Posts Tagged ‘game changer’

Street Fighting Strategy

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

[excerpt from our ebook, The 13 Deadly Sins of Marketing]

On the mean streets of marketing, where thugs lurk in every alley and aisle, your choices are few. Five strategies, that’s it. Of those, only two of those are worth pursuing. Of those, neither will succeed if they haven’t been built with a keen understanding of the competition as they will exist tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »

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What’s Your Innovation Sweet Spot?

Monday, January 9th, 2012

It is fashionable among innovation writers to scorn Sustaining Innovation (what this blog calls Organic Growth) – the kind of incremental product changes that allow ads to scream “New! Improved!” These writers generally applaud Apple’s ability to create new markets via Disruptive Innovation, conveniently forgetting that Apple is also masterful at Sustaining Innovation.

We have argued that the only rational innovation strategy is to balance effort behind both organic sustaining growth  and disruptive innovation. However, Clay Christensen, Harvard’s innovation theorist, points out that companies have a greater chance of success by specializing in one or the other. Specifically, he argues that Read the rest of this entry »

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But Is It Innovation?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

The trouble with talking about innovation is that we’re dealing with the opposite of potatoes. The old Gershwin song reminded us that whether we call it a po-tay-to or a po-tah-to, it’s the same tuber. With innovation, however, the same word has two very different meanings. You say innovation and I say innovation, and we might as well call the whole thing off.

Because it’s not a trivial miscommunication. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why You Need a Strategy for Innovation

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Companies that believe they must choose between organic growth and innovation will inevitably fail – it is a false choice. In a recent post, we defined organic growth and discussed what it can and cannot accomplish. Here, we continue with innovation. Sustainable success is all about balancing the two.

Innovation was last decade’s business buzzword, and for good reason. Real innovation is hard, but the potential payoff is huge. High risk, high reward.

We define innovation as the commercialization of a marketplace discontinuity. By definition, then, innovation has unpredictability built in – no one is good enough to truly disrupt with planned regularity. And that makes many managers uncomfortable Read the rest of this entry »

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Create Innovation Opportunities by Changing Your Glasses

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Often the best way to understand something is to forget what you understand about it. Look at things from another angle. Borrow someone’s glasses and view distortion. Or as Peter Murane of BrandJuice writes in Lessons From the Vinyl Sofa, “Getting stuck in information samesness forces people to only look at the world as it currently is, not think ahead to how it could be different.”

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Humility? I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Humility!

Monday, February 7th, 2011

The brilliant Julio Olalla recently told me a story  about the connection between language and experience.

He said to imagine you go to an art museum filled with several Gaugins. You stroll through. You notice the vibrant colors, the tropical scenes, the curious eyes of the Polynesian women. Then, as you leave, you run into the world’s greatest Gaugin scholar. She invites you to walk through the exhibit again, this time with her as your guide. Perhaps you think, “But I just saw it all!” But in the end, you go back through with her.

Do you really believe your second experience would be remotely like your first? Read the rest of this entry »

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The New Brand Management Model

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Consumer marketing has changed in significant ways this decade due to the growth of social media and other communication channels. Here are some of the biggest shifts.

During the classic era of CPG marketing, focus was easy. Now, not so much.

Back then, marketing managers had a handful of clear priorities: business planning and execution to deliver results, product development, research & analysis, training newbies, and advertising (which primarily meant TV, sometimes supplemented with PR, magazines, radio, POS, billboards, and sales collateral). In the classic model, one functional group served as hub of the wheel, controlling and coordinating all internal and external activities related to the product or brand. It was all about one brand, one position, one message.

Today that model has been blown up by complexity. Read the rest of this entry »

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Embracing Resistance

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

When I look back on mistakes I’ve made over my career, I find the same scenario repeated with embarrassing frequency: another manager opposed change that I was trying to implement, and I saw him or her as my enemy. This is top of mind this week after rereading a lecture by Susan Skjei of Naropa University, where I recently completed a course called “Authentic Leadership.”

One of Susan’s points is that all change provokes resistance. If there is no resistance, chances are the change is either illusory (a repackaging of the status quo) or bound for failure.

In other words, resistance is not only natural, it’s a signal that we’re on the right path. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Praise of Generalists: A Guide for Recruiting

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

“We’re going to train a generalist group of leaders…I think that’s the future of leadership.” - John Chambers, CEO, Cisco Systems, 2010

One of the most significant yet least commented on business trends of the past decade has been the decline of generalists and the rise of specificity in postings for managerial positions.  I believe this trend is dangerous, leading to suboptimal hiring decisions.

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Tweets, Divination, and the Modern Executive:
A Stratagem for Mastering Information Overload

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Our 24/7 connectivity and its continuous assault on our intellect and senses has created information overload. Today’s leaders and solopreneurs must find coping mechanisms or drown in a sea of too-muchness. Fortunately, our ancestors had techniques that still apply.

My wife spent her childhood summers in isolated mountain villages in Lebanon, where Read the rest of this entry »

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Stumbling Towards Innovation

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Sometimes the best way forward is just to start, knowing you’re probably going in the wrong direction. Simply breaking with the status quo and getting in new kinds of trouble stimulates innovation.

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New Economy? What’s Changed?

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Every decade or so, conventional wisdom proclaims that The Game Has Changed Forever! But has it really?

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