Executive Spotlight

Our Executive Spotlight series features interviews with accomplished business leaders from around the world and puts a focus on insights, ideas and perspectives that shape organisational culture and performance across key industry sectors.

Hart Hillman, CATA national Leadership Council Member, recently conducted interviews with several Canadian Leaders about Innovation. The largest high-tech association in Canada, CATAAlliance (http://www.cata.ca/) matches businesses with opportunities across almost every sector, so that we can all do business together. Reaching out from Canada, CATAAlliance members are connected with investment and partnership opportunities with the major global companies. We share the interviews here and acknowledge strict copyright to CATAAlliance.

Brian Scudamore, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of 1-800-Got-Junk?

Brian started his business in Vancouver, Canada at the age of 18, and later went on to franchise 1-800-GOT-JUNK? as a way to expand operations. Today, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has 1,000 trucks on the road throughout some 180 locations in Canada, the United States, and Australia. In 2007, Brian was honored to have been named the International Franchise Association’s Entrepreneur of the Year. Other accolades include Fortune Small Business’ Best Bosses Award, Globe & Mail’s Top 40 under 40, and a three-time winner of a prestigious “Best Company To Work For” award.

What do companies and governments need to do to innovate and invest in innovation?

I think the first thing is connect more to innovative people… I’m getting out of my comfort zone to go connect and network with other entrepreneurs and other businesses that come up with unique ideas. Some companies are actually innovating in ways that are more evident outside of the country in which they were founded than on a national or local level. Steve Jobs was the king of innovation, always at conferences, always talking to people, and even attending conferences outside of his industry just to meet other innovative people and build new ideas.

How do you foster innovation at 1-800-Got-Junk?

We foster innovation by hiring creative people. People with minds that are curious. People that really have that value of, ‘There’s got to be a better way.’ Our business isn’t just about driving the bottom line or driving the top line, but it’s about growth in ideas. It’s about growth in finding better people and better ways. So, I think the simplest starting point is we hire people with innovative minds. We hire people who are not satisfied with the status quo, people who will challenge our ideas, my ideas. I love when someone says, ‘You know what Brian, you’ve done this for so many years the same way…things can’t remain the same.’ That’s innovation. Things can’t remain the same and get stale. You’ve got to innovate.

What advice would you offer young entrepreneurs and professionals as they embark on their careers and try to operate in a global environment?

I would advise that if they want to be innovative, get out and ask questions. Ask why something is a certain way? Why have we always done something this way, or what would it be like if we dreamed a little and imagined a new possibility. I think what we do best is we imagine new possibilities, whether that’s starting 1-800-Got-Junk? in Australia, or building a mobile app that all of our truck teams carry to provide instant communications with our sales people and our people, that’s innovative.

What is your philosophy or guiding principle around mentorship and is it part of 1-800-Got-Junk?’s philosophy as well?

It’s part of my philosophy, it’s part of our 1-800-Got-Junk? philosophy as well. I think the best way to learn is to teach, get out there and connect and show someone how you can do a great job at something, but get their feedback and say, ‘What would you have done differently?’

Can you tell us about your social giveback and what you do to make a difference in people’s lives?

I think we do a lot to make meaning versus making money. This business is $120 million dollars, and one day we’ll be $200 million or $300 million. That’s fine in terms of a yardstick to measure our growth and see how big we’ve become but it doesn’t measure the meaning. The meaning, I think, is the less tangible side, and the meaning is, ‘Are our employees engaged? Are they happy? Do they enjoy coming to work?’ We went out and celebrating a bunch of goals last night with our entire Toronto office and everyone was like, ‘Wow, this is such a great place to work.’ That’s what we want people to be feeling, saying, thinking. The making meaning versus making money is doing good within our business. It’s doing good within the community that our franchise partners have been successful in. We have 180 franchisees who practice some form of philanthropy…So I believe that you first take care of your own family, your own house and do what you can to mentor, support, offer the right health benefits and programs to make sure people are happy and then inspire and empower others to get out and do good things.

Can you tell us something about your new ventures?

Wow 1 Day Painting is a painting business where we’ll go in, and as the name says, paint your home, inside or out, within a day. So it’s revolutionising the painting industry in terms of we’ll put a ton of people at a job, we know how to organise our labor and get the process done in a day with the same if not better quality in a timeframe that is completely unexpected. And I discovered that by being a customer of this company and fell in love with the fact that my house was painted in a day.

The third business is You Move Me, and that’s challenging another space where I’ve had poor service. I had a guy come by who did my move, or a team of people, and they broke stuff, they left a mess, they were rude. It was sort of everything you sort of expect from a moving company. And I thought, ‘Time to take on a third industry.’

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