Business Innovation is Our Forte

Just weeks before their America’s Got Talent audition Josh Page of New York, Hana Ryu of South Korea and Fernando Varela of Puerto Rico met on the internet. Never before performing in front of an audience, these three strangers got on stage to perform on national television. Mel B asked them how they met, how long they had been together and where they had sang together before. Their answers led to skepticism from the judges as well as myself because they had met on the internet, practiced via Skype and had never sung for anyone as a group before their audition. I remember thinking, “this is going to be a joke”. Well it was a joke and the joke was on me because their voices brought me to tears. I watched the video 3 times in a row and could not understand how three strangers could sound so harmonious. They honestly sounded better than groups that have been together for decades. The group is called Forte and although they have since replaced an original member, they are gaining notoriety. This is all because they were willing to take a risk and try something new. They had a plan and because they didn’t worry about how unconventional their plan may have been they are now a singing group that has the attention of the world.

How many times have you had a business idea and didn’t follow through with it because you knew it was unconventional? How many times have you seen that idea come to fruition at the hands of someone else and wanted to kick yourself? Historically, the most unconventional ideas are called innovative over time. Imagine Alexander Graham Bell telling his friends about his idea for his new invention. I piece of metal with a wire attached that would allow you to speak to someone down the street or across the ocean. I would have thought he was crazy and now we walk around with phones in our pockets and will literally drop everything and go back home if we leave it there.

The world of business is full of these stories and we must use them as inspiration. Through the introduction of new ideas we broaden the market. If we are not willing to take risks in business, our businesses will not grow. Forte took a huge risk but they are still reaping the rewards that came with the risk. Their idea was innovative in that they found each other online, they were literally total strangers. They are singers which is an industry that is hard to break into because it is already flooded with talent. Then on top of all of the other factors that may have prevented their success, they practiced via Skype which would have been impossible not so long ago. But they used technology, diversity and innovation to accomplish the impossible and so can you.

Forte Singing Group

Is your technology out dated? Sometimes we can get stuck because we are scared of the unknown. The same thing happens in business. If three strangers can meet and practice via the internet imagine what that can do for your business. The telephone broadened the market so that now we have video conferencing. Now, I understand that video conferencing is nothing new, but never before has it been so accessible and affordable. Video conferencing could be just what your business needs to reach the next level of success or even expansion. Diversity is what every business needs. Through diversity we get different takes on the same ideas. This is because no one person sees something the same way and no two things are alike. Forte is comprised of three people from three different countries, with three different styles, three distinctly different voices, three different looks and the only thing they probably had in common was that they were all tenors. But when their voices came together it was pure magic and that is the power of diversity. As for innovation, where would the world be without innovators? No cars because we would have no wheels, no light because there would be no bulbs, no computers because there would be no phones. At the heart of everything we use daily is innovation. Be an innovator. All this takes is an idea, a good business plan and belief in your potential. The members of Forte are innovators because never in the history of America’s Got Talent has a group entered the contest being comprised and formed the way Forte was but I can almost guarantee that it will not be the last time we see groups formed this way.

The idea of business innovation should also be considered when you are marketing your programs through the use of promotional items and giveaways. I have been in the specialties industry since 1991 and was one of the first promotional products e-commerce stores on the web.  So I know first hand how innovation can help grow your business successfully. Our most advanced and especially unique custom items are always a hit. There is no better way to get your audience’s attention then with a unique promo gift. Who doesn’t like a new promotional idea?

Often we make things harder than they have to be by over thinking or worrying about what others may think of our ideas. But with a little courage and a lot of hard work and planning you can take your business to new heights.

How have you been an innovator in business?

Has diversity and/or technology helped your business?


50 thoughts on “Business Innovation is Our Forte

  1. oh, this is so true, Arleen – “the most unconventional ideas are called innovative over time” – well said!

    To answer your question – I have been innovative (per say) by becoming a freelancer. In my home country, “work from home” is often (if not always) associated with scam and is not at all a popular work model… 5 years ago i took a leap and now i am very happy that i take full advantage of the internet 😀

    Rather than that – i don’t think i am quite an innovative person… have had hundreds of ideas, a few of them are into the works now and hopefully – at least 1 or 2 will come to life soon.

    Thanks for the great post – sharing it over on social media, too!
    Diana recently posted…How the Client Sees Your Freelance ApplicationMy Profile

  2. Arleen, I agree that innovation is important for long term survival. Innovation that is untethered to market knowledge and understanding, however, can become a big waste of time and resources. The young men of Forte had a focus for their innovation…they wanted to get on and succeed on the TV show. Their innovation would have been much less effective if they didn’t have that focus. Great, thought provoking post!

  3. Forte! What an awesome group! They saw great possibilities, trusted each other, and as they say, the rest is history. Many times we fail, because of the lack of self trust. If you have an idea, a solution to a problem, etc. don’t be so timid. Go for it. Don’t be afraid of what others might say, or think. Don’t look to the right or to your left. Develop tunnel vision, and focus on your goal. Blessings.
    Dr. Johnny Velazquez recently posted…Thank You!My Profile

  4. Thanks for posting this – I’ve never heard of these guys before, but they’re fantastic. We’re so lucky to live in an age where the technology exists to bring together these fantastically talented musicians, who are also smart enough to harness their possibilities. Often we see risk as a stumbling block, or use it as an excuse to cop out, when we should be embracing it and be tickled by the chance to try something new. That’s always been my philosophy. You’re absolutely right, that innovation is at the heart of everything we use daily!
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted…Lincoln MKZ: The car that parks itselfMy Profile

    • Krystyna- If you don’t take that risk you will never know the outcome. The worst that can happen is nothing and best can be it worked. Just try it. Forte were amazing and they truly brought tears to yours eyes when they did their actual performances.
      Arleen recently posted…Business Innovation is Our ForteMy Profile

  5. Oh my, what beautiful voices. I totally believe that they met on the internet. I still believe that extroverts don’t get social media – and introverts do. We like being home. Not to say we don’t go out into the world but to meet up and practice online then perform onstage for the first time. I’d totally do that 🙂

    I love your connection to thinking outside the box in business too. I think my only fear of thinking outside the box is that someone will spin it as something negative but I would hope that if your heart is in the right place. It’s all good 🙂
    Joanne recently posted…10 things to do over the weekend with the familyMy Profile

    • Joanne- Today to hear voices like Forte is not the norm and it was interesting is that they did make it to the finals. They didn’t win but boy did they get exposure. You can’t worry about about what other people will thing or do. Own it and go for it.
      Arleen recently posted…Business Innovation is Our ForteMy Profile

  6. With Google Hangouts, video conferencing is FREE. I love it. If you want you can even stream it directly to YouTube, live. That’s something that is on my list for when my book is finished.

    These guys ARE terrific. They reminded me a bit of the three Italian tenors who make up the group Il Volo. Granted they have been singing together all their lives unlike Forte. The similarity is that both these kind of shows (which I typically do not watch) and technology are part of what helps all this happen today.

    Thanks Arleen!
    Patricia Weber recently posted…Publisher and author: editing relationship of one introvertMy Profile

    • Patricia- Forte was a nice break from Hip Hop. I also thought of the three tenors when I saw them as well. If it hadn’t been for technology and thinking outside of the box this group would have never formed. After Josh was asked to come on stage and sing with Josh Groban, he knew he had to follow a dream.
      Arleen recently posted…Business Innovation is Our ForteMy Profile

  7. Hi Arleen,

    What a powerful post – and what incredible voices! That’s a very inspirational story. You’re right about the way in which people who’ve had the courage to innovate have revolutionised our lives.

    I’ve never worked in business, but in my last job I took a bit of a leap in designing specialist training courses for clinicians, using a lot of stories, visual images, humour and interaction in order to help them understand some pretty complicated legal stuff – it was quite a departure from the way most training was being done and I got really positive feedback because people had fun in the sessions and actually went away feeling they had a better grasp of the legislation.

    My current ‘leap’ involves having a go at creative writing, which is something I’ve only recently realised I might be able to do.

    I think businesses that fail to innovate are unlikely to thrive, particularly in the current environment – it’s important to listen to staff who may have ideas about how things could be done differently, and to be prepared to take risks, because not all innovations will necessarily succeed – but I think the risk of stagnation is greater than the risk of failure from trying something new.
    Susan Neal recently posted…A Simple but Powerful Writing Tip From Ricky GervaisMy Profile

    • Susan- That was so elegantly said. You were able to to do things outside of your comfort zone and that is what taking a risk is all about. I don’t think singing is my forte so that is something I wouldn’t do but there are so many things one can do that is innovative. You can learn something from everyone. If we spent more time listening, as everyone brings something to the table.
      Arleen recently posted…Business Innovation is Our ForteMy Profile

  8. Generating new ideas is tougher than it seems. Many bloggers often have trouble generating new content for their blogs, and have to appeal to others for help. To me, this is sensible, since two heads are better than one, and a hundred is even better!

