Decoding Innovation: Jim McKelvey on "The Innovation Stack"


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Not many start-ups can survive a direct attack from Amazon. So, when digital payment services company, Square, came up against the retail giant and won, it set Jim McKelvey on a mission to find out why. In this episode, Jim reveals the part innovation has to play in survival, the two classes of innovation and why they’re important, and how crises accelerate transformative change.

Press play to hear Jim McKelvey's thoughts on...

The “Hero” Myth

“The people that I studied are not heroes. They are people who for one reason or another ended up in these weird situations where they had to become adventurers. They had to learn how to survive in the jungle. And learning that survival skill set is something that we're all capable of.”

Survival and Innovation

“Occasionally somebody gets dropped in the jungle. For some reason or another, they get put in a very hostile environment and then just don't die. And the process of not dying is what I study in the book. And it turns out to have this repeatable path. And that's what I call an innovation stack.”

The Role of Disruption in Innovation

“Throughout history, there were these companies who not only survived existential threat, but they then grew up later to become the biggest in their business. The biggest bank in the world, the biggest furniture company in the world, the biggest airline in the United States, the biggest frozen foods company in the world, the biggest automaker.”

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