A TEDx talk for both MASA & NASA – SCN Encourager 1/22/2014

But to be honest, the NASA engineers have already heard it.

And they were impressed by Stephen Shapiro’s approach to innovation.

I know I was.

Of course, I wasn’t at a big ticket NASA conference in Florida when I heard Shapiro speak.

I was in my bathroom shaving one morning and listening to an ESPN station based out of Kansas City on my iPad.

I hadn’t tuned to this station before, but it sure seemed to have the perfect format for me — yakking about sports 90% of the time, with interviews with marketers, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals filling in the rest.

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 7.32.06 PMShapiro made the point that “experts” of every field should pursue ways to make innovations repeatable and sustainable processes within their organization, and not merely accept innovations as new ideas that simply pop up out of nowhere.

He said that experts are often the last ones on earth who will look at a problem from a totally different angle.

And it’s expertise that frequently sets unintentional obstacles in the way of innovations.

Shapiro started his TEDx talk to an audience of NASA engineers that “innovation isn’t rocket science” and counted down from there.

He could’ve just as easily given this talk to us at an MSPRA or MASA conference.

His concepts are relevant to the work in our schools.

Here’s a six minute excerpt.

Shapiro also wrote a best-seller called “Best Practices are Stupid,” and you’ll see this same steady straight-forward presentation style in the brief video.

He doesn’t leave you wondering about anything he said.

He just leaves you thinking.

And thanks to his blog and podcast, I can still follow what he’s up to even though I don’t listen to that Kansas City radio station anymore.

A few months ago, I listened to it for the very last time.

On that fateful day (one that I remember well), the radio program smoothly shifted from sports news to the business banter as expected, only this time I didn’t know that Cindy was listening in.

And she became interested in hearing the radio guest – a young interior designer – describe the “ups and downs” of opening his design studio and an adjoining furniture and accessories store and working to please his customers.

She then seemed to think this bright entrepreneur had some “fun new ideas that might freshen up some of our rooms a bit.”

Oh, oh.

Room freshening usually leads to lifting and carrying stuff.

This day was about to go south.

My “perfect” ESPN station had morphed into an HGTV clone behind my back – and the very next thing I knew – Cindy and I were off on a Saturday afternoon shopping expedition.

So you can understand why I can’t listen to this station again.

Too much risk.

Tom Page, SCN
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