Innovation Junkies Podcast

1.18 BONUS: Top Innovations of 2021

The Jeffs share their thoughts on the top 3 innovations in 2021. Don’t miss it as they dig into: the COVID vaccine as breakthrough innovation, how adversity leads to innovation, & SpaceX, not being afraid to fail & learning from your mistakes.

Jeff Standridge: This is Jeff Standridge and this is the Innovation Junkies podcast. If you want to drastically improve your business, learn proven growth strategy, and generate sustained results for your organization, you’ve come to the right place. Over the next half hour. We’re going to be sharing specific strategies, tactics, and tips that you can use to grow your business, no matter the size, no matter the industry, and no matter the geography. Weekly, we’ll bring in a top mover and shaker, someone who’s done something unbelievable with his or her business and we’ll dig deep. We’ll uncover specific strategies, tactics, and tools that they’ve used to help you achieve your business goals. Welcome to the Innovation junkies podcast.

Hey guys, if you’re looking to put your business on the fast track to achieving sustained strategic growth, this episode is sponsored by the team at Innovation Junkie. To learn more about our growth DX, go to Now let’s get on with the show.

Jeff Standridge: Hey guys, this is Jeff Standridge.

Jeff Amerine: And this is Jeff Amerine.

Jeff Standridge: And this is a bonus episode of the Innovation Junkies podcast. What are we talking about today, partner?

Jeff Amerine: I think we’re going to cover the maybe three impressive innovations that we saw come out within the last year. How’s that sound?

Jeff Standridge: Hey. That sounds great. Let’s do it. Then let’s talk about what these innovators did that our listeners might be able to apply in their businesses. That work?

Jeff Amerine: Yeah, that sounds great.

Jeff Standridge: Super. Go for it.

Jeff Amerine: I’ll kick it off here. The first one that I think would be hard to overlook is the fact that we had two really interesting vaccines rolled out within the last year one by Pfizer, one by Moderna and they’ve kind of made it out in record time. It was less than a year from really the start of the crisis to these being available. And the thing that was interesting is they didn’t start out as targeting vaccines at all, or viruses. These were mRNA platforms that were used for potentially, for cancer treatment. And the fact, they were able to pivot that towards the Corona virus was, it’s pretty spectacular really.

Jeff Standridge: It really is. We talk about breakthrough innovation. One component of breakthrough innovation, or one type is where you take an existing business model and you use that to launch a new product. And so I think that’s kind of what we have here. At this point, it’s a new product, this mRNA type of vaccine within the existing business model of creating immunity to a particular disease, but then disruptive innovation being where something else gets disrupted, it gets taken out of the market. And we may see this mRNA be pivoted to all of the diseases that we have been vaccinating against for years. It could be the new way we vaccinate.

Jeff Amerine: Well, and it’s a quick iteration platform to where if they find a new target, they’re already talking about combining COVID-19 vaccine with the seasonal flu so that you can get it at one shot. And the thing that’s so interesting is unlike a lot of vaccines, it doesn’t use a form of dead virus. It actually targets specific receptors in your immune system to elicit the kind of response you need to generate the antibodies that will kill or resist the virus that’s in question. So it’s really pretty amazing stuff. And sometimes it’s another good indication that adversity really drives the necessity for these sorts of new innovations and they did in this case. Thank God for the bright minds at Pfizer and Moderna both.

Jeff Standridge: That’s right. We’ve talked before about one of the things that’s required for innovation is constraint or adversity. You have to do something different. So the one I’d like to talk about is actually a little more local, but it actually got some national press. We have a company here in Northwest Arkansas called Teslar Software. It’s a banking software that bolts onto the major core systems and kind of fills in the gaps. They saw a need immediately around the Small Business Administration’s administration of the paycheck protection program loans. They anticipated millions of bankers because the SBA did what they called delegated authority, where they gave the local banks the opportunity to under ride and make those decisions. And there was no platform for entrepreneurs to actually submit for their paycheck protection program.

