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The Inovo Group

213 South Ashley St
Suite 300
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Larry Schmitt, success equals pursuing opportunities

Larry Schmitt is known for giving good advice. So much so he has built an entire business around it, The Inovo Group.

But getting his clients to take that advice? Not as easy as it looks.

"Virtually every company we have dealt with deals with that (following through on good advice)," Schmitt says. "It's easy to come up with new ideas but how do you follow through on them?"

The Inovo Group specializes in providing strategic innovation consulting to large companies with a heavy emphasis on emerging technology. The idea is to help clients find new, more-efficient ways of doing things. Think finding new opportunities or discovering new technology to harness. Some of the downtown Ann Arbor-based company’s clients include Ford, Pfizer and Dow. Taking good advice/consulting often comes down to the culture of the companies that are looking for the help.

"Some companies are much better than others," Schmitt says.

To him that is the difference between opportunity discovery and opportunity pursuit. In Schmitt's experience, the firms that stay successful embrace both of those options. Some companies accomplish that by setting up in-house incubators that can experiment with new ideas and technologies without getting bogged down in the morass of a large corporation’s bureaucracy.

"It's more the culture of the company than the size," Schmitt says. "We have dealt with some of the largest companies in the world. They have a philosophy for dealing with change."

Often that can mean dealing with the frozen middle. Think middle managers who are being pulled in every direction and are solely focused on getting that day's job done on time and under budget.

"They have to make the trains runs on time," Schmitt says. "They need to get things done."

Which can make them change resistant. Instituting change requires time, resources, and leadership capital. In Schmitt's experience, the firms that can get middle management to move to embrace change are the nimbler companies that succeed.

"Companies are figuring out what to do with that," Schmitt says.

- Written by Jon Zemke

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