As background, Clooney plays the part of Ryan Bingham, a corporate downsizing expert who spends most of his time on the road. While Ryan is travelling, his boss recruits a highly ambitious business school graduate ‘Natalie Keener’ (played by Anna Kendrick) who although is only new to the company, has come up with an idea for a game-changing business model. Her idea is to use video conferencing technology to ‘fire people', instead of the more conventional approach of a face-to-face, human-to-human meeting. The commercial benefits of the new business model are significant, and it’s not long before her idea gains traction with the CEO.
However, Ryan who is one of the most experienced employees spots a fundamental flaw in the business model idea and feels compelled to challenge Natalie. During the scene (see video below), he cements his point by saying: “Before you try to revolutionise my business, I'd like to know that you actually know my business”. That phrase has stuck with me since.
1. Before attempting revolutionary changes to your business, see what smaller changes can be made. You might be surprised by what can be gained from introducing smaller, lower risk innovations.
2. If revolutionising your business is the primary objective, include early-stage prototyping and testing in your plan.
3. When assessing new business models, solicit input from your most experienced people - in ‘Up in the Air’ it was the most experienced staff member who spotted the flaw!
4. Finally, if a business model sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
For more advice on how to innovate in a corporate setting, please visit: http://www.3inno.com/our-articles
Do you want to be more successful at innovation? I recommend the book Innovation Unplugged – it's the best short innovation book for managers.
Director of 3inno