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Learning to be Disruptive with Lara Hodgson of NOWaccount

by Kjersti Lukens

After a cancellation for the “snow” day last week, the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship sponsored IMPACT series was back with another great speaker. Georgia Tech students and the general public were treated to a talk with GT Alumnae Lara Hodgson, President and CEO of NOWaccount network corporation. NOWaccount is a merchant services system that works for B2B businesses and their commercial and government customers.

Here were some of Lara’s highlights:

Lara’s talk touched on disruptive change and how much we can learn from five years olds. Yes…  five year olds. Remember being able to use colors and ask questions all the time? As we get older we develop the fear of asking why. This is not helpful as a innovator and entrepreneur.

Innovators need to be disrupters. How can you be one? Follow these steps:

  • Be passionate

What are you passionate about? Focus on the so what, instead of all the fluff that goes with passion.

  • Be creative

Lara pointed out that everyone is creative, we all look at the same things as everyone else and see something differently. It is what makes us human beings.

  • Be a contraroiun/challenge assumptions

Always ask why, five year olds ask about 400 questions a day. Adults ask about 100.

  • Stand up, stand out, fail fast, fail forward

Lara used her former business Nurture Inc to make this point. A large order needed to go out and the machine adhering the labels stopped working. The team had to sit and adhere the labels themselves. While trying to stick them on the bottle the team started cutting corners and made the label smaller- and easier to place on the bottle. Because of this, Lara and her team realized that the labels could be more cost effective. In her words, fail often, because failing is awesome.

  • Be real/Be stealth

Stealth is the real deal in being disruptive. Lara used another example of the company Rent The Runway. The company was able to become a huge success because it used the merchandise it was just given by companies it competes against.

  • Simplicity trumps everything

Don’t try to make it harder or more difficult than it already will be. After all It’s not what you know, its what you notice that make the next great idea.

 IMPACT speaker series are every Wednesday, 4:30-6:00p, in Le Craw Auditorium at the Scheller College of Business.


[Photo Credit]

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