Thought leaders in the truest sense, Erin Mays and Kalyn Rozanski of Ebco are completely reenvisioning and disrupting the trend and innovation research space with unique and differentiated products and services that support global Fortune 1000 companies.
Kalyn Rozanski Co-CEO
Erin Mays Co-CEO
Coming from design thinking and qualitative research backgrounds, Mays shares “we no longer operate in a world where basic methodologies will lead to groundbreaking solutions. Increasingly the market is progressing faster and faster with new technologies, new business models, merging industries, and ever-changing consumer expectations and desires. The companies that make an impact are start-ups with the ability to innovate quickly, and from a clean slate. We help corporate compete.”
Unlike start-ups, large corporate innovation teams need to answer to upper management, focus on ROI building activities, work within traditional R&D timelines, and defer to massive growth opportunities. All of this can inhibit innovation.
So what’s the secret to Ebco’s success?
Rozanski will tell you quite simply, “we don’t think in ‘linear,’ we employ fractal thinking.”
Fractal thinking, they explain, is primarily the practice (and expertise) of seeing the relationship between seemingly unrelated things. Discovering patterns as they exist horizontally, analogously, across categories, and at different scales is decidedly both an art and a science. It requires the unique ability to move seamlessly from inductive to deductive reasoning and back again, often repeatedly, to uncover the biggest opportunities—then make them actionable for innovation teams. Most people may not see snowflakes and think avalanches, but Mays and Rozanski do.
“If you think about it, snowflakes—like the factors that drive change—are often innumerable and indistinguishable from one another,” offers Rozanski. “It is our job to understand when, where, and how emerging signals and patterns will stick together, accumulate, and ultimately evolve the market landscape.” It’s this thinking that inspires both the Ebco team and their clients daily.
As one might expect from a team that can all but literally see into the future, the Ebco co-founders are pushing past old methodologies and actively working to innovate the way innovation is done. Whereas the much-lauded design thinking has a linear structure, the Mays-Rozanski method is immersive and can be applied at any stage of the innovation funnel to achieve new insights, inspire the most creative teams, and drive strategic direction.
“We work with some of the greatest innovation teams in the world,” said Mays, “so coming up with good ideas is generally not a challenge for them. What we do is give them the context and the inspiration they need to generate the most impactful ideas for the future of their category.”
This perspective has driven the rocket-fueled growth of their company and earned the dynamic duo both an Austin Under 40 Innovation Award and an Austin Inno 50 on Fire Award. The future is dynamic, and to understand it, Ebco is the go-to-resource.