Earlier this week, I received a press release about a friend. His name is Steve Epner and he’s an expert in entrepreneurship and innovation. He’s not in our industry but there are actually quite a few people who read this blog who know him. There are a few other reasons I want to mention him, as well.
The other day, there was a particular response to my post on influencers: http://outonalims.com/2015/12/16/who-are-our-industry-influencers/#comment-5435 In this response, there is one particular quote that struck me, “I think the more visionary folks are in other industries. Our LI industry pretty much follows rather than leads.” In a way, it’s odd to think that some of the companies that are the biggest in our industry got there by being followers. In fact, in past conversations with one particular one, that particular one is actually quite proud that they do nothing at all that’s new but merely jump onto whatever they see that others are doing. If you grab what others are doing and do it more completely or better, there’s a definite place in the world for that. However, we also need to have some innovators around.
Back to Steve Epner: Steve is long past his initial career. He started a successful business and, years ago, sold it in order to retire. Since then, he’s done nothing but get himself involved in what sounds like yet more and more work, but he’s become dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation. After teaching entrepreneurship at Saint Louis University he was snatched-up by Boeing where he seemed to do nothing but get involved with cooler and cooler ideas as, according to Steve, Boeing is a place where cool things happen as a regular occurrence rather than by accident. Now, he’s on to his newest adventure.
For those of you reading who are interested, here’s the press release:
January 7, 2016
Steve Epner announced that, as of January 8, he will be providing Corporate Entrepreneurship services through a new firm: The Startup Within.
Steve has pulled together a team of innovators to provide ideation, validation and acceleration services across the country. We want to help existing businesses reignite their entrepreneurial spirit. The other three founders are: Ken Herold, previously the CKO at HOK; Pat McGauley, previously VP of Innovation at Anheuser Busch; and Dan Lauer, a serial entrepreneur best known for Waterbabies (celebrating 25 years of success).
Epner is stepping down as the Entrepreneur in Residence in Boeing’s Phantom Works Ventures organization. Epner was tasked with driving a creative and entrepreneurial mindset by working with Boeing employees. His background teaching Corporate Entrepreneurship in the Saint Louis University, John Cook School of Business made him a perfect match for this role.
Epner will continue to manage the St. Louis Innovation Roundtable which he founded about 3 years ago. Boeing, MasterCard, Express Scripts, Monsanto, Emerson, Nestle Purina, and many others participate. The first full day conference on Corporate Innovation is already oversubscribed. “We limited attendance to 30 executives to ensure a robust conversation.”
‘“We have created a wonderful environment for Innovation leaders to get together and discuss common problems.”’ Meetings are held 6 mornings per year (7:30 to 9:00) and often include a tour of a hosting company’s operation. ‘“One of the favorites has been the experimental kitchen at AB Mauri.”’ The group is open to company leaders who are tasked with Innovation for their organization.
Epner may be contacted at Steve@TheStartupWithin.com.”