One of the most overlooked opportunities in business today is the idea of reaching beyond your bubble, for example by building unlikely partnerships. One such instance occurred when National Geographic wanted to expand its reach, so it began working with Fox Cable Networks on a new television channel, gaining from Fox’s expertise.
“Most nonprofits wouldn’t think about approaching a large media entity with an idea like that, but it’s turned out to be a remarkably successful through the years,” author Jean Case told Fast Company’s Ben Paynter in a story about her new book, Be Fearless: Five Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose.
Case is the CEO of the Case Foundation, a funding organization that has given more than $100 million over two decades to businesses and nonprofits that use innovation to make social change. Case is the chairwoman of the National Geographic Society and her husband is Steve Case, the former CEO of AOL.
The author based her book in part on research at the foundation into the qualities of entrepreneurs who created transformations or found breakthroughs, she said. Besides reaching beyond one’s bubble, she found that success stories had four other ingredients: make a big bet; be bold, take risks; make failure matter; and let urgency conquer fear. Among her examples, writes Paynter:
Astro Teller, the head of X, Google’s moonshot factory, learned to openly encourage failure because it provides concrete direction when building things like self-driving cars. Neil Blumenthal, the cofounder and co-CEO of Warby Parker, drew from his own background and experience as director of a nonprofit to build his seemingly risky buy-one, give-one online glasses company. As an MBA student, Shazi Visram, the founder and CEO of organic food company Happy Family, saw friends struggling to find or make their own healthy baby food, so she started her own brand, complete with a larger social initiative to deliver healthy food to more children around the world.