Make Yourself Obsolete or Your Competitors Will

Peter Drucker tells a great story about how the leading American consumer electronics manufacturers fumbled away their technological advantage during the early days of the transistors. “In 1947, Bell Laboratories invented the transistor. It was at once realized that the transistor was going to replace the vacuum tube, especially in consumer electronics such as radio and the brand-new television set. Everyone knew this; but nobody did anything about it. The leading manufacturers–at the time they were all American–began to study the transistor and to make plans for conversion to the transistor “sometime around 1970.” Till then, they proclaimed, the transistor “would not be ready.” Sony was practically unknown outside of Japan and was not even in consumer electronics at the time. But Akio Morita, Sony’s president. read about the transistor in the newspapers. As a result, he went to the United States and bought a license for the new transistor … Continue reading

Posted in Headlines, Innovation, Management, Strategy | 1 Comment
Kevin Roberts

If you’ve got four minutes and want to have your mind blown, take a look at this entertaining (and educational) video from Steven Johnson, author of the book Where Good Ideas Come From, which was just released recently. If the book is as good as the video, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more about it on this blog in the very near future. (And what is it about watching someone draw on a whiteboard that’s so hypnotic?!) Johnson brings a fresh perspective to examining how breakthrough ideas are formed. Instead of focusing on the psychology of innovation, he asks why certain environments seem to produce more original and exciting ideas than others. His conclusion: many of the best ideas come from the “collision of smaller hunches.” Environments that enable people to bring their inchoate ideas into contact with other people’s are where the magic happens. This reminded me of something … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Psychology, collaboration | 1 Comment
Taking the Subtle Knife to Innovation

I have to admit that Twitter has become a distraction for me. I use Twitter as a smart Feed Reader, relying on people I follow in the innovation community to alert me to things that are informative and interesting. Unfortunately there are so many people writing so much good stuff about innovation that Twitter itself becomes almost overwhelming. Here’s a case in point, which leads us to the case of the Subtle knife: The folks at the Creative Realities created a really funny short video which they claim demonstrates what happens when someone presents a new idea to management. You can see that video here: If you’ve watched the video you’ll recognize some truths and some fictions in the video, namely, the truth that ideas are often not well received even when they’ve been requested, and the fiction… Well the fiction that makes the video funny is the …

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Business Model Innovation Framework

Missing the Window of Opportunity or Seizing the Advantage by Paul Hobcraft Business model innovation is shaping up to be one of the most challenging aspects for leadership of existing business or that aspiring leaders need to fully understand. The question today being faced by many is how to transform existing business models so as to avoid that race to commoditization and decreasing shareholder value and so to provide improved value. Equally business model innovation increasingly needs to be able to reduce the threat of new competition that is constantly finding ways to undermine your present business. The Entrepreneur is snapping at your heels like never before. Leaders need the tools, skills and experience to envision, test and implement new business models more than ever and certainly faster than ever. The worrying aspect today it seems is that many leaders are still not knowing what it is within their existing … Continue reading

Posted in Headlines, Innovation | 6 Comments
Sun Chips Makes Some Noise

Ooh. Lots of angst in the past few days about Frito-Lay’s announcement that it’s killing (OK, significantly cutting back) its Sun Chips 100% compostable packaging because consumers complained about the noise. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The racket clocked in at around 95 decibels, louder than a lawnmower, a coffee grinder, or certain breeds of dog barking in your ear.” That is, indeed, loud. But can we not put up with a little…er, lots of noise if it’s good for the environment? That’s the argument Kate Sheppard makes in her blog post at Mother Jones, ominously headlined “Why We’re Doomed.” She admits that people are entitled to their own opinions about consumer product aesthetics, “but should those really trump the environmental benefits?” Hold on a minute there. Unless I’m missing something, it’s not a question of what’s good for the environment vs. what’s bad for the environment. It’s a … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Product Innovation, Psychology, marketing | 1 Comment
Stefan's Top 5 Open Innovation Quotes

Here are five quotes or sentences that I have heard or said myself over the years in my work with (open) innovation: “Next steps to create a strong networking culture? Nothing. This stuff takes care of itself.” – top executive after one of my seminars “A strong networking culture equals a strong innovation culture. What is your corporate networking strategy?” At a conference, I heard a big company representative say this – only half-jokingly – on creating win-win relationships: “Our definition of win-win is that we get to kick the little guy twice.” Sorry, this does not work in era of open innovation “The more time I spent on open innovation, the more I realize it is more about mindset than a toolbox.” “We do not necessarily need more innovation. We need better innovation that is fast, open and global.” What’s your favorite open innovation quote? Please add it to … Continue reading

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Dangers of Innovation Peer Pressure

My growing fear is that innovation is on course to become the fad of the day in the same way quality was in the 90s. Having said that, I expect that Braden Kelley’s new book – Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire is going to prove a very helpful guide for organizations making decisions about where innovation is relevant. For those of who missed, or were too young for it, the quality movement, it was everywhere. There was a big quality award called the Malcolm Baldrige award that top companies did everything they could to win. The premise was that everything needed to he high quality and at the time as a young Accenture employee, it actually seemed to make sense. Why wouldn’t you want everything to be high quality? These days it’s really obvious to me why you wouldn’t want everything to be super high quality, and there are a couple … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Leadership, Management | 2 Comments