Season 3, Episode 7: Transcript

 In Transcript

Veanne Smith:  Hello and welcome to Atlanta Business Impact Radio. We’re your hosts, Veanne Smith and Sarah Lodato. We’re excited to have our listeners join us for another episode of season three, where our theme is ‘Focusing on Innovation’. Today we’re talking about cultivating innovative behaviors and ideas in the workplace. To find an expert in the area, we had to look no farther than Atlanta’s very own Nevarda Smith.

Nevarda is a director of technology, innovation and delivery for Bridge2 Solutions. He’s also the part-time CTO at DocSnap and a next-generation technology speaker. His latest venture is Innov8, a corporate workshop designed to aid in the development of dynamic solutions and prepare you to put those ideas in front of clients, shareholders and venture capitalists.

Sarah Lodato:   Nevarda is a true innovator at heart. Armed with a passion for education and technology, he’s an active member of the executive council for Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, as well as the Georgia Tech innovation roundtable. Nevarda is a top innovation speaker and is in high demand by business leaders for his fresh perspectives and innovative approach to business. Hi Nevarda. Welcome to Atlanta Business Impact Radio. [Music stops] We are so happy to have you today.

Nevarda Smith: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Veanne: Well, hey Nevarda. Before we jump into that, I have to talk about Australia. My youngest son just spent a couple of weeks over there so I thought it’d be fun to tell you that.

Nevarda:   He didn’t come back?

Veanne:  Well, that’s a long story. He had a great time and then he spent a little bit of time in Hawaii and then he was here for about 36 hours. He now is doing an outward bound in Oregon and he’s unplugged so I really haven’t been able to talk to him much about his experience in Australia. I can’t wait to do that here in a few weeks. I know he said one time along the way when I did text him, he goes, “I love it here and want to stay”.

Nevarda:          It’s very, very expensive to live there.

Veanne:           He told me that. He said the meals were crazy.

Nevarda:          Especially in the city, as you get into the cities it’s ridiculous.

Veanne:           Well, my husband wasn’t too excited. He said something along the line, “Do you know he spent like $800 on his own things while he was there?”

Sarah:  Oh my God.

Veanne:  On top of the 5 to 6,000 that it was to go. It was not an inexpensive adventure but…

Nevarda:          It’s not a cheap flight either.

Veanne:           No. He had a good time. He was with a school and he spent some time in Queensland, which I’ve really never asked you.

Nevarda:          That’s where I grew up.

Veanne:           Is that where you grew up?

Nevarda:          Yes. I grew up north of Brisbane in a Cattle Country area called Caboolture.

Veanne:           Oh, awesome. Okay. I will slice this up. He spent some time as, do you say Cairns or Cairns?

Nevarda:          Cairns it is.

Veanne:           He spent some time there and then a time in Sydney but really had a good time. Maybe you two can meet and you can teach him some innovation.

Nevarda:          Absolutely. Awesome, awesome. We can have some Australian words backwards and forwards, a nice slang.

Veanne:           He was trying to practice that before he left but I don’t know. I’d love to see. Like I said, I haven’t seen him so he may be talking funny when he comes home.

Nevarda:          He probably is.

Veanne:           Anyway, thanks for being here. It’s great to see you, as always. I would love to catch up some more but we’ll jump into the topic today, which is innovation. I know you and I had a chance to talk about some of your Innov8 workshops the other day. I was very excited and thrilled to share some of this with our listeners.

Let’s jump in. My understanding that one of the basic principles of your workshops is that you like to include the entire organization in the ideation process, which is something that probably most people aren’t used to doing.

Typically you think when you’re talking strategy that you bring the executives around the table but you don’t bring people in from the sales department or the accounting and finance group or whatever. What has been your takeaway from including everyone in the process and where are you seeing the bulk of the ideas that you are getting in these sessions, where are they coming from?

Nevarda:          You really start off at the executive level and you want to get the executive sponsorship to actually move forward with some sort of innovation process. There’s a lot of different innovation processes out there that you can utilize. The body of knowledge for innovation is right on the cusp of expanding. I think it’s going to be the next wave that we go through. We went through Waterfall, We’ve moved into Agile and now Innovation Processes is the next wave for IT.

