Great Moments in Business Model Innovation History

Peter Drucker tells the story about how a tiny photographic paper and equipment manufacturer from upstate New York ended up cornering the copy machine market in the second half of the twentieth century. And they did it by being a pricing innovator, not a technology innovator. It’s a reminder of the importance of using pricing as part of your overall strategy. One reason why the patents on a copying machine ended up at a small, obscure company in Rochester, New York, then known as the Haloid Company, rather than at one of the big printing-machine manufacturers, was that none of the large established manufacturers saw any possibility of selling a copying machine. Their calculations showed that such a machine would have to sell for at least $4,000. Nobody was going to pay such a sum for a copying machine [in the 1950s] when carbon paper cost practically nothing. Also, of … Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Sales, Strategy | 2 Comments
Young, Smart and Searching for a Dream

Recently I wrote about the boomers and how they’re still one of the most important consumer groups on the planet. Funding the cost of the retiring boomer generation is a headache many Western nations have to deal with. Younger generations have been much less populous, creating a demographic mushroom cloud where a shrinking tax base faces the challenge of stemming rising costs associated with pensions, healthcare and other services required – and demanded – by retiring boomers. Migration can compound or relieve the problem. Over 2010 and 2011, 120,000 people are expected to leave Ireland in response to the Emerald Isle’s economic woes. In Australia it’s the reverse. At 2.1% Australia’s population growth, two-thirds of which is driven by new arrivals, is double the world average. The real worry is the next generation, aka our future. Many on the move are young, smart, and searching for a dream that’s evaporated, … Continue reading

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Hazards of Binary Thinking

And the Dangers of Poor Scope Definition by Jeffrey Phillips I was talking recently with a client, who was describing a problem in their business. Due to new regulations, the client wasn’t going to be able to charge fees on certain transactions, or the fees were going to be far lower. In response to this, a team was formed to consider how to respond. The inevitable response was – let’s create new fees for other services. My client had called me to ask: how do we get the team to think differently – beyond fees? That’s not to say that fees aren’t valuable, just that all the team was doing was switching one set of fees for another. There are two thinking issues here that impact innovation: the scope of the problem you define, and the range of thinking you allow. In this case, the …

Posted in Innovation, Leadership, Management, Psychology | 2 Comments
Innovation + Best Practices Win Race

Whether You’re Racing to the South Pole or Racing for Business Improvement by Robert F. Brands One hundred years ago, two men set out on a Race to the South Pole. Both Englishman Robert Falcon Scott and Norwegian Roald Amundsen were experienced explorers. They knew the polar conditions of Antarctica. They knew with reward came inherent risk. Their shared tale is one about best practices versus innovation. One relied on mere “innovation” to master a frozen continent. The other innovated best practices he’d learned through years of intensive research. One traveled to the South Pole, planted his nation’s flag as the first, and returned safely. The other reached the pole, saw he’d been beaten, and paid the ultimate price for his poorly planned expedition. Amundsen blended modern innovation with time-tested best practices common among people who lived in extremes. Scott relied mostly on what he thought was innovation, but in … Continue reading

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Managing University Inventions

If the Supreme Court gives universities greater control over the inventions created by their faculty and grad students, the Court should also require universities to publish metrics that shed light into how they are managing their invention portfolios. Continue reading

Posted in Innovation, Open Innovation, collaboration, education | 1 Comment
Small Company Perspective on Open Innovation

Metaio by Stefan Lindegaard In the coming months, I will interview and write about SME’s and their experiences with open innovation as I hope this can help us develop a more holistic view and understanding of open innovation. The first interview is with Metaio, which develops software products for visual interactive solutions combining real and virtual elements. It is a privately held software company founded in 2003 with 65+ employees, based at 3 locations in Germany, South Korea and the US having 340+ customers. A key to Metaio’s success is innovation with other partners. In this interview, Jan Schlink shares the some views on how a small company looks on this. Before we get into the interview, I want to share a comment by Jan. He wrote “to be honest: I wasn’t pretty much aware of the term and circumstances of “open innovation” (definition-wise) and I hope my answers are … Continue reading

Posted in Entrepreneurship, Open Innovation, Strategy | 2 Comments
Keys to Successful Brainstorming

There are a numerous approaches to brainstorming, but whichever approach you use, there are several key factors which make the difference between a successful brainstorming session and a mediocre brainstorming session. State your challenge correctly. In order to get the right ideas, you need to ensure that you are giving the brainstorm session participants the right challenge. Otherwise, you could end up with a lot of ideas which do not actually solve your problem. To learn more, download Dr. Arthur Van Gundy’s article: The care and framing of strategic innovation challenges (PDF document: 537kb) No squelching! Squelching is when you criticize an idea or a person contributing the idea. Squelching can be obvious, such as “That’s the dumbest idea I have ever heard!” or subtle, such as “you’d never get the budget to do that.” No matter what the form, squelching does two terrible things to a brainstorming session. Firstly, … Continue reading

Posted in Creativity, Innovation, collaboration | 4 Comments