    Innovation is necessary in order for growth to occur.

    Creativity is most evident in children, since they often don’t put any thought to what others will think; as adults, we can take a lesson.
    Lorraine Reguly recently posted…My Ebook Cover and Mass Emailing CatastropheMy Profile

  9. Hi Arleen,

    We know that America started with a bunch of pioneers who gathered together here in the land. This country was built together with a bunch of business entrepreneurs who were willing to take risks and became pretty successful.

    When it comes to taking the RISK, somehow we know there is a chance that it might work. But…sometimes some people can be immobilized taking that risk because they are afraid to fail.

    The “fear of the unknown” can be pretty scary coz you don’t know or you cannot see what’s in the end. Guess your post reminds me of Adrienne’s post at Google+. She posted this image that says “The Greatest Mistake You Can Make In Life Is To Continually Afraid You Will Make One.” Here’s one of my answer to her:

    “Fear of the unknown is what a lot of people experience. We don’t like to fail or be humiliated by others. So instead of going forward some people just won’t take any chances. And so what happens is…Fear can immobilize one’s action. ‘Ah better be safe than sorry,’ they might say. But then some people don’t realize that only thru ‘trial and error’ we can comprehend.

    Take Benjamin Franklin for instance, I bet he had failed many times before he even discovered electricity. But because he ‘believe’ he wasn’t afraid to experiment some things. He read many books. He worked alone. He was “determined” to prove that lightning was electricity.

    If Benjamin Franklin didn’t take that ‘chances’ before, we would still be in candles, we wouldn’t have electricity or computers today.”

    You know the video conferencing have gone a long way. I have seen singers that couldn’t make it on stage because of disability of some sort but one is able to sing via Skype. I tell ya…what an mazing technology we have today!!!

    Without the “innovators” we wouldn’t be where we at today. Since I’ve found out I’m more of the Right brain person and the R hemisphere is willing to take more RISK than the L hemisphere…YES, I have been innovating more and more lately. Coming out of that shell. Taking the risk more. Having my business online (which I’ve never done before) is definitely a RISK for me. I dunno if I’m going to fail or succeed…but whatever happens I just believe that…Success is NOT the opposite of Failure, but rather it is a PATH that you have to PASS in order to reach the Land Of Success.

    Great post, Arleen. You are very articulate in your post. You have shown us both in videos and text, you do have a good head on your shoulder and I admire you a lot. Have a great evening dear friend…

    Angela McCall recently posted…The Left Brain vs. The Right BrainMy Profile

  10. Hi Arleen,

    Loved the video. I’m always a fan of singing groups. I agree with being innovative. I also believe that in addition, you need to be flexible and evolve as well. As entrepreneurs, we need to stay fresh, we need to stay relevant and like you said we need to stay innovative. Loved today’s message Arleen! Thanks for sharing the video by the way. 🙂
    Nate Leung recently posted…Personal Development: 5 Secrets To Living a Long and Happy LifeMy Profile

  11. What an excellent post, it gives me inspiration. I’m not sure which is more frightening, trusting in your own ideas or daring to be different. Those two concepts are central to success in any business arena and they are also huge hurdles for most people to get past. It’s long standing knowledge that those companies that have had long term success have done so by always having some aspect of their operations performing on the fringe of their market, taking chances on new ideas. Thank you for the reminder that he who hesitates is lost. It couldn’t have come a t better time for me. 🙂
    Debra Yearwood recently posted…We Are Built For ChangeMy Profile

  12. I love your words! What spoke to me the most was this: “All this takes is an idea, a good business plan and belief in your potential.” How true! And you can’t have success without all three. Just the other day I heard about a particular cookbook (featuring Texas musicians) that was just being published – one of it’s kind. Yeah, I had that idea YEARS ago but never acted upon it. Why? Well, fear of failure probably, fear of not knowing how to make it happen, and I probably didn’t believe in my own potential. I have learned so much over the years and am thankful that I’m much more confident in my abilities and that encompasses my new blog and where it might take me! Thanks for a wonderful example with the group Forte too!
    Pamela Heady recently posted…Celebrations! (Part 2) Alaska-Style!My Profile

  13. I saw this video of them auditioning after never having met each other in person Arleen. I didn’t realize that the other guy has since backed out but that doesn’t seem to be an issue for these young gentlemen.

