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Rich Hirst1 min read

Five tips for successful innovation

Tenfold tip #548 comes from an unlikely source... a busker I watched on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in NZ last week, known as the Queenstown Drummer.

He reminded me about five key factors for successful innovation.

1) Pivot with passion

You could tell the Queenstown Drummer loves what he is doing. Innovation can be hard so don’t do it unless you love what you're playing with. Your passion will be key to getting through the tough days and also to attracting others to your mission.

2) Start somewhere familiar

All the songs this guy played were well known dance tracks. He innovated in a space that felt familiar enough for the audience to connect with, whilst adding a range of new elements to make it feel fresh and interesting. Despite being close to freezing he drew a huge crowd.

3) Get rapid feedback

Innovation rarely happens in isolation. The faster you can get feedback about what is or isn’t working from your end user the better. This busker was getting constant feedback based on the size of the crowd in front of him, the expressions on their faces, and of course the donations he received.

4) Anticipate failure

You can’t see from this angle but he had a number of drum sticks at his side ready to replace one if he lost grip and dropped a stick when twirling.  If you don’t fail you’re probably not truly innovating and as one of our Masterclass speakers said recently you really only fail if you fail to learn.

5) Position for success

The location this busker picked was amazing. The setting sun over the lake on the waterfront near dozens of restaurants and bars. Positioning is key. Remember VHS and Beta? No? Too young? That’s OK. My point is the best innovation doesn’t always win. The best positioned innovation does.

Thanks Queenstown Busker for the reminders. 


Rich Hirst

Rich’s personal purpose is to help people become their better selves and bring out the best in others. Trained in organisational psychology Rich has worked with over 100,000 leaders and 1,000 CEOs plus 100’s of the global experts to decode and coach exponential leadership mindframes and tactics to achieve new levels of performance, well-being and abundance for all. He is the cofounder and CEO of Abundium, a growth accelerator network for the local leaders of foreign owned companies and not for profits.