Category: Technology

How Innovators Can Be Peripheral Visionaries

On Episode 114 of The Edge of Innovation, we’re talking with executive advisor Scott Monty about how innovators can be peripheral visionaries!


Scott’s Affinity For Futurist Ideas
A Peripheral Visionary
Asking Questions & Listening Like Sherlock Holmes
Interesting Projects Scott is Working On Now
Conclusion: “Stay Curious”
More Episodes
Show Notes

How Innovators Can Be Peripheral Visionaries


Paul: Good afternoon, everyone. Today we’re talking with Scott Monty of Scott Monty Strategies in Canton, Michigan. Welcome, Scott. Are you there?

Scott: I am here. Good to be with you, Paul.

Scott’s Affinity For Futurist Ideas

Paul: So now how did you find out you had an affinity for this kind of futurist ideas and sort of thinking outside the box? You know, you don’t sound like somebody who wants to go and just be satisfied in a retail job or whatever. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that. But what were the things that happened and gave you hints that that’s where you wanted to be? Or did it just happen?

Scott: Well, it’s not like there was a flash of lightning, and I heard a voice from the heavens crying out to me. It’s one of these things that crept up on me over a while. I tend to stay very engaged online. I try to follow people who are interesting and different from me — right? — to help color my view with lots of different ideas. I am innately curious. Dorothy Parker famously said, “Curiosity is the cure for boredom. There is no cure for curiosity.”

So, I continue to feed my, my curiosity gene. And at a certain point, I began to be able to discern where I thought things were heading. and call it a sixth sense, call it a matter of being well read, both in current events and in history, and I just am able to kind of put these pieces together.

Paul: Interesting.

Scott: It’s funny because the auto dealer that I helped with his customer experience we both kind of worked through this, and we said that there’s really no direct competitor to auto dealers. I mean, they’re protected by franchise laws, for the most part. There’s really no inherent threat there. But if you look about, look around and, and observe how people are treating technology, the auto industry is going to be affected by Apple and Netflix and Amazon and Uber to a certain degree. But, these are about behaviors. They’re not about taking over the auto industry. It’s because people have become accustomed to getting everything on demand with the click of a button in a day or two. We’ve become accustomed to that level of convenience.

So, we said, okay, well that’s the expectation. How do we take that now and apply it to the auto industry, to the dealership experience specifically?

Paul: Yeah, that’s fascinating. It’s a whole world ripe for disruption.

A Peripheral Visionary

Scott: I call it being, I mean, people talk about futurists being visionaries. I like to think of myself as a peripheral visionary. I can see into the future but way off to the sides because that’s where the threats come from. They come from out of left field when you’re least expecting them.

Paul: That’s, that’s a great way to put it. I think that was a Seinfeld line too. “I’m a peripheral visionary.”

So, when you grew up, what were your interests?

Scott: Believe it or not, I actually wanted to be a doctor.

Paul: Okay.

Scott: I was premed at Boston University and was actually president of the Premed Society. But I was going through university and grad school at a time when managed care was beginning to make its name known. And I realized as I got into the first year of medical school that there needed to be people that were scientifically knowledgeable on the business side and to be able to give reasonable suppositions as to what outcome might be in an informed way without being heartless about it.

So I said, well, let’s see what I can do here. Right? And I decided pretty quickly that I didn’t want to go the pure science route. So, I added an MBA with a concentration in healthcare administration at turning the medical experience into a master’s degree with a thesis, so it was a Masters in Medical Science. And embarked on a world of managed care.

Stayed with that for about three years until my forehead began to get flat from all of the repeated bangings on the wall. But realized, again, and this is in retrospect, Paul. I wanted to innovate and that industry was just so slow moving and bureaucratic. There was going to be no innovation in the discernible future. And I guess that’s’ where I first began to see things differently and got this spark.

Paul: Interesting. So when you were 10, 12, 13, 14, did you say, “I want to grow up and be a doctor?”

Scott: Uh, pretty much around the early teen years, I think.

Paul: Okay. That’s interesting.

