How Lacking Resources Generates Innovation

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Lara Hodgson on Scaling Up Business Podcast with Bill GallagherWhat do you think of when you think of innovative companies? The first things that come to mind are probably; big budgets, lots of resources, innovation centers, groovy workplaces and special design labs, to name a few. You’re probably not thinking of you and your business. For sure, you can do so many interesting things on such a large scale, but innovation comes from small companies as well. Today’s show is all about innovation on a small scale and how to scale it up.

Lara Hodgson is the co-founder, president, and CEO of NOW Corp. She also serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School. NOW Corp, is the company she co-founded to free small businesses from the burden of funding trade credit and to enable small business growth. The concept for NOW Corp’s NOWaccount payment system stems from the challenges Lara faced when growing her manufacturing business, Nourish. 

Lara’s background is nothing short of interesting. In this episode, she shares how her love of solving tough problems lead her to study aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech, and how her outgoing personality and love of working with people steered her away from research and into the world of business. 

Taking on a consulting job right out of college gave her the opportunity to learn about different industries and different businesses, paving the way to launching her own company Nourish, a patented spill-proof bottle for babies. The product was so great, it that was selling like crazy, only for that to become the company’s greatest weakness. The realization that they were growing themselves out of business and Lara’s love of solving big problems resulted in NOW account. 

On the podcast, Lara and Bill explore how all innovation comes from the demand side of a problem, not the supply side; your greatest ideas happen when you lack resources. When you have unlimited time and you have an unlimited budget and people, that’s easy. When you have access to all the necessary resources, you don’t have to get creative. On the flipside, when you lack a resource, your brain starts to develop more curiosity and creative ideas to make up for it. 

Creativity shows up differently and at various stages for different people. Some people’s innovation comes out through the generation of the idea. For others, creativity comes out in connecting that idea to resources. Other people’s creativity comes out in connecting that idea to an actual plan. A team is best made up of all of those people. It’s good to recognize which role you play and build a team with complementary strength. 

Listen to this show for big insights on blind spots, failure, creativity and how to find the opportunity for innovation in, seemingly, unlikely situations. 


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Scaling Up is the best-selling book, by Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles, on how the fastest growing companies succeed where so many others fail.My name is Bill Gallagher, host of the Scaling Up Business podcast and a leading business coach with a Gazelles. We help leadership teams to get the 4 Decisions around People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash right so that they can Scale Up successfully and beat the odds of business growth success. Our 4 Decisions are all part of the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 (from the original best-selling business book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits).