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An important element of a great business many overlook is assembling a diverse advisory board, committed to developing your organization and exchanging knowledge. The right people bring innovative ideas, create opportunities and help a company move forward faster toward its stated objectives (or ones they didn’t even think possible). In fact, having the right people involved can be more important than having capital, because good ideas and good companies can attract low-cost capital. And it is important to note that an advisory board is different than a board of directors, focused solely on governance. The advisory members bring experience and views not found within the business, who are prepared to challenge the expectations, capabilities and vision of the organization. Jeff rejoins The Second Stage to explore this topic in depth, providing suggestions for attracting those individuals that will push your organization to new heights.

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Cool, shiny, sleek: these are the qualities we associate with top-shelf innovations. That’s because we’re constantly confronted with magazine and Internet lists of the most innovative companies that are essentially just beauty contests. At the top of all these shimmering lists are blustery bands and glitzy gadgets and chic designers.

But take a closer look and you’ll see that these sparkly objects aren’t really the best innovations. If you used these lists as an investment tool, you wouldn’t actually beat a composite growth index like the Russell 3000–you would lose your purse, your swagger, and your assumptions about what makes an innovation valuable. (more…)

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