You want to get that sponsorship from the executive level and you want to drive that down through your organization. The way to start with that is to use some online tools. There’s an online tool out there called IdeaScale. They’re at ideascale.com. You can actually go in there and you can set up a challenge and then you invite your entire organization into that challenge so you frame a problem area that you’re trying to deal with.

You’ve got a problem that you want to solve or you’ve got a solution that you want to bring forward and everybody starts going backwards and forwards inside of the tool. They put 3 or 400 characters that explains what they think is an innovative idea and people respond to that and those tools give you the capability to vote up and down those ideas.

Eventually what you end up with is a conversation that goes around that idea and it comes to the top of the stack because everybody’s saying, “That’s a great idea. That’s going to solve a problem”. Typically what I see, though, the best ideas are actually coming from those frontline people, so those people that are on telephone calls with your customers getting yelled that or the technology teams, entry-level, especially the new Millennials that are coming in.

They’re bringing together really, really innovative ideas and really being able to change the market, all those products that you’re putting together. That’s how we start. Again, you’ve got to go back from a strategic level and the organization has got to start driving that culture of innovation down into each of the business units.

Veanne:           It makes me wonder as I think of how we do Agile development here and the first process of discovery and what-not. I guess my mind is going to, I know your background and so you’re leading these sessions. If we’re going to now change how we do things and have this session of time where we’re innovating, what kind of person are we going to need to be adding to our project? How are we going to find those people?

Nevarda:          Well, actually it’s just a process. There’s a ton of books out there. There’s ‘The Little Black Book of Innovation’, which is a good one. That’s a 28-day process. There’s Google Ventures Design Sprint. You can get a book on that. Then there’s a bunch of body of knowledge. Just start to do Google searches and what you’ll find is you’ll find activities that you can work through with your teams. You can start to put together your own workshop that addresses your specific needs.

We always start. One of the workshops that I put together starts really around the business case and it goes back to Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas. That’s a tool that allows you to put together a business case to move an idea forward. It’s the stuff that the venture capitalists are after before they invest. It’s the stuff that the executives want to make sure that they’ve got before they go ahead and spend all this money on it.

That particular process is a two- or three-day workshop that you go through all the activities and you fill in the Business Model Canvas. At the end of that, you have a really good business case which you can present to either the investors or the executive. That’s going to help you move those ideas forward, but again, those ideas have come through that challenge process that we talked about before.

If you’ve built a workshop and you built a set of activities around it, that’s reproducible. You just want somebody that’s got some energy to actually drive the room, follow the script start to finish, do all of the activities and, most importantly, have some way to time box that. I always use an egg timer. When the egg timer goes off, we are done and we move on to the next thing immediately. We don’t wait. That keeps you focused on it.

These workshops are designed to actually build upon the original idea, expand upon that idea and then, at the end of it, fill in those things that the executives are interested in so they can actually invest their money in it.

The only other thing I would say is all of these workshops have a customer value focus from design thinking. It’s about putting that customer first. It’s about understanding who your customer is. Prior to these workshops, you should actually know what the customer that you’re after in the niche market that you’re going for so you can actually provide value to them.

We’ve done interviews with those customers. We’ve built personas, five or six personas around those specific customers. We always keep answering the questions back to that customer. As you start to go through a customer journey, as you’ve taken the persona itself and you’ve mapped out how they interact with whatever it is that you’re trying to build, there becomes interaction points.

It’s the gaps between those interaction points is where the best ideas come out, where the solutions come out, where the thinkers are able to ideate additional functionality or something that’s going to shortcut a particular process, especially if a person’s interacting with a piece of software. How do they interact with that software? What’s the UX design that engages them? Can a large process with some new technology shorten that particular cycle that you go through?

Veanne:           Is your belief based on what you’ve seen and what you’ve been doing so far that maybe people and organizations that classically don’t think of themselves as innovative can follow this to become innovative? They can learn. Is that your belief? Corporations can actually see value from that when they really haven’t done it before?

Nevarda:          Again, it’s something that you can learn. One of the first things that I always do at the start of every session that I do, I go through this activity that teaches people to draw cartoons. I’m not an artistic person but—

Sarah:             I think I’ve seen those commercials, right?

[Laughter]

Sarah:             Draw the turtle.

