Author Archives: Rowan Gibson
An Innovation Excellence Classic: From an interview with Rowan Gibson
AS WE ENTER the twenty-first century, there is a pressing need for clear strategies. Because unless companies have a clear vision about how they are going to be distinctly different and unique, offering something different than their rivals to some different group of customers, they are going to get eaten alive by the intensity of competition.
Where is Latin America on the world map of innovation excellence? According to INSEAD’s Global Innovation Index, the whole region is pretty much nowhere. The bleak news from the 2011 index, published about 6 months ago, is that only Chile made it into the top 40 (at number 38). Costa Rica and Brazil followed, at numbers 45 and 47 respectively… Continue reading
We have known for some time that game-changing business innovations tend to be born the same way. In my book Innovation to the Core, I use the phrase “combinational chemistry” to describe the process of recombining insights, ideas, half-baked notions, competencies, concepts, technologies and assets to produce radical new breakthroughs. Continue reading
I’ve always said that you can innovate around literally anything, whether it’s toasters, tires, or paint cans, or a conventional business model like, say, banking, or air travel, or automobiles. All you have to do is use the right methodology to start radically reinventing whatever has gone before. Continue reading
An Ode to the “Great Man” of Innovation All good things must come to an end. In 1986, after an incredible seven-year relationship with Apple, the brilliant advertising agency Chiat/Day – responsible for such masterpieces as the famous “1984” Super Bowl commercial, and by far the era’s best print ads for the computer industry – was unduly ousted (as Steve Jobs had been one year previously) by Apple’s hapless CEO John Sculley. Instead of complaining, condemning or criticizing his former client, Jay Chiat ran a $40,000 full-page ad in the New York Times with the headline “Thanks, Apple”. I absolutely loved the gesture. Among other things, the ad said: “Thanks for letting us make a little history. Thanks for demanding our best, and then more than our best.” The words, of course, were directed not at Apple in general but at one particular person – Steve Jobs. And they speak … Continue reading
To build and sustain a robust innovation capability, your company needs to carefully manage both the supply side and the demand side of innovation. By “supply” I mean the sheer flow—and the quality—of new ideas entering your innovation pipeline and moving through its various stages. By “demand” I mean the natural, reflexive pull for those ideas within and across the businesses. When supply is low, one tends to see a kind of idea inflation, meaning that opportunities are presented (often unintentionally) with an inflated sense of their value. This is simply because there are few other viable growth opportunities in the portfolio to pursue. The inherent risk here is that an organization invests substantially in what are actually quite mediocre ideas—ones that are unlikely to drive any significant revenue growth. Conversely, when demand is low—when the organization is not naturally and reflexively able to respond to, nurture, and act on … Continue reading