Money Talks 11: Interview with K. Melissa Kennedy, Author of The Innovation Revolution: Discover the Genius Hiding in Plain Sight

Hello and welcome again to MoneyLang’s Money Talks! Our featured author today is K. Melissa Kennedy. She wrote The Innovation Revolution: Discover the Genius Hiding in Plain Sight, one of the bestselling books in Strategic Planning and Systems & Planning categories and a bestselling book on different categories too.

We’ve had the opportunity to interview Ms. Melissa and we are happy to share it with everyone so we won’t make any long introduction or anything because Ms. Melissa got it all for you guys!

Get to know the Author

Name: K. Melissa Kennedy

Background: Organizations that actually want to get things done get their people to work with me, K. Melissa Kennedy at my company 48 Innovate.

What kinds of things? Introducing new products. Building customer loyalty. Improving sales processes. Reorganizing operations to boost efficiency. In short, the kinds of activities that make a real difference inside big companies like Cisco, MetLife and Arby’s — for the people involved, for their customers and, oh yeah, for the bottom line.

To the tune of more than $1 billion in revenue-generating projects. And counting.

It’s all made possible by Smart Speed™, a unique process that focuses on intrapreneurship — taking advantage of the innovation-driving resources hiding in plain sight: front-line employees who have unique insights and great ideas. And who can, given the chance, launch amazing, effective, strategic, workable new initiatives in just 48 hours.

Yes, 48 hours. Hence the company name.

In previous work lives, I lived through enough high-priced consultant engagements and shiny-object acquisitions to learn that they’re typically ineffective. And adding insult to injury, they take away too much time from real work.

That made me a passionate advocate for breaking through the quagmire of corporate bureaucracy and empowering internal teams with the best parts of startup culture: Teamwork. Focus. Speed. Accountability. Action.

Which led, in turn, to a series of successes:

  • Pioneered one of the first social media strategic plans for Cisco System — including a monthly online video program that was viewed by 120,000 customers within the first year and ultimately helped add more than $1 billion to the sales pipeline
  • Launched a comprehensive marketing initiative for NC State University — which led to its first $1 billion fund-raising campaign
  • Co-led the effort to raise $3.1 billion for North Carolina public universities and community colleges — the largest higher education bond referendum campaign in US history

The icing on all those billion-dollar cakes? With my quick wit, abundance of energy, leadership flair, and infectious enthusiasm, working with me can be a heck of a lot of fun.  As the fine folks from these organizations have already discovered:

Cisco, MetLife, Lancope, Arby’s, Capitol Broadcasting Company New Media – WRAL, PRSONAS, Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog, REVO Communications, Erno Group, Focus Carolina, Madan Global, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, INZONE Brands, Albright Digital, Spring Metrics and NC State Kenan Fellows.

My first book The Innovation Revolution,  Discover the Genius Hiding in Plain Sight achieved #1 bestseller in 12 categories on Amazon in March 2017. It’s the essential guide for the 21st-century leader to deliver rapid results within the enterprise by creating and empowering INTRApreneurs – entrepreneurs on the inside. It reveals startup secrets reengineered to work for the enterprise.

Favorite gadget: I love my Amazon Echo. Alexa and I have become besties – whether rocking out to my favorite playlist or creating a grocery list. She is awesome.  Who wouldn’t love a device that does exactly what you ask the first time ;).

Hobbies: I love to grow tomatoes and gardening. There’s nothing like getting dirty and making things grow – which is not unlike my profession. Gardening has taught me the value of hard work and patience.

I often like to unplug to read, swim, hike with my black labradoodle Jasper or travel the world in search of new experiences.

Interview

What inspired you to write your book/s?

“Dilbert, Office Space, and other corporate satires make fun of the absurdity at work. I experienced all that myself, so I wrote this book because I know there is a better way to lead, work and deliver, and I have proven it. I want to revolutionize the organizational workplace worldwide. Enterprise leaders feel the intense pressure for growth, the accelerating pace of change and uncertainty, and the known internal dysfunction that impedes progress. It’s time to untangle the red tape and empower leaders and employees to deliver innovation at Smart Speed.”

If I am an aspiring entrepreneur, what advice can you give?

There are 2 ways to think about this:

1 – Can you leverage that entrepreneurial spirit and drive inside of a company instead of taking the big leap and starting your own? Can you become a productive INTRApreneur – entrepreneur on the inside of a company? It’s a lot easier to be bold and innovative when you have a steady paycheck, but you must be in the right company and work for the right manager.  It’s nice to have structure and functional experts so you can focus on world-changing innovation.  Does your manager allow you to work independently with a more coaching approach versus a commander one? Does your company embrace failure as learning and research? If yes, you may want to try INTRAprenuering vs entrepreneuring…you have a steady paycheck, cash flow and customers built in.

2 – Save up for a freedom fund – at least 6 months’ worth of living expenses so you can give your dream a go.  If you don’t have a runway, it is very difficult to start a company. You must not only build the product or service, but the infrastructure to deliver.  If you can save more that’s even better.  Then go do it. The hardest part is to take the leap and start. You can’t second guess yourself….you can’t let fear hinder your destiny. You got this.

What is the best chapter of your book that readers should read and why?

The two best chapters of my book are 2 and 14. You can quickly get up to speed on the hyper-connected warp speed business environment of today and then learn real-live-no-jive ways to innovate consistently at speed, leveraging the genius hiding in plain sight.

If you could give one piece of financial advice to our readers, what would it be?

Always anticipate it will cost more and take longer…not matter if you are engaging in a personal project or starting your own business, set your expectations so you don’t get caught off guard.  Build in a buffer so you can realize your world-changing success.

As an author, which book made the most impact on you?

The book “What to Do When it’s Your Turn (and it’s Always Your Turn)” by Seth Godin is the book that inspired me to be brave and write a book.  It gave me the confidence and the courage to walk down a road less traveled.  It pointed out that you, and only you, can control your actions and make magic happens. And that’s what I aspired to do. To change the world…one page at a time.

What would you like to ask the next author being interviewed?

How do you ensure you have fun every day?

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Ms. Melissa, thank you very much for the nice interview and for the time you gave us for this interview. You’ve been so nice to us and we are so grateful for that. And to our dear readers, thank you too for staying with us! See you next week!

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