Confidence Game


You’ve got a great idea and a sound business plan. You’ve assembled a team. You’re before a group of individuals who could fund your vision.

You need to own the room.

From your rate of speech to the use of strategic pauses to hand gestures, Fast Company explains how.

Image: AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by jdlasica



The Rules – For Breaking the Rules


“If you are committed to breaking a rule, you must also commit to the time it will take.”

Are there rules for breaking the rules?

Yes, according to Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO of Rakuten. One is “know the reason,” where he suggests something counter intuitive: ignore the competition. Why? Because if your rule breaking does change the rules, what your competition is doing now is probably unimportant.

Rule breaking, of course, means risk.

Rule breaking means commitment. Mikitani makes the simple observation that the “way things have always been done” is a long time. Creating a new expectation will likewise take time.

You can jump to Mikitani’s very short piece on LinkedIn here.

Image: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Mafue

Ideas, “fuel of the knowledge economy”

You’ve undoubtedly thought about the importance of developing a great idea (and of executing on that idea, of course). But how does one get great ideas?

This article on LinkedIn describes some ways, including “regularity” (make time, or down time, for creativity), “hard work” (duh) and “mashup” (connecting what’s not obvious).

On the last point, some people refer this to “combinatorial thinking.” The wonderful site Brain Pickings has described it in various ways – as “bisociation” and “incubation,” which requires a period of unfocused effort or play (sometimes referred to as “flow”), and as “connecting the unconnected.”

Does your schedule give you the time needed to develop ideas?

Those ideas might just be a novel way of executing on an existing product or service. Or they could be for an entirely new product.  At the Governors School of Entrepreneurs (GSE) last week, one of the competing student teams explained how it had “pivoted” from one product to another over three weeks. By the time it had arrived to do its pitch, the team’s product was completely unrelated to the original idea.

A willingness to change, to be wedded to an organization or purpose –  not to any idea that might represent them – is also essential to finding great ideas, as Social Coaster CEO Jonathan Burdon explains in the video above. Give it a watch.

How important is a willingness to let go? The team mentioned above who was able to pivot no less than three times in the course of the week of GSE presented a compelling (and in hindsight, obvious) product that attracted the attention of the entrepreneurs at the judges panel as well as the Kentucky Innovation Network, which was in attendance.

Because it believes in the power of great ideas, the Kentucky Innovation Network is also a major sponsor of the IdeaFestival, which will happen from Sept. 30 – Oct. 3.

Fuel up.

“8 Lessons in Taking Smart Risks”


From “getting out of your comfort zone, but not too far out” to “go where the others aren’t,” the Fast Company piece, “8 Lessons in Taking Smart Risks” is a very good – and very fast – read. While the article uses the experience of the game developer Ubisoft as its point of departure, there are lessons for entrepreneurs of every kind.

Image: Attribution Some rights reserved by Bien Stephenson

New High Tech Help in Louisville

UofL’s planned Institute for Product Realization is an LLC under the Speed School for Engineering and will be the cornerstone of the University’s Belknap Engineering and Applied Sciences Research Park.  It is wholly owned by the UofL Research Foundation for the three-fold purpose of Manufacturing Pilot & Launch Pad; Microfactory and Co-Creation; and Technical Research.  This will be a resource to the business community and will involve corporate partners.

In addition to the IPR, the UofL Rapid Prototyping Center, the RPC, is part of the Speed School and provides additive manufacturing through 3-D printing with lasers.  The RPC has partnered with many companies, both large corporates and smaller entrepreneurs over the years to provide low volume, manufactured prototypes.   This facility is more of a research facility.

There is also the LVL1 Hackerspace, an open community lab and workshop of makers using a collection of tools and assistance in a voluntary nature at their own facility located at The Pointe in the Butchertown area.

We at the Kentucky Innovation Network regard all of the above as exceptional maker resources and refer clients to them often as appropriate.

A Factory at your Fingertips


What could you do with a factory at your fingertips?

The Director of the Lexington Office of the Kentucky Innovation Network, Warren Nash, has tweeted the link to a local article on a new maker space in Lexington, Kre8Now.

Maker spaces bring 3D printing (additive) and CNC (subtractive) technologies to the public.

Business Lexington:

Makerspaces like Kre8Now have been coming onto the scene in urban areas across the country during the last decade, as part of a larger maker movement that has given rise to specialized magazines, websites and events. Today’s makers run the gamut from garage tinkerers and computer hackers to budding entrepreneurs and do-it-yourself enthusiasts. But they all share a basic interest in applying today’s increasingly accessible technology to build something of their own.

With a modest payment, members of the maker space can have access to a variety of tools to develop their ideas. The founder of the Kre8Now, Doug Clarke, plans to offer up to one third of the space for business incubation, and the maker space is already looking to expand, according to Business Lexington.