Jeff Standridge: And so Joe Ehrhardt, the CEO of Teslar actually joined forces with Jill Castilla, from Citizens Bank of Edmond, Oklahoma, and Mark Cuban. And they created a platform that can be found at And it actually has streamlined massively the process by which small business owners, and entrepreneurs, and companies can submit for their PPP loan. So they found a need. Adversity created this need or constraints created this need. They worked rapidly much like the Moderna and Pfizer folks did to actually fill that need. And then they got traction.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah. I mean, it’s a classic case. And the other thing about that, we’ve got obviously have direct insights in many different ways and how that company operates is there’s another aspect of leadership that came into that. Joe Ehrhardt, the CEO there pushed that team really hard by necessity. I mean, the governing regulations and things were changing, were influx very rapidly and it had direct impact on the functionality of the application and how it needed to work. And so he pushed the team really hard during that sprint to get all that done. And he figured out a way, a really nice way of rewarding and it wasn’t just monetary rewards. It was time off, it was grouped bike rides, it was nice packages actually from another company out here in easy pen.

Jeff Amerine: So he coupled that idea of, hey, we’re going to work like crazy because we have to. Because the country and the industry needs this, and then we’re going to figure out a way to make it up to everybody for going through such a crazy sprint like they did. I mean, it was a good I think, a demonstration of how to couple fast innovation with appropriate reward.

Jeff Standridge: Yep. Innovation leadership got to happen.

Jeff Amerine: Exactly.

Jeff Standridge: What’s our third one?

Jeff Amerine: Well, the third one is, and this is a guy that if Marvel was ever inspired with the Tony Stark character, it was probably from Elon Musk and I’m not a fan boy by any means. I think he’s pretty hilarious sometimes, but you can’t get away from the fact that he’s done some spectacular things with the Starship as part of SpaceX. And this is an illustrative case of iterative innovation where you’re not afraid to fail along the way. The whole goal of Starship is inter planetary travel for humans so that we become a multi planet species over time. And I think he sees the earth in some ways as a burning platform because of the increasing population and whatnot.

Jeff Amerine: And so he’s driven to do this innovation, but the whole point was he’s got to be able to land the largest complete rocket, what he call Starship, after launch safely every single time. And he went through three or four failures on the route to just yesterday, safely landing this gigantic, complete rocket ship back on the pad after going to an altitude of 10 kilometers. So it’s amazing. It’s a classic example of iterative innovation, and not being afraid to fail, and to learning quickly from your mistakes so that you’ll ultimately achieve a success. I thought it was-

Jeff Standridge: And some folks are speculating that that’s going to put the Americans back on the moon in due Time. So.

Jeff Amerine: Yeah, I think it will. And not only that, if you follow Elon Musk, you can probably make a ton of money on Dogecoin too.

Jeff Standridge: That’s right. So let’s wind it down. And let’s talk about what these innovators did. We’ve talked a little bit… You got to know your customers, you got to know whom you serve, who are the ideal folks that resonate with your solutions. You find a need or a niche. Many times that need, or that niche is created by adversity or by constraints, as we’ve talked about. You work fast, you rally your team, you get them focused on a core mission to solve that need, to solve it rapidly. And then you get traction. What else?

Jeff Amerine: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And I think you’d never give up. You never give up. You understand that this process of iteration is going to be gut wrenching sometimes. You can only imagine what it’s like to see something fail, or to have a bad customer experience in the case of Teslar, when they’re rapidly rolling this stuff out. But you don’t give up. You just keep grinding away at it and ultimately those interim failures lead to a future big success. And three great examples of how that works.

Jeff Standridge: Failure is only failure if you quit. Otherwise, it’s just feedback.

Jeff Amerine: That’s right. That’s exactly right. Exciting time.

Jeff Standridge: All right guys. Yeah. That’s been Jeff and Jeff in the bonus episode of the Innovation Junkies podcast. We’ll see you soon.

Jeff Amerine: Hey folks, this is Jeff Amerine. We want to thank you for tuning in. We sincerely appreciate your time. If you’re enjoying the Innovation Junkies podcast, please do us a huge favor. Click the subscribe button right now and please leave us a review. It would mean the world to both of us. And don’t forget to share us on social media.

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