Nevarda:          Draw the turtle. We draw cartoon faces. I will give you guys the link so that you can put it in the show notes, I guess, so people can actually see that on YouTube. There’s a gentleman. I can’t remember his name off the top of my head but he actually goes into a room of people and he takes people from drawing stick figures all the way through to cartoons in like five minutes.

Sarah:             That’s awesome.

Veanne:           I need that.

Nevarda:          What that does is it breaks the barriers that we’ve grown up with. My specific barriers were, we had to behave at the table. We had to make sure that we were following the process. We had to respect authority, those types of things. All these things stifle creativity. You’ve got to break down that wall.

I get a bunch of people that come into these workshops. They think they’re not innovative. They think they’re not creative. After that session, they all of a sudden realize that, “Hey, I couldn’t draw before and now I’m drawing these cartoons and they look pretty good”. That’s that process of breaking that down and that allows people to open up and say, “Okay. Well, maybe I am creative. Maybe I am innovative”.

I do know when I first joined the Innovation Studio at Anthem, one of the interview questions to take that particular position was, “What’s your best idea to make health insurance more accessible to individuals?” Well, my answer to the question was, “I’m not the innovator guy but you give me a team of technologists and you give me a team of people that I can work with and I can drive out anything that anybody else thinks about”.

After a couple of sessions in going through processes and realizing that I’m coming up with all these ideas because I now broke down that barrier to realize that you can come up with those ideas. I think that’s really important too, to open your mind, try to push away those things that have got a brick wall to creativity away. Those activities help stimulate that.

It is a learning process. You can definitely learn it from an executive level all the way down to the line-level staff. It’s something that everybody walks away from the workshops not only tired because they’ve done a lot of work but they get excited about the process and what it can be.

Sarah:             I love that because this whole season we’re talking about innovation and throughout every single conversation it’s like, “Well, how do I do this? How can I do this? Who do I hire? What kind of creative thinkers? What does my recruiting process look like?” et cetera, which I’m sure is important in general for building a team. When you pull it away from that and say, “Everybody can do this”, right? Everyone was a creative child at one point.

Nevarda:          Exactly.

Sarah:             We can bring that. We can break those boundaries. I think that’s super empowering. Let’s say you’ve got the right process in place, you’ve got the right folks in the room. Where do you see the biggest creative hang-up still happening with folks that you’re working through?

Nevarda:          Probably that an individual gets stuck on the original idea. What the idea is that comes into the process at the start may look completely different after you started examining the personas and the customer value. Again, you’ve got to drive customer value because without that you’re not going to put a product out into the market that you’re not going to be able to sell.

Google Ventures design process, which is something that you can just buy the book on and turn it into a workshop really quickly yourself. It’s a five-day process and it starts with that ideation of maybe a seed of an idea. By the fourth day you’ve got a prototype that you’re putting in front of a customer group to get that feedback, to know whether or not to move forward with that particular idea.

Most of the time you’re wrong, right? You get that customer feedback and it’s that customer feedback loop that actually drives the product in the right direction. The biggest hang-up, I think, is really getting people to understand that if they love their idea, it’s a good idea but maybe the customer doesn’t need that, right?

It’s breaking out of that and letting go of that idea and being able to use the seed of the idea to drive something that’s either exponential or a new technology or breakthrough in the industry. I think that’s the biggest hang-up that you get. By the end of the workshop, that’s the facilitator’s job, to try and drive that creativity back.

Sarah:             Right, and driving it without, even if an idea is changing. I think one of the things I’ve seen in similar scenarios is making sure that you’re not discouraging all of the weird ideas that may not ever make it to fruition, making sure that you’re driving something forward while not discouraging the rest.

Nevarda:          I’ll pull it out of Google Ventures Design Sprint again. They say that you should phrase everything as “What if?” or “How can we?” They use an acronym in there. That takes it from being negative to positive.

Sarah:             Right.

Nevarda:          One of the things you see right at the start of any workshop is there’s some lady or man that’s sitting there and he’s done all this before, “Why am I here?” He’s the guy that says, “Oh, we’ll never be able to do that. It takes us six months to get a box up and running”. Well, you say, “Well, what if we could get a box up and running in 15 minutes?” “Oh, that’s not possible”.

Well, it is because you’ve got things like IBM Bluemix and Amazon Web Service capability that you can spin up the services that you need or spin up the boxes you need in minutes. IBM Bluemix is a great example of that. If you need a docket container and a web server and an enterprise business bus and a web API output layer, you click the boxes and you hit ‘generate’ and 11, 12 minutes later you’ve got all that stuff.

