The Next Big Thing


The discussion with Lonnie Moore and Gary McGuey from our Education Division reminds me that the “next big thing” may well come from outside your formally established circles of innovation. Who is and who isn’t allowed to propose ideas has radically changed.

A superb example of this is FranklinCovey’s The Leader In Me whole-school leadership development initiative. Envisioned and originated by an extraordinary elementary school principal in North Carolina, The Leader In Me process likely needed the freedom and oxygen to be incubated without our company’s limiting processes. Inspired by Dr. Covey’s leadership books and public speeches, this educational leader decided to take what had traditionally been leadership theories and practices for adults inside organizations and apply them to six-year-olds.

Truth be told – this program was originated almost in a vacuum and without our company’s involvement. Nearly wholly designed and implemented outside our own corporate processes (but with tacit permission from Dr. Covey during a short post-speech conversation with the principal). The Leader In Me quickly caught the attention of our own fledgling education division and with our design expertise and unparalleled reach, it has now become one of the world’s fastest growing and most impactful school improvement programs (it is in thousands of schools across 50 countries).

In a few short years, a local educator created and pollinated what our entire company hadn’t done in the twenty years before her. Obviously, there’s more to the story, much more, but the principle stands; genius is everywhere. Not just in Marketing, Innovations, Product Design or wherever it’s been formally placed in your organization.

Does your culture encourage innovation at every level? As a leader do you actively seek it out? Truly listen and check your own ego given that the next big idea might not be yours.

What actual systems do you have in place to inspire everyone to think about new ideas? It’s a slippery slope because all ideas can’t and shouldn’t be implemented. In fact, most shouldn’t, or you’ll quickly lose focus on your key priorities. But perhaps the next big idea is sitting down at the receptionist’s desk, and you’ll never know because you didn’t even ask.

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About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 23-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as the executive vice president of thought leadership. Scott hosts multiple podcasts including FranklinCovey’s On Leadership and Great Life, Great Career. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release: Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow. Scott authors a weekly leadership column for and is a frequent contributor for Thrive Global. Previously Scott worked for the Disney Development Company, having grown up in Central Florida, and currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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