Clarke hopes to expand the number of science, technology, engineering and manufacturing applications based on 3D technologies.

will expand science, technology, engineering and manufacturing applications – See more at:
will expand science, technology, engineering and manufacturing applications – See more at:
will expand science, technology, engineering and manufacturing applications – See more at:
will expand science, technology, engineering and manufacturing applications – See more at:

Give it a read.

That desire of Clarke’s led to the grand opening in early June of Kre8Now Makerspace, a collaborative community workshop designed to enable and inspire technology and innovation, housed in 12,000 square feet of industrial space on Manchester Street in Lexington’s rising Distillery District.

The space is stocked with a range of equipment, including a metal lathe, a CNC mill, welding equipment, woodworking tools, 3-D printers, a 300-inch projector screen, screenprinting equipment and a room for robotic design and drone-building.

For a membership fee of $35 per month, community members can have open-hour access to any of Kre8Now’s equipment, as long as they are qualified to use it safely,

– See more at:

How Do I Shorten Lead Times? Part 2

There are other simple to implement ways to shorten lead times. You can identify critical path items with long lead times and consider purchasing an amount in advance to keep in inventory. While this will increase your inventory costs some, it has the potential to shorten lead times significantly.

You can also choose to build to stock inventories of sub-assemblies that can be configured into a number of final products. Again, for a small increase in inventory costs you can shorten lead times of product without having to commit raw materials to specific final products.

In many cases sending your forecasts electronically to your suppliers can shorten the overall lead times. This technique requires a close relationship with your supplier and will entail linking your back end systems.

If you would like to discuss your lead time shortening options, contact the Kentucky Innovation Network at our website and follow us on Twitter.

Four Roses Breaks Ground on Distillery Expansion in Lawrenceburg


commonwealth imageFour Roses Breaks Ground on Distillery Expansion in Lawrenceburg 

Company also to add new warehouses in Bullitt County

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (June 4, 2015) – Kentucky’s bourbon industry continues to reach new heights. Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen today joined company officials and local leaders to break ground on a significant expansion at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg. The company also announced a second expansion of its warehouse facilities in Bullitt County.

Four Roses plans to invest $34 million to add two new buildings and new equipment in Anderson County, which will double the size of the distillery and annual production. The investment, which will be completed in 2018, also will create 15 new jobs.

To store the increased production, Four Roses will create five additional jobs and invest $21 million to build four new warehouses at the company’s Warehouse and Bottling Facility in Cox’s Creek. The new warehouses will be operational by 2022.

“This is another win for our signature bourbon industry and for all of Kentucky,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “To see Four Roses double its production and plan expansions at two locations is further proof that bourbon is more popular than ever. We expect the world’s taste for Kentucky’s native spirit will remain strong for years to come.”

“Four Roses is one of Kentucky’s most iconic brands,” said Lt. Gov. Luallen. “This expansion will allow the company to meet growing global demand while still continuing to produce the quality bourbon it’s been known for since the 1800s. I want to congratulate Four Roses on its new level of success.”

The announcement comes just a few months after Four Roses unveiled plans to build a new facility in Bullitt County. The 60,000-square-foot operation will contain two bottling lines, bottling support areas and office space. Four Roses expects that facility to be up and running by the spring of 2018.

“Four Roses is extremely pleased to answer the call of our consumers with this overall expansion of our production facilities,” said John Rhea, Four Roses’ chief operating officer. “When people think of Four Roses Bourbon, they think of quality. Our first requirement with this expansion was to maintain those same high standards; anything less would have been unacceptable.”

He added, “We are certainly grateful to the state, Anderson County and Bullitt County for their support and cooperation to make this project happen. We want to personally thank Gov. Beshear, Lt. Governor Luallen, County Judges-Executive Orbrey Gritton and Melanie Roberts and Mayor Sandy Goodlett for their efforts and support. We would especially like to thank our employees and the two communities they represent for their hard work and support to make Four Roses Bourbon the popular brand it has become. Lastly, we sincerely appreciate the tremendous support and loyalty of Four Roses fans/consumers everywhere that have generated our fantastic growth.”

Established in 1888, Four Roses is the only bourbon distillery that combines two mashbills with five proprietary yeast strains to handcraft and age 10 distinct bourbon recipes, each with its own unique flavor profile. With distilling and warehousing operations in Lawrenceburg and Bullitt County, respectively, Four Roses is dedicated to producing award-winning bourbons with smooth and mellow tastes and finishes. Four Roses Bourbon is available in all 50 states.

“The expansion at Four Roses is good news for our region,” said Sen. Julian Carroll, of Frankfort. “This investment, which is a reflection of our skilled and dedicated workforce, will parlay into new jobs and a boost to the economy. Four Roses continues to be a good corporate partner and I look forward to the industry’s success well into the future.”