Not only have you got all that stuff, it’s all integrated, ready to utilize. You didn’t have to spend six months unwrapping a blade server and slotting it into something and then installing software and software. All that stuff’s now automated. From a technology perspective, there’s no barrier to entry for anybody anymore.

Sarah:             Right. That’s awesome. Since we’re talking about having good ideas and turning them into something tangible, I feel like we have to mention young people because they’re really great. I feel like almost they’re the ones that are pushing this drive to execute very quickly. You serve on multiple boards at Georgia Tech. What are you seeing from young people in terms of ideation? How do you think that technology is affecting that in that same vein?

Nevarda:          I do have a lot of interns. I like to bring the interns in. I’ll take interns from their first year all the way to just about ready to graduate. I work highly collaboratively with those guys. They need some structure around them as well to get those ideas to move forward. I think the design processes themselves, the design thinking and the activities that you work through or the way to actually corral them in and actually move those ideas forward.

They like to work at a rapid pace as well. I do notice that when they start working with me they look very tired at the end of the days but the next day they’re energized to come back again and get engaged. Typically what I’ve seen is, if we put those types of individuals in a standard development cycle, very few of them will stay for very long, right?

If you look at the turnover rate of each one of these Millennials, you’re going to see six months, five months, eight months, nine months, right? If they’re not active and they don’t feel like they’re delivering something of value, they’re going to move on. There’s no…

Sarah:             Right, which should be a good thing, right? Why would you want folks that are stagnant or that are happy in that type of scenario?

Nevarda:          I think the old development processes, the Waterfall processes, to some extent some of the Agile processes, if you’re not actually implementing Agile, if maybe you’re doing requirements gathering and you’re calling that Sprint One, well, that’s really not Sprint One.

Sarah:             We’ve heard a lot of creative names for those types of Fragile and Scrummerfall.

Nevarda:          Scrummerfall, yes. I think the key there is to keep people and keep these Millennials engaged and keep them working on something that’s exciting for them. Again, if you take a look at where technology has come to, you don’t have the old things that used to be there. You don’t really need the people to be setting up those boxes and taking that’s their job and that’s what they do.

Sarah:             Right.

Nevarda:          You don’t need a deployment engineer anymore. It’s all automated. You have to script the tests but you don’t need to sit there and actually test all of the functionality because 80 percent of it’s now automated. You spend your time building the automation code that’s going to do the tests. If they check a piece of code and it’s going to tell them immediately what’s going on. I think those tools are what are allowing us to shorten the development cycles and get out to market really quickly.

Again, once you’re out to market with that product, that’s where you’re going to get that feedback on, are you on the right track or are you not? We do as much as we can during prototyping but the market’s going to tell you immediately and that’s what you want that feedback loop so you can adjust.

Sarah:             Exactly.

Veanne:           Get it out early so the faster we can innovate and get some proof of concept out there, the less money that is spent and they can start getting the real work and the real feedback so that they spend the money wisely.

Nevarda:          Not only that. You can start to bring revenue in from the particular product.

Veanne:           Right, even better.

Nevarda:          It’s no longer 12 months to put a product out. You can have a product. If you take the scaled Agile framework, for example, they have a process where the whole point of this is just-in-time requirements. Get it out to the market as fast as possible. I’ve utilized that and I’ve seen that people are actually pushing stuff out, Sprint Two. Four weeks into the cycle, it’s hitting the market.

Guess what you’re getting. You’re getting that feedback. You may know what the functionality’s going to be but now you’re able to adapt to what the market’s telling you with the feedback of the product. It’s constant innovation. It’s constant cycling back through. It’s constant improvement. That’s where you’ve got to be with products these days. Again, if you take 12 months to put a product out, that market may have shifted and you may not be able to sell that product anymore.

Veanne:           Somebody got there ahead of you. It’s like that was going to happen. Well, alright. While we’re talking about being young and having ideas that are reflective of our times, let’s rewind for you real quick and talk about some of the things that you did on your path to where you are now. Maybe you can think about some of the idea that you’ve had that brought you to a place of guiding others in this innovative process that you’re working in now.