    This is one of the things I continue to tell people who are building businesses here online. Some amazing things can come from the relationships you form. Businesses can be built, products can be created, communities can be formed. My goodness, it’s just endless the possibilities that are available to us since technology has come so far.

    Think outside the box and don’t get stuck in a rut. Look at all the things so many people are doing online now that would have never thought they could before. I’m one of those people by the way.

    Great post Arleen and you always have fabulous lessons to share with us too. This is just yet another one of those.

    Adrienne recently posted…Thankful Thursday: Blog Traffic, Tools, Reviews, History & CommentsMy Profile

    • Adrienne- You hit the nail on the head. Think outside of the box and don’t get stuck in a rut. When I started on online promotional products business in the early 90’s I was told I was nuts. Today it seems like every advertising company is the internet. I have to keep coming up with more ideas.
      Arleen recently posted…Business Innovation is Our ForteMy Profile

  14. Hi Arleen,

    When you mentioned innovation in business and being ahead the time it crossed my mind my countryman famous inventor Nikola Tesla. I even wrote a couple of posts about him. Maybe from today’s perspective he wouldn’t be the good example of a successful businessman – he died poor and alone, but he never regret it.

    What Nikola Tesla and this band have in common is the courage to try something different despite what others say and how impossible it can be.

    Thanks for the share, I enjoyed your inspiring post.

    Dragan Palla recently posted…Marketing: It’s All About AttitudeMy Profile

  15. You are so right about needing to take that first step. Think about before Carl Lewis, Usain Bolt, or other athletes could become masters of their sport, they had to learn how to crawl, walk, run, train, and take risks. Business is no different. We don’t wake up one morning and implement an idea that makes us billions of dollars overnight.

    Forte was a great example for this post!

    Thank you for sharing!
    Mark Brody recently posted…A Leadership ExperienceMy Profile

  16. I had some friends in the past that were sending and recording songs through the use of messengers and such at one time. One of them had all the mixing equipment at his place so they would set up their samples and send it to him. It was an interesting way of setting the arrangements. This was before the use of stuff like Skype. Most people were still on dial up modems at the time so it was very slow to transfer files.
    Jon Jefferson recently posted…It could happenMy Profile

  17. Hi Arleen, great article and helpful information as usual, I saw and heard these guys at their very first audition aired on America’s Got Talent an I’m with you my first thoughts were that that’s to amazing for that to be their first time performing together.but I also knew that they were something special.

    You thoughts on taking risks, being unique and not being afraid to try something new are all well worth the time of reading it. Not only are those elements basic and essential to successful internet marketing mindset but life in general. Thanks for your insight! 😉
    Tony recently posted…Learn Internet Marketing Skills and Make an Income from HomeMy Profile

    • Tony- I thought the group was amazing and was happy that voices like these were able to be heard. What made them interesting was the risk that they took to get to American’s Got Talent. You need to take risks to be successful or you will stagnant. Thank you Tony for stopping by.
      Arleen recently posted…Business Innovation is Our ForteMy Profile

  18. Innovation matters so much in writing. I cringe when I see authors jumping on this or that current genre trend, and yet they have nothing new to add to the body of work that exists. More often than not, it’s the reader who can communicate universal feelings but in a new way that will take hold of a reader’s attention. An authentic voice, whether on the page or elsewhere, counts for so much.
    Jeri recently posted…New Release: A Menu of DeathMy Profile

  19. Hey Arleen been a while.
    What a great story. I am constantly amazed at what is possible in our day and age. With all these things connecting us we sometimes think we are not really connecting anymore at all. Then these guys get together and show us what is possible.
    I also thought a little about this today while I was writing my post because I have “virtually” met so many amazing people through blogging, that would otherwise not have been possible in real life.
    You are right we need to embrace it all!
    have a great day
    Ashley Faulkes recently posted…Why do I blog? Why do you?My Profile

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