“Kentucky’s signature bourbon industry has seen tremendous growth in demand nationally and internationally over the past several years,” said Rep. James Tipton, of Taylorsville. “That has helped boost our economy and provided more jobs for our Commonwealth, and I’m pleased that Four Roses will expand their operations in Anderson and Bullitt counties.”

“This announcement represents another major step forward for the bourbon industry, and I’m proud to see the investment being made in our region, especially Bullitt County,” said Rep. Linda Belcher, of Shepherdsville.  “I want to thank the company for taking this step and appreciate the new jobs this will provide.  This is a great day for our community and all of Kentucky.”

“On behalf of the citizens of Lawrenceburg, I am pleased we are working with County Judge-Executive Orbrey Gritton, the Anderson County Economic Development Authority, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Bluegrass Area Development District in support of the expansion of production at Four Roses Distillery,” said Lawrenceburg Mayor Robert “Sandy” Goodlett. “This project will be good for the economic growth of the city and county through an expanded workforce while enhancing the awareness of the positive economic climate of the community.”

“Our community is very fortunate to have a great company like Four Roses Distillery contribute to our economic growth,” said Anderson County Judge-Executive Orbrey Gritton. “It is exciting to have one of our own distilleries choose to expand this historic industry, and it shows their commitment to economic development and workforce opportunities for Anderson County. The investment that this facility will bring to our community is significant.”

“Four Roses has been an excellent corporate citizen in Bullitt County for many years, and we are excited about their growth and look forward to continue working with them in providing economic prosperity in our region,” said Bullitt County Judge-Executive Melanie Roberts.

To encourage the investment and job creation, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $350,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program for the Anderson County project. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

KEDFA also approved the Anderson County project for tax incentives up to $300,000 through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act and $500,000 for the project in Bullitt County. The program allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.

For more information on Four Roses Bourbon, visit

A detailed community profile for Bullitt County can be viewed here.

A detailed community profile for Anderson County can be viewed here.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

How Do I Shorten Lead Times?

Many small businesses rely on other small suppliers when they start. As these companies grow, they sometimes overwhelm their suppliers. In this situation the supplier’s lead times may increase limiting your growth.

In general there are four approaches to shortening lead times; encourage your supplier to increase capacity, find another supplier to handle the increase, find a new supplier with larger capacity, or bring the work in-house. Each of these strategies has issues and advantages.

Your supplier may want to grow with you. That’s great if they do, but they may have to find additional capital to expand. There are sometimes other issues that are non-monetary like getting the permits to expand, buying new real estate, or hiring additional employees. Encouraging the supplier to add a shift is usually the easiest way to achieve a short term increase in supply.

You may want to find a second supply for several reasons. One, to help with growth, but also a second supplier will make you less susceptible to work stoppage disasters that may happen to one supplier. In industries like the automotive industry where there are penalties for late delivery you might want to consider adding new suppliers. The downsides are 1) you may not get additional cost reductions from a supplier if you split the business 2) you need to ensure that each supplier has exactly the same revisions of drawings, and 3) even with this control you will complicate your inventory control.

If you select the strategy of finding a supplier with much greater capacity you can get the benefits of volume pricing and ease of managing fewer suppliers, but single supplier issues still remain. You might ask the larger supplier to address these concerns as they may have multiple production locations that can be used in the event of a local disaster.

By bringing the production of outsourced parts in-house, you can put resources where they need to be to keep production growing. And, if this expertise is critical to your product you may well consider doing this. However, if this is not a critical part of your IP you may just spend time and money in places that will not grow your business if you had spent them elsewhere.

If you would like anyone to discuss your lead time shortening options, contact the Kentucky Innovation Network at our website and follow us on Twitter

Innovation Lets Go


Why is innovation is so hard? If you’ve worked in an organization that insisted on measuring all progress, you might recognize a pattern. It could be because management and accounting can’t put a number on the change. They won’t bet on things that can’t be quantified. Why Innovation is So Hard explains this dynamic succinctly: These gatekeepers “hold assumptions that the future will look like today.”

Truly game changing ideas let go of some part of the past.

Let the optimization wonks stick to the metrics. They seek alignment. You need to adjust your key indicators as you traverse the undiscovered country. You seek valuable variation. Be skeptical of portfolio and stage-gate processes that promise to accelerate innovation. These tools assume that you know everything you need to know at the start of the journey

So don’t be discouraged if your idea runs into resistance. Or the gatekeepers in your circle or industry don’t understand. The truth is that after you’ve done your due diligence, gathered the best people you can, consulted with trustworthy partners, you still might fail. Your idea might not be what you thought it was.

But if your innovation is truly revolutionary, no one knows now whether it will succeed.

Attribution Some rights reserved by sabrina’s stash