Tackling Innovation’s Role in Accelerating Your Business

YPO’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network kicked off Tuesday’s YPO Innovation Week events in North America as 23 young entrepreneurs in Dallas, Texas, USA, gathered for an early-morning strategy session led by YPO member Sunny Vanderbeck, Managing Partner of Satori Capital, on accelerating business growth.

“Business gets in the way of strategy for most entrepreneurs,” says Vanderbeck. “There is just always too much time spent with the day-to-day tasks of running your business to think about strategy. But good strategy is really clarifying and provides focus and alignment.” Participants worked in small groups through a series of key questions proposed by Vanderbeck: Where do you want to go?; How will you get there and what is going to get in the way?; and What must be done to make progress?

“Don’t just ask yourself how is your company, or what it produces, different but how is your company different in a way that matters to the customer and will they be willing to pay for it.”

The group visited TreeHouse, a home improvement company focused on making homes thoughtful, sustainable and healthy, and talked with Jason Ballard, the company’s CEO and Co-Founder. Afternoon sessions focused on creating high-performance teams, how to confront their business model, and meeting with CEOs who are using technology to redefine the way they do business and bring products and services to market.

Experimenting with virtual reality in your business

YPO members delved into the world of virtual reality in a global conference call with Doug Clinton of Loop Ventures. While virtual reality is certainly a well-known commodity, Clinton explained that the industry is in a “trough of disillusionment” with its 20 million current users and the media. However, catalysts for VR development — including better content, VR on smartphone, wireless high immersion and a predicted USD3 billion being spent in research and development by the “big five” tech companies — should increase both the VR experience and market.

While VR software/content sales generated just USD60 million last year, Clinton predicts these numbers to grow to USD850 million by 2018 and USD52 billion by 2025. In the near future, industries including education, corporate training and wellness will experience an increase in using virtual reality. Clinton encouraged the audience to start experimenting with virtual and augmented reality now.

Accelerating innovation across the globe

From the Middle East to North America, YPOers took part in a jam-packed second day of events covering topics from robotics, to navigating the disruptive hospitality and retail markets.

  • Global wine glass titans Georg and Maximilian Riedel discussed how they have revolutionized their three-decades-old wine glass business.
  • Christopher Nassetta, Hilton CEO, shared his insights from the top as leader of one of the world’s largest and most successful hospitality companies.
  • YPO member Peter Sheahan led a virtual discussion on building a culture capable of executing new ideas, scaling new business models, and innovating in the face of change and disruption in the retail environment.
  • The Israel Innovation Experience provided YPO members access to top high-tech industry leaders and agents of change in Israel’s startup environment.

YPO Innovation Week runs through Friday, 12 May. Check out www.ypoinnovationweek.com/schedule for a complete listing of events and registration information.

Mary Sigmond is a content strategist, an award-winning storyteller and editor in chief of YPO's Ignite digital magazine. She has the pleasure of telling the engaging stories of some of the most influential young business leaders who are making an impact across the globe.