The Promise of Innovation: What iPhone, Lady Gaga & LifeTime Fitness Have in Common

“Innovation is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”

~ Dr. Albert Gyorgyi


As customers of any product we continuously demand greater performance and equally newer innovation.

Remember the miracle of the internet?  And then the dial up sound of AOL starting up?  You could pretty much hear the early 1900’s operator cranking a wheel to make this incredible invention work.

How rapidly impatient we became as the wheel on the screen spun.  Think of that wheel now on our phones, these miracles in our pocket that connect us to the world, when they don’t connect immediately as we expect.  Unacceptable!  “Hey I.T., we have a WiFi connection issue!

Do you realize what crazy people we’ve become?  Our level of demand is hilariously disturbing, as Louis CK pointed out in 2015 this so true reminder of flying in an airplane and logging on to the internet:



Have you ever attended a performance of a favorite stand-up comedian after you saw his hour long special on TV?  Did he do the same material?  If he did, you’re disappointed.  Yet when you attend your favorite music artist’s concert, if they only do new material you are up in arms that they didn’t sing their greatest hits!

I’ve found this dilemma to be true in my career with corporate clients.  80% of my repeat clients demand new material for next year’s event – “just don’t do the same show” they say – yet in the same sentence they remind me – “oh, but we do want The Raptor, Michael Jackson, Louie Armstrong, the Faces and Dentist story, the Mrs. Hall story, and that one about your Family in the motorhome about being a present Dad keeping your Promise where we all cry, do those again…

Every company has their Greatest Hits, Signature Moves, Promise The Audience expects.

How innovative are you in honor of engaging with your returning customer?

What is your Promise to your customer?  The highest level of engagement.

What does your customer expect from you, and how can you stay ahead of the potential flameout of losing to your competitor?

It comes down to your ability and willingness to innovate, like the great performers of any industry, who are constantly proving their value and worth in order for us to justify our return.

LifeTime Fitness, where I work out usually once per quarter (each gym visit costs me about $495, but it’s worth it just to say I am a member there), is a place I just don’t have time in my everyday to get to, although I really make an effort to show up a lot.  I love my visits, but they are very infrequent (as my pants have reminded me).



I have often said to my wife, “If only LifeTime had an office I could lease, then I could work there, eat there, and work out any time of day while at work anyway.”  We laugh and go about our day.

Last week I told my wife I was going to cancel our LifeTime membership, since we have a little gym in the basement with a treadmill that serves as our kid’s permanent fort covered in blankets.

And then today I’m reading in the Wall Street Journal and somehow LifeTime must have read my mind, or perhaps Alexa recorded the conversation and sent it along to them (as happened to a couple recently)?

What I know is LifeTime Fitness anticipated my secret idea & needs and literally just announced their latest plans:

LifeTime innovative founder, Bahram Akradi, said, “I don’t want it to be a health-club company. I want it to be a lifestyle company”.

WSJ’s John Stoll continues in his reporting: “Meanwhile, a strategic bet that large numbers of gym-goers will pay additional fees for access to office space in the clubs, Life Time Work, will be a crucial part of the company’s plans.

Mr. Akradi is confident. Lifestyles have changed, he says, and people want to do more of their daily tasks in one place.”

Innovation meets Reinvention is The Promise to an ever-evolving customer’s lifestyle and needs.  Anticipating customer desires, listening to feedback, this drives innovation.

How was the iPhone invented?  It solved a need to carry all things in the same place!  Now it serves as our wallet, photo album, music & movie player, e-ticket for flights & concerts, our calendar reminder, social media, game playing, health tracking, mini-laptop, and reading tablet.  Essentially making near extinct how many companies and industries?

BlackBerry, flip phones, Franklin Planner, Photo Printing & Albums, CD & DVD Players, pencils & notebooks (unless you’re really cool and still write in a Journal, which I highly encourage), etc.

And then there’s Lady Gaga.  Whether she shows up in an outfit made of meat or is putting on a show spectacular hanging upside down and singing, then at the piano proving she is immensely talented and crooning with Tony Bennett, she is an innovative genius.

When my daughter told me she likes Lady Gaga music I said, “Yes, she is very talented but we can’t listen to that.  Even Daddy doesn’t know what those references mean.  I’ll figure something out.”  Lady’s Gaga’s demographic is not my little girl.

From there going to work to make an appropriate family-friendly song version of a Lady Gaga hit my daughter could listen to without me cringing at the words over and over again, I came up with “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and innovated something that Lady Gaga would probably think is funny given my need to innovate for my daughter.



My innovative gift is simply making someone else’s work funny, I have made a career of it and share this in my corporate leadership message of The Promise.  That makes for a not normal speech, yet highly entertaining and engaging Keynote Presentation!  When we’re laughing we’re learning, the reviews speak for themselves.

The point is this: We must innovate to remain relevant.  We can look to industry legends and performers and see the ways they have done the same, and equally do our own version of innovation in our space to work within our lives and business.

In Summary, Team Discussion Points & Action Items:

  • Anticipate the Innovative needs of Customers, or listen to their feedback 
  • Understand the current trends and acknowledge the need for change 
  • Utilize the Signature Moves of your company and team to create each step for the future 
  • Keep The Promise of Innovation alive in your personal life as well as business


How are you keeping The Promise of Innovation?


~ jason

Jason Hewlett, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, Keynote Speaker for the largest corporate events in the world. His primary message, The Promise, is essential for Leadership, Management, Sales, Marketing, Direct-Sales Companies, and is a combination of engagement and entertainment meets inspiration.  Jason has even received standing ovations from IT guys.  He has been acknowledged as life-changing by Conference Attendees, C-Level Executives and Hollywood Elite.

Please click here to learn about how Jason Hewlett, Speaker Hall of Fame, introduces the opportunity for you, or someone you love, to have the gift of learning how to create a Career From the Stage and begin moving toward fulfilling a lifelong dream as a full-time speaker, performer, or entertainer.




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