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A Preview of Innovation in the Family Business with Joe Schmieder

Innovation in the Family Business

A summary of things you should know about Innovation in the Family Business according to Joe Schmieder:


In this episode Joe Schmieder shares his book, Innovation in the Family Business where he takes a thoughtful look at innovation in the family business industry.

In his book Schmieder shares a variety of insights and best practices applicable to family businesses more generally. The goal of the book is to help you dissect the relevant data and provide a working framework with which you can innovate your own family business and stay relevant to your specific market niche.

This book is perfect for family business leaders or any executive leading a family owned business who is in search looking to reinvent or implement the best practices for family businesses.

The Book’s Unique Quality (2:14)

The first differentiator is that we are combining innovation and the family business into one book. The books that are available on the topic are mainly academic research manuals so I have combined the research material with about 50 family business stories to help describe the many different areas where family firms have been able to effectively use innovation to grow the value of their business. The book is a combination of research and hands-on practical examples of how family businesses have effectively used innovation in their firms.

The Best Way To Engage (3:45)

It’s definitely a jump in, jump out kind of book. It’s not a real long book so you can also read through the whole thing.

The Reader’s Takeaway (11:10)

Developing a culture of innovation is the most important thing in the family businesses. So creating the culture of innovation is the biggest takeaway from this book.

A Deep Dive Into The Book (4:26)

In chapter one, discussing the family business difference, I talk about the family business difference and how to capitalize on it for innovation. So I am detailing the innovation drivers and set it apart from other businesses and these refer to things like the trait of having a long-term horizon compared to public companies. And also the fact that family businesses have been phenomenally successful at incremental innovation verses breakthrough type ground breaking innovation. We also layout the differences how families use innovation in other areas of the business like in their organization structure. And how they are using succession in an innovative way as well as training the upcoming generation to be more innovative.

In chapter two I talk about creating a culture of innovation and how one family in particular created a framework called structured chaos. Structure chaos is a way to have some stability and structure in business while still being free flowing and chaotic enough where you can have an innovative spirit. In this chapter we take some of the drivers that were discussed in chapter one and show how they can be used to create an innovative culture that can infuse the organization with a mindset that embraces change whether than fighting it.

Chapter three is one of the longest chapters which is on product and service offerings, new ventures and startups. And that is what it takes to create a process for innovation. I outline in this chapter four different processes that are used out there for product and service development. But the conclusion is that you don’t have to strictly follow any of these one processes but rather create a process tailored for your company and follow the process, have it become part of the culture so that it’s not just done in a verbal context.

Chapter four is about funding and measuring innovation. It’s difficult to find examples of this because people don’t always fund innovation in a clear way. So how to capture different sources of funding in a family business are described and then the types of metrics used to measure innovation from a percent of sales coming from new product to how successful succession has gone is all described in this chapter.

In chapter five I dive into the next generation which could be siblings or cousins that are coming into the family business and what it takes to re-innovate or re-energize or reinvent the family business. As many know today the pace of change is so rapid that if people aren’t looking ahead and trying to figure out what the next offering should be then they are going to slip behind. In today’s world the younger generation is so much more attuned to digital marketing and digital means that it’s a great opportunity for them to dive into re-innovating a family business through some type of digital approach of format.

The sixth and seventh chapters deal with governance and succession. Sixth is talking about leadership succession and that means passing the business from the current leader to other leaders. I also talk quite a bit about governance and that is how to use advisory boards and family counsels to help with the relationships that support innovation in a family business.

In the eighth chapter I talk about moving innovation forward and what it takes collectively to make sure that your family business is being innovative and that means making change that is meaningful and adds value to the business.

Notable Quotes From The Book (12:16)

“Developing a culture of innovation is not only necessary, it is more exciting and fun than just sticking with the status quo.” – Unknown

The Credibility/Inspiration Of The Author (0:33)

I am a family business advisor; I have been working with family businesses for over 35 years. I ran two family businesses as an executive for 25 years and I have been consulting with family businesses for the last 10 years.

I was very interested in helping family businesses continue their firms for more than one, two or three generations. So I worked on the book to help family members and executives who are interested in innovating in the family business. And I also try to inspire those enterprising family members to focus more energy and resources on innovation and change throughout their family business instead of just relying on the status quo. I have this passion to make sure we can keep family businesses strong because they do generate the majority of the income and the jobs throughout our economy.

Other Books Recommended By The Author (13:01)

Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge

More Information About This Book and The Author

Buy Innovation in the Family Business by Joe Schmieder on Amazon today

Visit TheFBCG.com to learn more about the company, advisors, and all the books

Follow Joe Schmieder on Twitter and Facebook

More Information About This Episode

Download the full transcript here (coming soon)

Listen on iTunes, Stitcher , and SoundCloud

Related books:

The Innovator’s Method by Nathan Furr
The Innovative Entrepreneur by Daniel Spulber
CoupleCEO by Heidi and Scott Shimberg

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Wade is a 4-time serial entrepreneur and is the Founder/Host of The Entrepreneurs Library. With a long time passion for reading books, Wade created an online resource and podcast for entrepreneurs who love to read personal and business development books. His long-term goal in life is to start an entrepreneurial home schooling program for children of business-minded families.