Innovation Right: How Leaders Leverage Inflection Points to Drive Success. His previous book, Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out, was a business bestseller. Learn more at VisionaryLeadership.com