Tendayi Viki, How to Transform Your Business to Innovate for the Future – InnovaBuzz 374

Tendayi Viki

Tendayi Viki, Strategyzer

In this episode, I’m really excited to have as my guest, Tendayi Viki, who is an author and corporate innovation expert. He’s also an associate Partner at Strategyzer, helping companies innovate for the future while managing their core business.

In our discussion, Tendayi talked to me about:

  • Why innovation project portfolio success is a better measure than individual success
  • The three types of innovation projects to include in a balanced portfolio
  • That there is no innovation without relationships

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

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Innovation is the pursuit of novelty with the ultimate goal of creating continuous value. @TendayiViki on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

Show Notes from this episode with Tendayi Viki of Strategyzer

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • When you stop using your entrepreneurial muscle in a company, you lose that muscle. When you stop using that muscle to become a better individual, you lose that muscle, and it’s difficult to build it back again.
  • The tendency to be complacent has a big impact on a company and how it runs.
  • Insatiable curiosity is absolutely important for innovation. You can’t become a great innovator if you stop being curious.
  • Innovation is the pursuit of novelty with the ultimate goal of creating continuous value. 
  • Business models don’t last forever. There is always a peak and a decline. You have to consistently curious about how you can get better and how you can find new ways to create value. 
  • The things that people at the top of the organisation focus on, are the things that usually happen. 
  • You have to exploit your current success in the business to keep its lights on. You need to be thinking about how you are going to keep the lights on in the next 5-10 years, and you need to be building those things now so that by the time you need to lean on them, they are already there for you. 
  • Disruption in day one always looks like a toy. Disruption always looks absurd. Disruptions always enter at the bottom and over time, as the technology gets better, more and more of your customers will start moving to that technology.
  • Strategyzer’s Disruption Risk Assessment is a tool that organisations can use on an ongoing basis to assess the risks that their core business model might get disrupted by the emerging technology. It addresses both the internal and external challenges in the business model. 
  • Tracking data is useless until you build your response. Start building a portfolio of things that you are playing with that are connected to the disruptors that are emerging and are giving you a chance to respond. 
  • You can never convince people of anything. They need to already be on the journey in order for you to be able to convince them. 
  • Start by writing down the top 10 innovations you are most proud of and then categorise them into the three types of innovation
    1. Efficiency innovation – innovations to improve your current business
    2. Sustaining innovation – innovations where you take your current capability and start building something new and interesting
    3. Transformational innovation – innovations that you are testing and exploring, such as brand new value propositions and business models that are distinct from your current business model.
  • You can’t succeed in innovation without building relationships. 
  • The level of authenticity that you bring to the task as an innovator will help you become more successful.
  • When trying to be an innovator in a large organisation, remember that 50% of the work is the product, and the other 50% is politics. You have to succeed in lining up all these cannons to get the benefit of being supported by a big company to fast track your innovation.
  • A startup’s idea is the most important thing in the world. For the venture capitalist, each startup is just a small part of their portfolio so the venture capitalist is less concerned about one startup failing. 
  • Start small. Start leveraging those small things that you already have in your small company that is working to drive innovation.
  • Innovation is not succeeding on a one by one project basis. Innovation is a portfolio. What you should care about is the success of the portfolio and not the success of any individual idea in the portfolio. Individual ideas in the portfolio can fail, but the portfolio itself can actually succeed. Portfolio success is the metrics for leaders investing in innovation.
  • Ask your company to make a small bet, and promise them that on the basis of that small bet, you will give them information that they can then use to decide if they should bet some more. 
Business models don't last forever. There is always a peak and a decline. You have to consistently be curious about how you can get better and how you can find new ways to create value. @TendayiVikion #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Tendayi’s answers to the questions of our innovation round. Listen to the conversation to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – Be more curious. Take interest in new things but don’t just get interested in new things for their own sake. The thing that makes something move from just being creative to innovative is when you take those new things and work on them to create actual value.
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Reading
  3. Favourite tool for innovation – My iPad.
  4. Keep project/client on track – Keep your rituals and use them for what they are supposed to be for.
  5. Differentiate – Be really good at whatever it is that you are interested in. Master your craft.

To Be a Leader

Be so good that people can’t ignore you.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Tendayi through his website.

Suggested Guest

Tendayi suggested we have a conversation with Cal Newport, author of “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” and “Deep Work”. So Cal, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of  Tendayi Viki.



Cool Things About Tendayi

  • He has been shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Innovation Award and was named on the Thinkers50 2018 Radar List for emerging management thinkers to watch.
  • He co-designed Pearson’s Product Lifecycle which is an innovation framework that won the Best Innovation Program 2015 at the Corporate Entrepreneur Awards in New York. 
  • His PhD thesis was awarded the Annual Award for the Best Thesis in Social Psychology by the British Psychological Society.
The thing that makes something move from just being creative to innovative is when you take those new things and work on them to create actual value. @TendayiViki on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  


  1. Rohit Shenoy on January 23, 2021 at 14:03

    Extremely informative formative. Thanks for sharing

    • Jürgen Strauss on January 28, 2021 at 10:59

      Thanks for the feedback, Rohit. What was your main take-away and action?

      • Rohit Shenoy on February 15, 2021 at 14:13

        Main takeaway is that Any business big or small need to capitalize the success. Use resources to Find new ideas and experiment.

        Balance both for long term business growths

        • Jürgen Strauss on February 24, 2021 at 10:00

          Thanks for highlighting those lessons, Rohit. Yes, I particularly love the balance between current successful model and future growth, with new ideas.

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