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With 19 days left till BIF-8 we’re ready to connect with our storytellers. Simon Majumdar, traveler, bestselling author and Food Network Star has a perfect recipe for transformation. Get a taste for his innovation journey with this recent Q+A interview, before he whips up the main dish on the BIF-8 stage.  

Talk about a defining moment of inspiration for yourself or your organization

My defining moment came at the end of 2006 when I experienced what I now realize was a nervous breakdown caused by many factors.  I found and old notebook with a list of goals to achieve once I turned 40 (have a suit made on Saville Row, run a marathon etc etc)  At the bottom of the list were four words “Go Everywhere, Eat Everything”  That is now the mantra for my life and was the motivation for my first book ‘Eat My Globe”

How does your network keep you creative

I now have an amazing network of Food Network colleagues to whom I look for inspiration, not just for ideas, but also for improvement.  I am a great believer in “humbly seeking out the company of excellence” and find that if I do, everything I do improves because of it.

We here at the Business Innovation Factory are all about passion. Love what you do? Or do what you love?

I am lucky enough to do both.  But, you have to invest in yourself to do it.  I spent my entire life savings to travel and eat around the world, but it has put me in the situation where I now, basically eat for a living.  Not everyone is that lucky, so my advice is, whatever job you do, do it 100% and take satisfaction from that.

We know the importance of transforming business models, can you give us an example of a personal transformation?

the whole “second act” of my life has been a transformation.  I went from being a miserable, miserably single 40 something publisher in London to being living in LA, being married to the woman of my dreams and appearing on National TV.  I have worked very hard to get here and made commitments that perhaps some others would not have been prepared to make, but I also acknowledge both the hard work of others who help me along the way and the enormous good fortune I have encountered to get here.

We learn by doing, how do you test new ideas? 

Ideas are like recipes.  You keep testing them until they are perfect.  I am also a great believer in sharing ideas and goals.  By telling people close to you, it makes them real and helps you focus. Also, you never know who might be able to help you along the way.  They can’t do that if they don’t know what you are trying to achieve.

Do you embrace vulnerability? How do you use it as an asset?

I have always felt vulnerable in my career.  I am one of those people who expect everyday someone to tap him on the shoulder and say “Oi, you shouldn’t be on TV, get back to working in the bookstore (my first job)” It is a great motivator and helps me always give 100%

What’s the biggest obstacle to innovation? How do you get past that obstacle?

The biggest obstacle to innovation is comfort.  People get to a point where they are comfortable and then settle there.  Life should be about challenges, fears of failure, battles to succeed and the immense feeling of satisfaction when you do.