Saturday, June 30, 2007

Gems from Scott Berkun, Author of "The Myths of Innovation"

Extracts from Always on interview with Scott Berkun and Always On

Is there such a thing as a BFO?

An Epiphany, a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious), a hunch, an instinctive sense is generally the tip of an iceberg and comes from many years of accumulated knowledge stored in “the adaptive unconscious”

What prevents Innovators from Commercialising their Innovations?

Commercialising an Innovation generally has little to do with the skills of the Innovator/Entrepeneur . They have to spend more time persuading and convincing others for emotional, financial, or intellectual support, as they do inventing, and many don’t have the skills or emotional endurance for it. The skills for Commercialising are different to the skills of Innovation.

Where do Ideas Come From?

ideas are combinations of other ideas. People who earn the label “creative” are really just people who come up with more combinations of ideas, find interesting ones faster, and are willing to try them out

Is Innovation Structured?

Innovation does not generally follow a straight line. Innovators/Entrepeneurs generally work in chaos, uncertainty with a feeling the odds are against them (club terror!!).

Why do innovators face rejection and negativity?

People are threatened by Change, and it takes much convincing and copelling arguments to get people to change their behaviour.

As a Venture Capitalist/Investor – how do you invest in Innovation?

Invest in People more than ideas or business plans: A great entrepreneur who won’t give up and will keep growing and learning is gold. Very few entrepreneurs have had any real success the first few times out—3M, Ford, Flickr were all second or third efforts.
Adopt a portfolio approach, knowing most ventures fail. Invest based on a spectrum of risk (e.g. 1/3 very high risk, 1/3 high risk, 1/3 moderate risk). Sometimes seemingly small, low risk/reward innovations have big impacts and returns, where large investments fail miserably.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Maximising Opportunities in the USA for Australian Exporters

Gems from the session from Angela Lowrey at the 2007 ECAL Conference at Twin Towns - Tweed Heads – Monday 4 June 2007

Summary by Ivan Kaye - Monday 4 June 2007

I was delighted to hear of Austrade’s activities in the USA, and BSI looks forward to working with Austrade to Leverage the Power of Australia to assist Clients Export Succesfully into the USA Marketplace!

Austrade open for business in the USA:-

Austrade has recognized the importance of the USA as a trading partner for Ozzie Companies, and have come to the party by appointing 20 Austrade Offices around the USA… split up into 8 Industry Groups.

They have been involved with

150 promotional trade events
20 Inward Buying Missions
500 Media Mentions
Various Marketing and Business Guides to assist exporters navigate the market.
Bring strategic Players/Buyers to Australia

8000 Australian Companies have been trading with the USA in some way over the past few years, and 54% of all EMDG claimants promote and sell their products into the USA Market place.

Alignment of the Stars for Aussie Exporters

There are a number of factors that have aligned to assist Australians enter the USA Marketplace:-

Americans love us
We talk the same language
Support of American Policy
Australian Wine has led the way – the Yellow Tail Story
We have an outback image – “the Crocodile Hunter”
The Wiggles
Actors and Actresses – Russell Crow and Nicole Kidman
News Limited – the success of Rupert Murdoch
A strong Expat Network – who call Australia Home

What this does is something invaluable – it opens the door so that you are able to do your 30 Second Elevator Pitch!

Although we speak the language – we have a different culture, and a successful exporter into the USA has to play by the USA rules….

We need to “brag” – why is our product so good that you need to be compelled to buy? Focus on the WIFM factor – don’t beat around the bush – tell the Customer what is in it for them! Tell them what the deal is - quickly.

USA is

Consumer driven
Mass Market
Segment Driven
Market for anything

An example of the opportunity – Coles and Woolworths represent 70% of consumer market in Australia. There are 42000 supermarkets in USA.

A company with Gourmet Foods can deal with “Bristal Farms” who will possibly take all their supply.

Ensure that your packaging and pricing is done correctly – everything needs to be in lbs and ozs.

You need to be able to segment the market place… what is your Unique, Competitive Niche? Be able to articulate it!

How are you to be heard above the noise. At trade shows or events – position yourself so you can be heard. PR is key!

Before going to USA, do your market research – ensure that you have the ability to be a long term sustainable player in the marketplace.

There are many ways you can enter the market – is it with a Distributor, JV agreement, Agent, you own office. What have other companies done in your space… do your research.

Some are concerned that a successful businesses will sell the business/IP/Technology to a USA Company. This is not a bad thing. If successful, the entrepreneur will sell for ++ $s… this is great for the Australian Economy, as the successful Entrepreneur will understand the opportunity, and does it again, returning the wealth to Australia.

USA Sustainability Factors

Long term commitment
Relationship/network development
Success and reputation in Australian
Patience and perseverance
Entrepreneurial spirit
Unique Selling Proposition
Market Selection
Overseas Experience
Cultural Awareness

Sustainable Exporter Profile

Passionate about international business
Committed to new export markets and opportunities
Committed to exporting …despite short term setbacks

AUSTFA Opportunities

Government empowerment GSA’s
Enhanced access
Decreased tariffs
Increased Quotas
Ease of Market Restrictions

Opportunities include but not limited to:-

Food – Gourmet, Wine and. Meat, Seafood, Dairy
Sell to Government – Security, Defence, US Gulf Coast redevelopment
Specialty Goods

Things an Aussie Exporter needs to do to get traction in the USA Market

Tradeshows – and follow up on every contact
Buyer missions
Market Research
Perseverence and Persistance
A thick Skin
Passion about your product
Ability to leverage on people who have done it before
BSI USA Gateway
State Overseas Offices

Alex Daniel runs BSI USA Gateway office in Los Angeles. He will help you with your Journey into the USA Marketplace.

About BSI

BSI assists Companies access International Markets, Raise Capital and Maximise Government Grants.

For more Information about accessing the USA Marketplace, contact Alex Daniel on or Ivan Kaye on

For more Information about Maximising your Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) contact Harvey Gartrell , Andri Damoko , James Roberts or Ben Milner .