How Tiny Innovations Can Yield Gigantic Results

Josh Linkner
August 18, 2019

Josh Linkner

Five-time tech entrepreneur, hyper-growth CEO, NY Times bestselling author and venture capitalist.
Future of Work Creativity & Innovation Innovation

Gaining competitive advantage, better serving customers, and standing out from the pack can feel just about as challenging as running a double marathon barefoot. The difficulties are exacerbated if we find ourselves in mature industries with deeply entrenched market leaders possessing the resources of a small country. How can we compete and win when facing such formidable opponents?

Take the shoe industry, for example. Going up against Goliaths like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok could seem like a suicide mission. But not to NYC-based entrepreneurs Waqas Ali and Sidra Qasim who recently launched Atoms, a shoe startup with a creative twist. Atoms don't offer hundreds of different styles, boasts no celebrity endorsements, and doesn't have a catchy tagline. Instead, they boldly entered the race by doing something small.

Realizing that shoes rarely fit perfectly and that we humans often have two different sized feet, Atoms offers their shoes by the quarter-size. After you select your color and inform the company of your usual size, they mail you six shoes in quarter-size increments. When the shoes arrive, choose the ones that fit best (each foot can be different) and the remaining four shoes are returned to Atoms. Shipping both ways is free, and the process is dead simple.

While Atoms' micro-innovation of quarter sizing doesn't have the same innovative impact of curing disease or inventing a new industry, their small-dose creativity is already leading to outsized results. Only three months into operations, the company is chalking up meaningful sales numbers, winning the hearts of customers, and gaining extensive media coverage.

Too often, we feel like we can only be innovative if we change the world with an idea that creates a seismic shift. But when giant magnitude breakthroughs feel out of reach, let's focus our creative energy on high-frequency, tiny ideas. If everyone in our organization becomes an everyday innovator, we can unlock the collective creativity of Mozart, DaVinci, or Picasso. Instead of looking for the single, enormous idea, try scouting for the little ones.

Your own micro-innovation could be a simple change to your hiring process, a hack in your sales efforts, or a tweak to the format of your internal meeting. Each new concept need not move mountains to deliver a momentous impact, especially when injecting high doses of these baby breakthroughs.

Atoms nailed the fit, not only for shoe customers but also for discovering where the company can win in a highly completive industry. Following in their footsteps with your own micro-innovations, you may quickly find yourself walking a new path toward success. As the saying goes, "if the shoe fits."


To book Josh Linker for your next event, visit his profile: https://premierespeakers.com/josh_linkner

Josh is the author of four books, including the New York Times best-seller The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate TransformationHacking Innovation: The New Growth Model from the Sinister World of Hackers, and Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity. To order copies in bulk for your event, please visit BulkBooks.com.

The post How Tiny Innovations Can Yield Gigantic Results appeared first on Josh Linkner.

Josh Linkner

Want Josh Linkner for your next event?

Find out more information, including fees and availability.
Find Out More
Keep Reading
Five Big Questions to Gain Clarity, Sharpen Focus, and Drive Results
Josh Linkner
Josh Linkner
September 15, 2019
In our increasingly busy and scattered lives, getting clear and focused ...
The Unique Problem-Solving Approach of History Makers
Josh Linkner
Josh Linkner
September 08, 2019
For decades, transportation experts and city planners who studied traffic congestion ...
The Can't-Not
Josh Linkner
Josh Linkner
September 01, 2019
The promo for tonight's local news runs across your screen: "Two of the items in your pantry right now could kill you. Tune in ...
Five Big Questions to Gain Clarity, Sharpen Focus, and Drive Results
In our increasingly busy and scattered lives, getting clear and focused can feel like an insurmountable task. We live in an era of distractions vying for our attention the way high-strung paparazzi try to capture that perfect celebrity photo. Knowing that most of us can't take a three-month sabbatical to hang with monks in mountainous isolati...
Read More
The Unique Problem-Solving Approach of History Makers
For decades, transportation experts and city planners who studied traffic congestion in major cities came to the conclusion that not much could be done to improve gridlock. Based on available street widths, speed limits, and other constraints, they were correct. But Elon Musk approached the problem in a completely different manner. Instead of...
Read More
The Can't-Not
The promo for tonight's local news runs across your screen: "Two of the items in your pantry right now could kill you. Tune in at 11:00 to find out which ones." After hearing this announcement, you can't not tune in. When you learn about a hot tech company that offers unlimited days off, tuition reimbursement, cool offices, and a change-the-worl...
Read More
How Tiny Innovations Can Yield Gigantic Results
Gaining competitive advantage, better serving customers, and standing out from the pack can feel just about as challenging as running a double marathon barefoot. The difficulties are exacerbated if we find ourselves in mature industries with deeply entrenched market leaders possessing the resources of a small country. How can we compete and win ...
Read More
How Swapping Two Words Can Transform Your Success and Happiness
As the competitive nature of our world continues to increase, success can feel elusive. Whether your sights are set on landing a promotion, raising capital, wining that new account, or inventing a game-changing product, you'll need to break free from traditional thinking in order to seize success. The ones who score the brass ring are not nec...
Read More
Playing Guitar With Three Missing Strings
Studying jazz guitar in college, I had a professor that would force me to remove strings from the instrument. One, two, sometimes three strings had to be removed before I attempted a performance. You might guess that gutting half of my available resources would crush my ability to play, let alone be creative. Yet a surprising and counterintui...
Read More
How The Most Successful Leaders Respond
We all get provoked. An angry associate; a cranky customer; a snarling spouse. In these cases, the primitive part of our brain designed to protect us in the wild kicks in and our autonomic response is to recklessly fire back. We lash out, hit below the belt, and respond with uncontrollable emotion. That's where the problems begin. We end up s...
Read More
A Powerful Two-Step Approach to Drive Results
When we look to initiate change or growth, some sort of behavior shift is generally required. Want to sell more products? It probably involves making more cold calls, training more salespeople, or improving marketing efforts. Looking to remain relevant in the workforce? This objective will likely require more learning, reading, or skill developm...
Read More
What a French Creole Cooking Term Can Teach Us About Customer Loyalty
After finishing an incredible meal in the French Quarter of New Orleans, the best part of the experience may very well be the lagniappe (pronounced LAN-yap). While it sounds like a fancy seafood dish, a lagniappe is actually an unexpected gift. That special dessert, complements of the chef. The small box of chocolates for you to take home. Th...
Read More
An Innovative Way to Improve Behavior
Early education in high-risk urban areas is a complex and seemingly overwhelming challenge. Often dubbed the "school to prison pipeline," kids in troubled classrooms with negative peer influences and little family support too often end up incarcerated or repeating the cycle of poverty. Despite committed teachers and administrators, these problem...
Read More