Act quickly, test always: what CIOs can learn from a shark

How can you change legacy thinking and drive change through the IT organization and beyond? Act quickly, invest little, test always says Kevin Harrington, entrepreneur and original shark on ABC’s Emmy winning TV show, “Shark Tank”.

Kevin Harrington is a successful entrepreneur, an original shark on ABC’s Emmy winning TV show, “Shark Tank”, and inventor of the Infomercial. I spoke with him recently about his three best decisions, but it was an outtake from that conversation that got me thinking about something I heard at a CIO summit.

The discussion was about disruption, as many discussions are these days. Five or six CIOs were talking about the opportunities they saw in digitally enabling processes, and the frustration of trying to move legacy thinkers. To get buy in.

Which brings me to Kevin. He said one of the best decisions he ever made was taking his infomercials global. But where others may have got caught up in ‘we’re going to need a supply chain, we’re going to need multilingual call centres, we’re going to need multilingual infomercials’, Kevin flew to Cannes, Europe’s largest and most glamorous television and film festival. He took out a booth and within 24 hours had a test partner.

He said: “My business model is test before we invest. And I don’t mean we don’t invest anything – to do the testing in England costs me about $100,000. But it didn’t cost millions. So I was able to take the shows that we had in English and just put them up on our partner’s network, and see the results.”

That’s how you create movement. Act quickly, invest little, test always. There’s a reason sharks never stop swimming

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