Nevarda:          My journey really started in Australia. I guess I graduated in, I’m going to date myself, [Crosstalk] [20:53] 1993.

Sarah:             Some time ago.

Nevarda:          I had a full-time job but there was a process that the government in Australia utilized for request for proposals. They needed to solve a problem where the water system at that point was owned by the government. You basically, instead of it being deregulated, the government owned the water system and the general services, the electricity and the rest of the stuff. It was deregulated later.
If they had to have a way that people could turn, their workers could turn on and off water without them driving back to the home office, because that was the process. They’d get in their truck, they’d drive out and they’d drive back to get their next work order.

I put in a proposal, really cheap and because it’s government they take the cheapest bid. It doesn’t matter where the quality is. They just take the cheapest bid. Of course, I’m a single individual. I can build this thing and do it. I didn’t know how I was going to build it at the time. Once the proposal came back and I signed the contract with them, I actually built a solution that ran over the paging network. Pagers…

Veanne:           This is back in the ’90s?

Nevarda:          This is back in the ’90s.

Veanne:           Wow.

Nevarda:          The pagers themselves were these little boxes, for the people that don’t understand what a pager is and it would go beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep, right? It would take a stream of data up to 140 characters and that’s where Twitter came from by the way, from the paging network. You could only send 140 characters.

Veanne:           I thought you were going to say it came from Nevarda Smith.

Sarah:             I know. I was like, “Wait”.

[Laughter]

Nevarda:          I wish.

Sarah:             I’ve been looking for you.

[Laughter]

Nevarda:          I would send the data over this paging network, 140 characters at a time. Apparently that was very innovative for the time.

Veanne:           Absolutely.

Nevarda:          Oracle, because it was an Oracle back-end system that I had to integrate with to push the data to and get the data out to the laptops and allow people to select and say, “Yes, I’m going to take this work order” because it was close to them. Oracle found out about it and they asked me to speak at Oracle Open World in, I’m thinking it was ’94 or ’95. It was in Brisbane. You can look it up.

I just showed them what I did and then there was a company, Indus International, that I started working with, that wanted to put it into their software. That was the first job that I had in America, which was to put that product into the base product. I think they were TSW at the time. Then…

Veanne:           That’s how you ended up here?

Nevarda:          Yes.

Veanne:           That’s where you and I first met.

Nevarda:          Yes. Six weeks I was supposed to be here. I never went home.

[Laughter]

Veanne:           That’s crazy.

Nevarda:          That was the first thing that I did. Then after that I worked with Indus International in asset maintenance software. I was always the guy that they sent out to fix the sins of the company. I liked to use the joke, as a director I don’t always code but, when I do, I do it directly in production.

 

[Laughter]

Veanne:           That’s good.

Nevarda:          That’s what I was doing. I was fixing production outages systems and I was hacking code on the fly to get their systems back up and running. I pretty much flew all over the world with Indus International to go and fix all these installations. After that, I worked with GE Power Systems and did some, again, in the asset maintenance realm.

I moved across to the healthcare space and that’s where I started to realize that software can make a difference. I built a pharmaceutical integration product that allowed six or eight million dollars worth of product to go out the back door every day.

I did all the integration between UPS, FedEx, the CRM, the Oracle CRM and the actual system that sent the totes around to get the drugs to put in them from each of the pharmacies because each of the pharmacists were in their own cube and they had certain drugs that they could dispense. The tote would go around. It was quite exciting to write software that would scan that code and say, “Yes, that tote needs to go here”.

From there I moved into Anthem and I was hired to do some integrations work with them. I found out that my son, at the time he might have been one or two, he slipped and hit his head on the corner of the bottom of the stairs, got a big lump.

My wife’s out there yelling at me saying, “Oh, we’ve got to go to the hospital. We’ve got to go to the hospital” and I’m like, “Shake it off, shake it off”, but it did get big and I was like, “We need to go” but I couldn’t find a hospital because, at the time, that particular company didn’t have the ability for me to use my mobile phone to find one. We ended up going to an emergency room, which was Kennesaw at the time. I ended up with a $1,800 bill from the output of that because it was out of the network.

Sarah:             Oh, right.

Veanne:           For a bump on the head.

Nevarda:          For a bump on the head because it was a CAT scan and all the rest of it.

Veanne:           Oh, goodness.