Scott: An I had a great family doctor. And I just knew I wanted something where I felt like I could help people.

Asking Questions & Listening Like Sherlock Holmes

Paul: Okay.

Scott: And when I mentioned… I would have been a doctor if it wasn’t for that science thing. I think my enjoyment of medicine, what I had experienced up until then, was on the patient relation side — taking a history, getting to know the patient, asking questions — which in turn goes back to another childhood interest I had and still have. And that’s Sherlock Holmes.

I discovered Sherlock Holmes when I was about 14 and then discovered there’s all these people around the world that belong to these clubs. They meet regularly, and they’re people from all walks of life. And you can discuss the character in the stories, but it’s really about people getting together to get to know each other. And as I talked to more of these people, I realized that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who himself was a physician, was influenced by Dr. Joseph Bell, who was a medical school professor of his. And one of the most important things he learned in Bell’s classes was taking patient histories and observing and taking it all in. So, this is really where, you know, Holmes got his profession as a consultant.

Paul: Interesting, interesting. Well, that’s the listening and the hearing and listening are critical. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned that you have to listen because people are telling you a lot of information that might not be clear. Fascinating.

Scott: That’s right. Yeah. I mean, again, take it back to that dealer. If I took him at his word and he said, “We’re at 100% capacity,” anyone could have taken that at face value and go “Oh, uh-huh. I get it.” But I heard it, but I also heard there was something in his voice as if to say, “We need help with it.” And it, again, taking the listening together with the previous knowledge, it’s one thing to listen and as you’ve stated, it’s absolutely important. But it’s taking that listening together with — whether it’s experiential knowledge or a theoretical knowledge or what have you, and putting the two together, that really makes the magic happen.

Interesting Projects Scott is Working On Now

Paul: Interesting. So, do you have any interesting projects you’re working on now that you can tell us without revealing too much?

Scott: I am working with a fintech startup right now, that is looking to create a new opportunity for small investors. So, we all see these, these unicorn IPOs, these incredible valuations, and there’s a bit of a check happening in the marketplace right now. But you see these IPOs, and the average investor wants to get in on the ground level, and the price is announced, and then it spikes on the first day, and then it fades off. You can never actually get in at the same level as the early investors.

And so this fintech startup I’m working with is looking to create a new marketplace whereby small-medium businesses that need capital but that don’t want to give away ownership of their firm can be part of a marketplace and small investors who have, say, a minimum of a thousand dollars to invest and so they’re lower than angel investors, but they’re not VCs — can actually invest in these companies and be part of their eventual stock offering somewhere down the road. So, it’s a win-win. And we’re in the midst of designing this right now, putting the fund in the marketplace together.

Paul: Very cool. When will that be a reality?

Scott: Well, I think we’re targeting summer of 2020. There are a couple of early clients right now, so I’m just helping them get some deals in place.


Paul: Very cool. Well, Scott has a great website as well as a great LinkedIn page, which we’ll have links to in the show notes. Is there anything you’d like to specifically cite or direct our audience to that you think would be of interest?

Scott: Well, I mean, if you go to my website, I would encourage you to sign up for my Timeless and Timely Newsletter. It’s really about the intersection of the past and the present and helping leaders of tomorrow get where they need to go. I usually bring up some references from literature, philosophy, or history, and then bring it back around to something that’s going on today.

Paul: Cool. Alright, anything else? Any shameless plugs?

Scott: I think that’s all I’ve got at this point.

Paul: Alright. Well, as you’re aware, we’ve been talking with Scott Monty of Scott Monty Strategies. And there’s going to be a whole bunch of show notes based on what we’ve talked about. And we’ll have his contact information there as well. Some really cool stuff that Scott has done and I think he’s given us some good encouragement to look at things a little bit differently. So, Scott, thank you very much for coming on the show. We appreciate it and hope to have you on in the future again.

Scott: It’s my great pleasure, Paul. Thank you.

More Episodes:

This is Part 3 of 3 our interview with Scott Monty. If you missed Part 1, you can listen to it here:
If you missed part 2, you can listen to it here:

Show Notes:

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