Author Archives: Rowan Gibson
For most companies, there comes a moment when the only way to continue growing is, paradoxically, to divest things – to get rid of traditional parts of the business where growth has stagnated and to get into new, more innovative businesses that have the potential to grow faster. In practice, this rarely happens. When most managers are put in charge of an existing business, they… Continue reading
One of the problems with innovation is that, in any given industry, it can get harder and harder over time to come up with the kind of ideas that totally reinvent things in a fundamental and significant way. Take any vector of innovation and you get to some point where you may have just exhausted the possibilities. Look at today’s automobile. It’s essentially based on the same architecture we’ve been using for a hundred years – a wheel at each corner, a steering wheel on one side, an engine at the front or back, a gearbox, and so forth. So innovation in the automobile industry… Continue reading
Ask any group of senior executives why they think innovation has become such an imperative, and the answer is invariably, “Because it drives growth.” This is quite a reasonable and obvious way of thinking. Pushed into a relentless and never-ending race to grow earnings faster than the industry average, companies are increasingly turning to innovation as today’s best bet for closing the “growth gap.” Continue reading
Ever since innovation became the buzzword du Jour, a lot of people seem to have lost their ability to tell smart ideas from stupid ones. Case in point: the financial “innovations” (read: stunningly stupid loan products) that kicked off the trillion-dollar economic meltdown mess we’re currently in. The simplistic notion that “new equals good” has often been a recipe for grand-scale disaster, just as it was in the dotcom debacle at the turn of the millennium. Continue reading
Why do some nations and geographic regions seem to be hotbeds of creative entrepreneurship and economic growth, while others remain innovation laggards? In his book The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, Harvard professor David Landis writes, “If we learn anything from the history of economic development, it is that culture makes almost all the difference.” National governments the world over are waking up to this truth as they struggle to improve their countries’ global competitiveness and economic prosperity. Continue reading
It happened many months ago, when I was meeting with some people from one of the world’s leading consumer goods manufacturers. This is a company where you would expect innovation to have been honed down to a fine art because it has launched a slew of successful innovations over the course of its long, proud history. Continue reading
Is every corner of your organization pulsing—at all times—with radical, rule-breaking concepts for new products, services, strategies, and businesses, providing you with a continual flow of innovations with which to delight your customers, confound your competitors, and richly reward your shareholders?