Nevarda:          From there I went straight to them and said, “Look, we’ve got to get ability for customers to find a doctor when they need it now”. That was the start of it. I built a cross-platform HTML application that could run under the old flip phones that did just, I think they called it Wapple Whack or something. It was just text-based.

Veanne:           Maybe.

Nevarda:          Then also if you had a BlackBerry you could bring it up in a browser and it would shape it to the BlackBerry. This was before the time of iPhones and Androids, although Android may have been out. That was the first thing. Then after that I built their entire mobile application development team from myself all the way through to, we had 90 to 100 people at the end of that.

Sarah:             Wow.

Nevarda:          Again, that’s because of the multiple back-end systems integrations. Then I started working with the Anthem Innovation Center and built their whole technology stack as far as how we were going to build these prototypes, how we were going to do this and got introduced to innovative processes and then started reading a bunch of books on it and eventually developing my own workshops from all the books and all the body of knowledge that’s out there that I’ve read.

Veanne:           That’s really impressive. Now it’s hard to believe. I guess you’ve been here 20 years in Atlanta.

Nevarda:          I think we did the math. It was 23 years, 22 years the other day. I was like, “I’ve just about crossed that threshold where I’ve been [Crosstalk] [27:18] here longer than in Australia”.

Veanne:           Been here longer than where you..I crossed that threshold a while back.

[Laughter]

Veanne:           I think I’ve been here 30-something and that’s longer than where I was.

Nevarda:          You’re 29. How is that possible?

[Laughter]

Sarah:             Wow.

Veanne:           Seems like I’m 29.

Sarah:             She’s also a magician.

[Laughter]

Veanne:           Alright. Given that you’ve now been here in Atlanta for a while, I’d love to get your perspective. We hear a lot of people say that Atlanta’s on its way to becoming a tech hub and others say we’re already there. What do you think Atlanta’s doing to spawn new tech talent and foster growth in tech companies? What’s your opinion on that?

Sarah:             Georgia Tech is a real hub that’s being built out. There’s an innovation center in the Centergy building there. You’ve got Delta, Anthem, Home Depot, a southern company that’s in there. Plus on the second floor and I think the fourth as well, they’ve got ATDC, which is an incubation for startups.

They teach you a process of how to put together the business case to sell your idea to get the investments. Then they support you in doing your development efforts for that particular product and help you get it out to the market. There are maybe 60 companies, maybe 48, somewhere between 48 and 60. I don’t know why 48 came to mind but maybe there are 48 companies down there.

They’re also building the massive computing center. It’s 750,000 square feet of office space that’s going to allow innovative companies to actually go in there and technology companies to go in there. You’ve also got Honeywell that’s starting their innovation lab here as well.

Then there’s a bunch of other companies that are out there, big-name companies that are starting to realize that we are on the cusp of a change from the way we develop software and innovation and innovation processes is the way that’s moving. I think we’re where the internet was in 1990. We’re probably where Agile was when it started to take hold as well, that the processes are changing. The speed to market has to be there. You have to get things out very, very quickly.

Going back to SAFe, SAFe just released 4.5 and they’ve built into their process now. Before, on the fifth Sprint, you did what’s called PI planning, which is planning out the next 10 weeks. They used to have a line in this that this is where you do your innovation, right? They didn’t tell you how.

They’ve now built in the release 4.5 and that’s the Scaled Agile Framework. If you search that online you can find it. Dean Leffingwell is the guy that started this SAFe process up. He’s now got a foundation for a process. I think they’re setting the groundwork now for people to be able to run workshops and go through this process. It’s going to allow a lot more companies to be able to do that.

Again, they’re at the foundation level but I think when they come out with, SAFe 5.0, I think that the big changes in SAFe 5.0 are all going to be around this innovation because that’s where you’ve got to move to get stuff out to the market.

Veanne:           I love your perspective. I appreciate you sharing that with us. You’ve got lots of background to base those opinions on and so I’ve learned a lot. You’ve obviously been an avid reader. I appreciate you sprinkling some of your own learning into this conversation today. It will be great. Maybe we can name those books again at the end.

Nevarda:          I’ll definitely get a link server to you so you get a look at them.

