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Small Business Innovation, Growth Come From Seeing More Of What Is Around

Small business success often comes from seeing people, places, activities from a different angle and acted on those insights.

Thinking “outside the box” requires stepping out of the familiar and looking for inspiration in unfamiliar territory and viewing every day events in a different light.

One way, according to one expert, is “think harder.”

To get clients to think this way, like many consultants, Andy Stefanovich loves to provoke, to ask pointed questions, to shake things up. 

As Chief Curator and Provocateur of the branding and marketing consultancy Prophet, he helps businesses find the inspiration to innovate, grow and change. 

Stefanovich has put many of his techniques and hard question into his book Look at More,

He shares the methods that he and his team have used to help clients such as GE, Disney, Coca-Cola, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and Ritz-Carlton develop new products, build brands and audiences, grow market share, encourage work force creativity, and more. 

For Stefanovich, innovation begins with LAMSTAIH – Look at More Stuff; Think About It Harder.  LAMSTAIH (pronounced lamb’s tie) is the foundation for all of Stefanovich’s work.  “It’s less complicated, easier to learn and a lot more effective (by that I mean more likely to inspire) than the other approaches to innovation that you may have come across,” he says.  As Stefanovich explains in Look at More, LAMSTAIH is complemented by a framework for unleashing creativity known as the Five M’s, which is being used by companies around the world. 

The Five M’s are:

Mood – the attitudes, feelings, and emotions that create the context for inspiration and creativity.

Mindset – the intellectual foundation of creativity, the baseline capacity each person has for getting inspired, staying inspired and thinking differently. 

Mechanisms – the tools and processes of creativity that help people engineer inspiration into the way they work and empower their organization to embrace the kind of behavior that fosters innovation.

Measurement – takes into consideration qualitative and quantitative performance and provides individuals and organizations with guidance and critical feedback.  Measurements send a strong signal of what is important and where people should focus their passion and energy.

Momentum – the active championing and celebrating of inspiration and creativity that foster a self-reinforcing cycle for growing innovation.  Momentum is an organizational priority for inspired leaders who have a clear understanding of the other four M’s.

In the book, Stefanovich describes the Five M’s and also presents stories that show readers how innovation looks in action.  He recounts the day he spent in a Richmond, Va., cemetery helping Disney executives discover new perspectives and ways of thinking.  And the time he used the lessons of a farmer and his sustainable-growing techniques to inspire organizational behavior at a technology-protection company.  Or when his group took marketing executives from the U.S. Olympic Committee to visit a nightclub, a clothing store, a park and a movie director to help generate fresh ideas for attracting a younger audience to the Olympic Games.

Clients such as Ivy Ross, executive vice president, marketing at Gap, say they have found the methodology and processes described in the book to have proven effective. Also, they have been tested by the Center for Leadership Studies at Binghamton University

“In my book, I try to get readers to gain inspiration in their own life and in business,” he writes.  “If people in business can give themselves permission to hunt and gather ideas and inspiration, all that they’ve gathered will gel into greater solutions, renewed energy and purpose.  It’s that simple.”

About the author: Andy Stefanovich, who is Chief Curator and Provocateur at Prophet (

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