Big news: For the first time, a movie studio will release its movie simultaneously on Facebook and on DVD. That’s right. With the release of Abduction on Tuesday from Lionsgate, consumers are getting more options for how they view entertainment. Is this event major news? Yes. Why? Because it showcases the power of innovative thinking: the ability to embrace and try new ways to distribute media.

What can you learn from Lionsgate?

Lionsgate’s deal with Facebook suggests that the social media giant can offer online video rentals in a way that no other platform can deliver. Plus, Facebook offers unique insight into viewer behavior and demographics because of the priceless personal information it can gather through its platform, which can then be used for all sorts of future marketing activities.

Lionsgate’s move to prioritize Facebook as a digital delivery platform demonstrates new thinking, and the willingness to try something that has never been done before. Today’s business world demands innovation, and many people are reluctant to pursue new ideas—especially if they are not used to taking creative risks.

Here are some examples that offer some insights:

Reflecting back on 2011, Fast Company noted these major memorable risks: 

  • Cisco gave up the Flip camera business;
  • Microsoft overpaid for Skype, acquiring the company for $8.5 billion, which was nearly three times Skype’s market value;
  • AT&T bid for T-Mobile and then bailed;
  • Groupon turned down a $6 billion buyout bid from Google and instead went public;
  • Netflix announced a 60% price hike and then created a second company—Qwikster (which soon collapsed among a backlash of customer complaints about the need to create two separate accounts and pay for two separate services that originally were one).

Although innovation offers no guarantee, it remains key to success in the industry. Here are 6 key takeaways to tap into your inner innovator:

  1. Ask yourself to be crazy. Eliminate your fear of failure and sit with the question: “what is the most outlandish business idea I can imagine?” But be prepared: As soon as you list out the answers, your brain will kick in with, “wait one minute, you don’t have enough clout, signing authority, money, prestige and data to support the decision.” You could debate with yourself forever, but action is the best way to become smarter. Do you think Apple would have invented the iPad and iPhone without first creating its failed Newton?
  2. Keep at it. The old adage “persistence pays off” exists for a reason. You may not recognize how far you have come until you take a break and lift your nose from the grindstone to see…you made it!
  3. Follow the breadcrumbs. When you are curious about something, pursue it. Just imagine if Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, hadn’t wondered what would happen if there was an online environment where people could easily connect with and communicate with each other?
  4. Break out of tradition. Too often organizations are so entrenched in their ways that they lose sight of all the opportunities that exist right in front of them.
  5. Embrace others. Make sure that while you are trailblazing you don’t leave your greatest supporters in the dust. Break out of the mentality of doing it on your own.  Know who your “go to” people are.  Identify your greatest champions, those who will thoroughly challenge your idea because they want to see you succeed.
  6. Observe what is not working. Recognize what needs improvement and then adapt.  Try out new ideas by visually conceptualizing via storyboarding and video. Pilot as soon as possible.

To make great strides you also must be willing to risk failing. Mistakes are just another opportunity for taking the next great step. Give yourself permission to stumble and fall. Risk, learn and repeat.

(Esther Weinberg is a leadership expert and a cable veteran with a 20-year track record in the industry. She currently creates strategies for such companies as ESPN, Microsoft, Scripps Networks, NBCUniversal Cable, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., Motorola, Headline News Network and MTV Networks, among others. She is the contributing author to the leadership book “Breaking Through” by Barbara Stanny. Esther is a Board Member of NAMIC-Southern California and a mentor for WICT Southern California. Sign up for her free leadership newsletter with valuable information at www.mindlightgroup.com.)

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