Sarah:             Cool. Since we’re talking about innovation this season, we wanted to share some of the creative things that we’ve heard about recently and play a little game. I’m going to tell you about three innovative ideas related to the automotive industry. Two of them—

Veanne:           You’ve not worked in automotives, have you?

Nevarda:          No.

Veanne:           Good. We picked a good one.

Sarah:             Perfect. This guy knows too much.

[Laughter]

Sarah:             Two of them are bogus, okay? You get to guess which one of the following innovations is the real deal. Ready?

Nevarda:          Yes.

Sarah:             Okay. First off, I’m going to put on my commercial voice. GM is creating a Cadillac that comes equipped with a drone that finds and holds a parking space for you. It will be able to detect empty squares of pavement from above and will land in the space until you arrive. That’s number one.

Number two is, Bentley has created an SUV that some call ‘The Ultimate In-Car Falconry Kit’, exclusively for customers who own birds of prey. It comes with a perch, leather tether, a GPS bird tracking unit and a bird hood. Alright.

Number three, Tesla has introduced a fitness mode on their newest models. Fitness mode goes into cruise control, then the fun starts. Hydraulic bike pedals drop down, allowing you to have a spin class in your car. Aside from getting your blood pumping, the pedals actually charge your battery while you’re exercising. What do you think Nevarda?

Nevarda:          Well, I know how much it costs to charge a Tesla. If we could power it with our feet, I think that one’s wrong.

[Laughter]

Nevarda:          The drone one sounds really cool but I don’t know how that works in the city because they’re clamping down on that.

Sarah:             Oh, right.

Nevarda:          The Bentley one, no way. I think the drone is the real one.

Sarah:             The drone is the one? Well, the falconry Bentley is actually the real one.

Nevarda:          More money than sense, but hey.

[Laughter]

Sarah:             It’s real and apparently it starts at $230,000, the retail price. You have to be really into your falconry.

Nevarda:          I’ll take two.

[Laughter]

Sarah:             Obviously you’ve got a lot of birds to wrangle. I just want to know what that bird hood is.

Nevarda:          That stops the bird actually attacking you. If it’s in the back of the car, you don’t want it coming up and ripping your eyes out while you’re driving.

Sarah:             That’s true.

[Laughter]

Sarah:             Okay, a little different spin on the game. Let’s pretend all three of these are real. I’d love to know which one you would choose, both Nevarda and Veanne, if you all were looking for a car today.

Nevarda:          I think parking was really hard to find the entrance to this place so I would take the drone. Go find me a parking spot and not only that. Hold it.

Sarah:             That’s where it goes. It’s like you can find it but you need to know that no one else is going to take it.

Veanne:           Well, I was going to say that but since I don’t want to copy you, I’m going to take the Tesla just because I’ve been all on fitness and wellness lately. If I really could be driving a really nice car like a Tesla and getting my [Phonetic] [33:54] workout in and not look too dorky at the same time, I’d probably go with number three, door number three.

Sarah:             Get your workout in. I like it. I like it. I think I do that fitness mode because despite the fact that it’s not helping the car perhaps, as long as it helps me, they have those little bikes that you can put the pedals under your desk and stuff. It’s like Flintstones?

Nevarda:          It’s 2017 Flintstones.

Sarah:             That’s right.

Veanne:           Well, I only live a few miles. I always think, “I’ve got to ride a bike but I just don’t think I’ll look cool on the bike”. If I could look cool in a car, like a Porsche or a Tesla, and get my exercise [Crosstalk] [34:29], I think I’d be up for that.

Sarah:             Exactly.

Nevarda:          Cool.

Sarah:             Awesome. Nevarda, it has been such a pleasure having you here. I know that you and Veanne have had a really great history. I’m sure it’s been great catching up. We love having creative people in the studio. If our listeners are interested in taking your workshop and also perhaps getting to know some of those resources that you have mentioned, how can they reach out to you?

Nevarda:          I think I’ll provide all those links to you so that you can put them in the show notes and then people can click on those books. Those books are a great place to start. You can always find me on LinkedIn. I’m also on Twitter so I’ll put my Twitter handle in there as well so you can interact with me on Twitter.

Sarah:             Awesome.

Veanne:           Nevarda, thanks so much. It really has been good catching up. We’re far overdue for our breakfast so thanks for sharing. It’s great to hear some of the great things you’re working on these days.

Nevarda:          I appreciate it.

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