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Entrepreneurial Journey, Debunking Disruption, Demystifying Innovation, and Other Insights of Chris Adams

Chris Adams Entrepreneur Week 2018

As part of South Australia’s Entrepreneurs Week 2018, Chris Adams – Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Greater Outcomes and Advisor to it’s Impact Academy – gave the opening keynote about the entrepreneurial journey and his views on disruption and innovation in the modern world.

Chris’ experience includes working with and for some of the best-known companies in the world, such as Facebook, Participant Media, Comcast Cable and Interactive, Amazon and Lycos. Most recently, he has held Board Director roles for ASX-listed companies, Advised and does Advise many start-ups, and helps corporates such as: National Storage, Sensis/Found Digital, Seven West Media, Greater Outcomes and Arrive Wealth Management on digital strategy and growth. His career has seen him at the front of the technology, entertainment, media and digital revolution for 25 years, which has enabled him to have extensive and in-depth perspective on how the ecosystem has evolved , plus  some great insights to share.

Like any industry, the start-up scene has its own language. If five years ago, entrepreneurs were focusing on lean startup and agile methodology, today everybody is talking about innovation and disruption. To better understand these “new” buzzwords Chris debunks and demystifies them by relating them to everyday life and situations. He believes that if you look at innovation and disruption as being things that you can practice every day of your life, you don’t need see them as “terms,” or  “things” that you have to suddenly learn; rather, something you innately know how to do – it’s just a matter of doing it. Though innovation and disruption can seem messy and unclear, we already know how to do them. 

“I talk about innovation as being something akin to getting your kids to brush their teeth. If they don’t, there are consequences, like cavities.”

“Innovation and disruption are like going to the gym. Once you’re in the gym, it’s easy; it’s the getting there that’s hard.  You just need to get your gear on and go.”

Chris Adams, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Greater Outcomes.

Chris is also highlighting the perceptions – and misperceptions – of success. We see many successful people around us on Instagram and Facebook.  Social media always tells us about others who seem prettier, richer, and happier than ourselves. However, it does not show what this success is built on. The truth is that the entrepreneurial journey is complicated. It is filled with unbelievable pressure, failures, and heartbreaks. Entrepreneurs may lose everything along the way, and failure is not fun.  At all.  But it’s all part of your larger story for you to learn and grow from.  Perception is at the heart of ones’ approach.  Too often, we look at the $10m house and see all the gorgeous marble floors and valued ceilings and stunning furnishings and want that.  But you have to make sure that the foundations, wiring, plumbing and structure are solid before you can build.

“The way to address fear of  failure is to plan for success.  If you are going to do anything, do it right and go big.”

“If your $10 million house is built on weak foundations, it is going to break.”

Chris Adams, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Greater Outcomes.

Importantly, an entrepreneurs journey is not only about their stories, but also about the value of things that they have created. Try and think past the utility or novelty of what you want to do and to the place where you can see whether your product or service can make the world a better place. Here Chris speaks about the importance of social enterprises in the modern world. Classic for-profit companies have products or services in which their intrinsic value is to make money. The world does not need every product or service, online or not.  People want or use them because they facilitate some kind of practical or novel outcome.  There are wonderful companies and products that we all use, but don’t need.  However, social enterprises are, by nature, needed for they make the world a better place through their success.  

“The industry that I have been a part of since 1996 has brought me so much experience and joy, but it has also created an entire generation of young people whose reality is not the real world.”

“A very viable choice for you as an entrepreneur, today, and in the future, is a social enterprise.”

“Greater Outcomes is very personal to me. It is a place where I can be myself.  It gives me hope and purpose.”

Chris Adams, Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Greater Outcomes.

Critical to all the above is making sure are true to your own story as to build or join a venture. If you are trying to build a startup that does not speak to you, it may not succeed. And even if it does, it may leave you feeling hollow.  Your story is the plot – the plan – of your enterprise, and the primary goal here may not be billion dollars, but to be happy and make others (your team, your customers, your partners) happy. Are you contributing because you feel called to or that you can make a difference to the organisation or venture? If your answer is ‘yes’, you are doing a right thing for yourself and others, no matter if you run a for-profit company or a social enterprise.

“Mark Zuckerberg never wanted to do anything but to build Facebook. That was – and is – his story and passion.”

“When you spend time doing things that you are good at, but you do not like, you end up lying to yourself and creating artificial reasons to keep doing that.”

“Tell you own story.  It’s the only one you have.”

Chris Adams, the advisor and entrepreneur in residence at Greater Outcomes.


To watch Chris’ speech at the opening South Australia Entrepreneurs Week 2018, go to


Article written by Anna Syropiatova

Marketing Intern

Greater Outcomes

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