David: Hey, welcome to the public relations security videocast. We talked to all sorts of entrepreneurs and experts in and around the crisis management and when I’m hoping to get out of today is the talk about how to prepare even at the early stages of concept and I couldn’t think of a better guy to do this with my friend Kevin Popović, The Idea Guy® as it says right here in the logo. Dude, before we start, you got the best office in town.
Kevin: The guy’s got to keep this stuff somewhere. Del Mar beach seemed the best place to keep mine.
David: And just to give you an idea here, we shot this thing in November. This will run in about the December timeframe. We’re both from the East coast originally, Pittsburgh born and raised.
Kevin: Yes sir.
David: East coast myself, anybody who is still living on the East coast wondering why we’re Southern California guys now. This (pointing around), this is why this is the best deal going.
Kevin: Because it’s not snowing, it’s not sleeting, it’s not raining.
David: And we both not realizing we dressed about the same. We’re sweltering TV. I mean the heat here is pretty good. Kevin, give folks a background as to who you are, what is it about idea guy and how do people come and how do people come and find your services and then what are the reasons they contract with?
Kevin: Well, let’s start with that. The first two, well my name is Kevin Popovic and I am The Idea Guy for all of my career. I have been in a position where I have had to use creativity to come up with a solution to a problem of one sort or another. Most of my career has been around marketing communications, problems and creating media that creates engagement has been solutions. But about eight years ago when I was teaching at San Diego state university where we both teach, I was teaching creativity, innovation and it was interesting because I had to teach business people how to be creative. Insert jokes here. And, but it really got me looking further than my creative process, but my creative management process and he started looking at not only how we’re building people up to be more creative in teams to perform better, but how can you start building systemic creativity throughout an organization?
Kevin: So through that line of thought, you know, I really have started to take more of a leadership role in client organizations and serve as a fractional chief strategy officer or part-time idea guy for CEOs who are dealing with problems of a critical nature. Right. Which is one of the things we have in common?
David: I guess the question is, is that kind of strategy, does it work well with just emerging companies or can establish companies also benefit from somebody like you or the process in which you spend us?
Kevin: Yeah. Well, most of the clients that are work with David are CEOs that I have existing relationships with because it really is a position of trust, much like yourself that I get called in when there’s a problem that they have not been able to solve themselves. And the other good people that work as part of their organization have not been able to solve, and it’s coming to a critical mass, right? There’s a, there’s pending doom, right? So most of the calls that I get are like, Hey, when can you come in, and we start from that.
Kevin: Right? So a lot of that is from existing companies. I find that as much as younger companies could benefit right out of the gate, they tend to not want the benefits right out of the gate, for a couple of reasons. You know, when I first came to San Diego, I sponsored an organization of entrepreneurs and after three years I learned two things, right? One is the best part about being an entrepreneur is that you believe you can do anything, right? And then the worst part of being an entrepreneur is that you believe you should do anything. And so it’s just a matter of, you know, wherein that maturation cycle the CEO is in. For most of the clients that I’m working with, they tend to be the latter half then the former.
David: I guess then the question, this is a nice dovetail to my next thought, which is in the discussion of business strategies and incorporating creativity, what are some of the things that are often overlooked in that process by entrepreneurs and where you may interject and say, have you thought about these elements in there? You’ve got any common traits that you see that those entrepreneurs overlook?
Kevin: Yeah, unfortunately, I do and it’s just because I see it so often. First of all, they often don’t have the right person in charge of developing the creative strategy. Right? A lot of times CEOs take on the additional responsibility of having to be good at that too. Yeah. Right? And there’s a difference between business strategy and creative strategy, you know? So I think oftentimes the organization has the wrong person in charge of the effort. Second is the process that gets used. There’s a lot of different processes that are in Vogue and they come and go. The process I think is important, but I don’t think it’s as important as the project management, right? Because I see a lot of processes who profess, you know, think while building, right? And just get started. And I know, I tried to think of the CEOs that I’ve worked with, and perhaps those are our friends I’ve worked with, they’re going to offer raise time and money without a plan, right? So, this whole just gets started in, we’ll figure it out thing. It’s not a real-world thing.
Kevin: Right. That’s an academic. Sure, you could do that in the classroom. There’s no consequence. But there’s not a CEO that I know it’s going to give you access to the leadership and management, resources and pay me to be a part of that without understanding what’s the plan of where am I getting like totally.
David: To that end, as they’re starting to develop a strategy, I always get the impression that I’ve seen this too working with entrepreneurs and being an entrepreneur myself. Everything’s going to be rosy. Right? All you see is the opportunity and so you think this is a new concept. It’s a new product, it’s a new business model and it’s going to make us a gazillion dollars worth of your cash out. We’re all going to be sitting like you on the beach, you know, relaxing. Where does the idea about contingency plans, crisis plans thing, plans for when things go wrong to come into play in your discussion with a corporation or, or an entrepreneur?
Kevin: Well, it comes in early because you know it at the beginning of the relationship. We’re trying to get to know each other. Right? And usually, the people that are there will recount of some inspirational moment and you know, and some lightning strike that has occurred. We’re all there. They contributed to their collective effort.
Kevin: Right. You know, and I try to help them understand that, you know, inspiration is not manageable and Eureka does not scale. You know, so you know, you want to look at this at the long, but you’ve got to have a plan in a process, man, you just can’t like, Oh we’ll come up with it again. Well no, apparently you didn’t if I’m in the room already.
Kevin: Right. So I think it has to have a process and a plan because once stuff goes sideways and it always goes sideways some point. Yeah. You have to know where you are and without a map, how will you know when you get there or, or where you are in your journey.
David: That’s a really interesting concept because when I get brought in to something like that, it’s usually three steps after they should have called me when stuff was really starting to hit the edge of the rails before it goes over. But what happens is they get called over when they go, Hey, how did this happen? I have no idea. It’s so I could see where somebody like you comes in and says, here are the guardrails you have to watch out for. So you know, ahead of time.
Kevin: Yeah, very much so. You know, and, and then when the problem gets identified, it’s so interesting that like through stuff going down there is pending doom, you know? And then people are still like, well, you know, well what about this, you know, and well, you know, that seems like lot and not, you know, and at some point in all honesty and in candor, right? You’re either going to pay me to fix this problem with a person that replaces you, is going to pay me to fix this problem. You know? So, you know, the time for measured investments and a multi-phase approach has passed. Right. You know there’s pending doom and, you know, like the enemy’s at the door. Stuff’s going down now you know, what are you going to do about it and who are and who are you going to enable, you know, in a position of power to save the day.
David: Fascinating stuff and I love hearing about what you do and all the things that are encompassed on that. Folks need to need to get a hold of you or should get ahold of you even if they’re not sure about it. Give us some contact information.
Kevin: Sure. You can always check out my website at ‘theideaguy.us’. Again, my name is Kevin Popovic. You can find me on LinkedIn. I got a couple of contacts that, one or two that I’m sure you already know. And you know, God’s forbid you can just go old fashioned and pick up the phone and call me. You know, I’m a big fan of technology but on my website and everywhere you will find me. There was a phone number that actually rings to this phone, just like it used to back in the old day. It just doesn’t have a cord on it.
David: I tell people my favorite app is the voice app. It’s still the best way to kind of communicate with folks. Kevin, dude, it’s always good to see you.
Kevin: David, pleasure.
David: Thanks for the time.
David: Thanks for watching. Hope you got a lot out of today. We’ll see at the next one.