July
29
2016

Experimental Innovation

By Chris 0

Why are we testing the Skulpt Chisel?

Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast episode “Hallelujah” introduced a new term: “Experimental genius”. Gladwell compares two different processes of innovation.

Some innovators follow a script: they have a strategy for the music they write, or the paintings they make. But other innovators continually refine their product until it’s perfect.

I’m nowhere near the league of artist profiled by Gladwell (Cezanne, Cohen, Costello). But I understand them. Two-Brain Business took three years to write, and Two-Brain Business 2.0 is really the book I wish people would buy. It’s such an improvement that it’s a completely different book. But the original is the bestselling fitness business book of all time, and is still picked up four times as often as 2.0, so I leave it on the shelves. Maybe people like the stories better, or relate better to the owner I was in 2012.

Last week, I issued a 30-day content creation challenge to a few gym owners in the TwoBrain family. Their first videos and blog posts were actually pretty good, but nowhere near as good as they’ll be in a month. The point of the challenge was simply to publish every day, and avoid the “paralysis by analysis” trap. The videos don’t need to be perfect because we’re building the practice of content creation. Most will revisit these same topics later and update their message, as I did with Two-Brain Business.

But “experimental innovation” isn’t limited to art. It’s also a solid business practice. In “Good To Great“, Jim Collins talks about firing bullets before firing cannonballs. To paraphrase Collins, try a new idea on a small scale first. Don’t wait until you can do THE BIG THING perfectly, or deliver the finished painting; just fire a little bullet first. Try it out. Find your range.

With the Skulpt, we’re firing a little bullet. We’re adding objectively-measurable data to our intake process. We chose the Skulpt because:

  • It looks like tech (people trust computers to be objective);
  • It provides data that people care about (not some arbitrary test or qualification that only the coach cares about);
  • It puts the coach on the same side of the desk as the client, against “the machine” (I wrote about this in “Help First“)
  • It will allow us to pair a nutrition recommendation into our exercise recommendation as part of our consultation practice.

Is the Skulpt the best possible machine for this use? I doubt it. Several gyms in the TwoBrain family are already using the InBody 270. But the Skulpt’s price tag ($99) will allow us to fire a little bullet and attempt to prove the concept before spending thousands on the larger machine.

No business strategy or system is permanent. No marketing strategy will work forever. Many great works of art are never finished (Cohen’s song, “Hallelujah”, is still evolving 15 years after its first release.) This is why we prefer to provide mentorship: an evolving set of systems, based on data derived from bullets, then cannonballs.

The full discussion on the Skulpt Chisel and objective data at intake is being held in our private Facebook group. Some gym owners are testing the Skulpt; some are testing the InBody. Some are charging for the tests; some are not. Some are including them at intake, some as part of challenges. Some are using the machines offsite; some are locking them up in the office. Different strategies, same tool. That’s experimental innovation.

Comment
0

Leave a reply