Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

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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The Trouble with Fact-based Innovation

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Here’s a fact for you: my most successful new product, out of well over a hundred that I’ve launched, had the worst qualitative and quantitative test results of anything I ever encountered. People hated it. Then it sold a quarter of a billion dollars in its first year. My second most successful new product, which won awards on three continents and became a 70-year-old company’s biggest new product ever, was similarly panned in early testing. Is there a pattern here?

The trouble with most innovation methodologies and processes is that they look for “facts” to guide decisions. 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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Why You Need a Strategy for Organic Growth

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Some managers are lucky. They passively coast to growth inside high growth markets – the market drives their growth. Eventually they’ll fail, of course, but for now, it’s great to be them. Most managers, however, face the difficult decision of how to allocate resource between the other two available growth drivers: 1) organic growth, and 2) innovation.

Many leaders believe they must choose one or the other, that it is not possible to execute both successfully. In fact, it’s become quite fashionable to claim that only “white space strategies” – disruptive innovation – can drive growth.

We disagree.

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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 6 Dimensions of Explosive Growth

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Driving growth is a complex task for entrepreneurs and organization leaders. Some bloggers want you to believe that all you need to do is have a vision, or a plan, or innovate in white space. Sorry, not that simple. Our research has identified 6 critical growth drivers that need to be addressed and balanced. Read the rest of this entry »

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Got a Great Product? Now Make a Great Business (Pt 2)

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

As discussed in Part 1, having a great product, insight, or vision is a fine starting point for building a great business. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly enough. We continue analyzing what else you will need if you’re not going to end up begging your former employer to take you back. Read the rest of this entry »

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Got a Great Product? Now Make a Great Business (Pt 1)

Monday, October 18th, 2010

In the 80’s, Procter & Gamble invented a superior shampoo technology that could obsolete the need for a separate conditioner. It worked great in the lab and in-home-use tests. The company was convinced it represented the future of their haircare business.

Except consumers didn’t care. P&G couldn’t sell the stuff.

Sound familiar? How many brilliant engineers have built a better mousetrap only to find that no one wanted one?

Maybe you’re one of those for whom creating something remarkable is satisfaction enough. But most of us aspire to generate income, make a difference in the world, or both. 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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