Andrew Marshall – Principal of Primed Associates

[quote style=”boxed”]Take the time to think big, and then take the time to plan effectively. As the Chinese proverb goes, “Vision without action is a daydream. And action without vision is a nightmare.”[/quote]

Andrew C. Marshall [Drew] is the Principal of Primed Associates, LLC, an innovation consultancy. He lives in central NJ and works with clients across the USA and around the world. Prior to founding Primed Associates, LLC, Drew spent ten years with Princeton-based management consulting firm Kepner-Tregoe where he rose to become a Partner and the Chief Innovation Officer. He is a co-host of the weekly innovation-focused Twitter chat, #innochat, the founder, host and producer of Ignite Princeton and a contributor to the Innovation Excellence and Collaborative Innovation blogs. He is also providing support for the implementation of the Design Thinking for Scholars model with the Network of Leadership Scholars (an interest group within the Academy of Management).

What are you working on right now?

I’m developing a team-based model for driving innovation across the enterprise – and into the market faster and more effectively.

Where did the idea for Primed Associates, LLC come from?

I had been working as a management consultant for years, and one of the challenges I saw with my clients was that they struggled to effectively introduce the change necessary to support an innovation-capable culture.

What does your typical day look like?

I have the great fortune to be working with a wide range of clients. My work means that most of my time is spent on-site with clients, so I can see how they’re wrestling with developing their innovation practices. When I’m not working with a client, I can be found either working on thought leadership or researching potential client solutions.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Rapid prototyping is key, by responding to client needs with draft concepts and prototype ideas.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m fascinated by the rise of social media in creating global social movements that are changing the way we engage with each other and peers around the world.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad job. I see each job as an opportunity to learn. One of my strangest experiences was working as part of the marketing group at the corporate headquarters of a garden supply chain store that was sliding into receivership, on a temporary contract. While stores were being closed, the corporate headquarters continued to have a popcorn machine operating in the lobby. The smell of stale popcorn reminds me of failure.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I wouldn’t do anything differently! I am having a great time, and the only way I can see myself doing that is through all the learning opportunities I’ve had so far.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Take the time to think big, and then take the time to plan effectively. As the Chinese proverb goes, “Vision without action is a daydream. And action without vision is a nightmare.”

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Over-committing was a failure of mine. It meant I was not able to deliver as rapidly as possible. So, I asked for help. As entrepreneurs, we want to be self-sufficient, but the more I do this, the more I recognize the value of collaboration and mutual support.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

There is a huge need among independent consultants for back-office support. Accounting, HR, and purchasing are all functions that most independent consultants do reluctantly because they take away from selling and delivering what they love. There is a need to be filled there.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

I would eliminate hunger. In a world with so much, it’s criminal that nearly 1 billion people go hungry each day. Hunger prevents people from helping themselves, from learning in school, and from avoiding long-term health issues. The most compelling fact is that there is already more than enough food to feed everyone in the world every day, and yet so much is wasted. I’d create incentives for moving food from places of plenty to those of greatest need, using spare shipping capacity.

Tell us a secret.

I’m a recovering actor!

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

Highrise – for managing client contact information from 37signals;
HootSuite – for managing social media;
IFTTT – for automating simple online tasks

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I’d recommend everyone read Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers. It’s a blueprint for taking your new idea and making sure it finds a home.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

Tom Fishburne – He’s a marketoonist, and you should follow him because his cartoons make me laugh.
MIT Media Lab – Media Lab stretches my mind.
Ross Dawson – Ross is an Australian futurist, with incredibly prolific and wide-ranging interests. He always makes me go, “Hmm…”

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

I laughed about a minute ago, thanks to the look on my dog’s face when I said she couldn’t have peanut butter.

Who is your hero?

Sorry, I can’t pick only one. My dad, Winston Churchill, and Aung San Suu Kyi all make my list.

What would you do differently if you weren’t afraid?

I’d more aggressively grow the size of my business. I didn’t think I wanted to grow a business in terms of personnel, but I increasingly find that I miss being part of something bigger.

What makes your heart sing?

I love seeing people do things that surprise them. It’s wonderful to see them achieving something they didn’t think they would be able to accomplish. This includes me!


Andrew Marshall on About.Me:
Andrew Marshall on  Twitter: @DrewCM
Andrew Marshall on LinkedIn:
Think Primed Website:
Ignite Princeton Event: