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6 Essential Skills for Expanding Intelligence and Knowledge Sharing

What do innovators and successful entrepreneurs have in common? According to Amy Wilkinson, there are six fundamental skills that enable innovators to see opportunity and use information to thrive in situations that others would walk away from.

Wilkinson, who is founder & CEO of Ingenuity, a lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business; and author of “The Creator’s Code: Six Essential Skills of Extraordinary Entrepreneurs,” delivered a keynote at KMWorld 2018 that identified the six related skills that have helped the founders of  YouTube, Chipotle, Under Armour, Tesla Motors, Airbnb, Spanx, and others, to flourish.

According to Wilkinson, who based her book on research and interviews, the six essential skills are interrelated and can be used by anyone to expad their opportunities. Each skill builds on the next, creating momentum. While these characteristics can be learned, they also must be practiced. “If you want to be stronger you can’t go to the gym once a week,” she emphasized, and similarly these skills must be put to use.

The 22nd KMWorld conference is co-located with Taxonomy Boot Camp 2018Enterprise Search & DiscoveryText Analytics Forum ’18, and Office 365 Symposium.

The key essential behaviors outlined by Wilkinson are

  1. Find the Gap
  2. Drive for Daylight
  3. Fly the OODA Loop
  4. Fail Wisely
  5. Network Minds
  6. Gift Small Gifts

Creators stay alert to opportunity, said Wilkinson. Often, people believe they are experts and stop asking questions, while entrepreneurs continue to ask questions that are others think are crazy. Using SpaceX as an example, she noted that just as airplanes are not only used for one flight, Elon Musk plans to reuse rockets and has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to resupply the International Space Station.

KM World 2019 will be held November 5-7, 2019 at the JW Marriott in Washington, DC, with pre-conference workshops on November 4.

In a fast-moving world, you need to move quickly,” she also emphasized, using the example of RISD grads who used the combination of a steep rent increase for their San Francisco apartment, a spare air mattress, and no hotel rooms available for an upcoming conference to create a new hospitality business—Airbnb. The venture has been characterized by its creators as a 7-year overnight success, said Wilkinson, but, just as rece car drivers look out at the distance and not what is immediately in front of them, similarly, entrepreneurs need focus on the long view—and certainly not the rear view.

For companies that have already experienced success it is also important to avoid nostalgia. It is vital that they keep moving and innovating even though it may mean making some hard calls, said Wilkinson, who pointed to Netflix, which saw that the future of movie consumption would be streaming video and made the difficult decision to move from DVD by mail.

Similarly, at Intel in 1985, she said, Andy Grove and Gordon Moore realized that if the board were to bring in a new CEO, the company would certainly move  away from the memory chip business and toward the manufacturing of microprocessors. They decided that they themselves should proactively redirect themselves, symbolically walking out to the parking lot and returning as the company’s new leadership to take the company in a fresh direction.

Wilkinson continued with many examples of how entrepreneurs, whose ventures were once seen as highly risky and surely ill-fated, are now seen as brilliant business people because they approached difficult situations with a unique purpose and vision.

Many speakers—including Wilkinson—have made their presentations available at www.kmworld.com/Conference/2018/Presentations.aspx.

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