Now is the Time to Innovate

by Steve McKee

Now is the Time to Innovate - Transparent ToasterHave you given up on innovation? MIT’s Michael Schrage says that can be fatal to any company, no matter the industry.

Schrage offers an interesting counterpoint to a famous statement by Columbia Business School’s Bruce Greenwald, who said, “In the long run, everything is a toaster.” Schrage disagrees, citing the evolution of two-sided toasting (1919), toaster ovens (1950s) and digital toasters (1990s), among other advances.

And Schrage says the opportunity for innovation can be especially ripe in industries that appear to be commoditized. “Price wars for products don’t necessarily mean that innovation has reached its limit;” he says, “but the low prices could be a signal that more advances are needed.”

Even in the mundane world of toasters, the playing field is continually changing. How are you using innovation to change the dynamics of your industry?

Steve McKeeSteve McKee is a columnist, marketing consultant, and author of “When Growth Stalls: How it Happens, Why You’re Stuck, and What To Do About It.” Learn more about him at and at

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