Author Archives: Jeffrey Phillips

Watch Out – Executives Talking About Innovation

I'm upset about all the false promises and hot air I'm hearing right now, and I'm not even talking about the presidential race. I'm talking about all the misguided talk by executives about "innovation". Yesterday's NPR interview with new Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson provides an excellent example. I don't know Scott Thompson and I have no animus toward Yahoo, or for any of its competitors, so what I am about to write should be viewed in the light of a neutral observer trying to wrap his head around some "innovation" claims.

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Innovator as Storyteller

I've been catching up on some reading, and thinking about my own experiences working with customers who are trying to become more innovative. A pattern is beginning to emerge that has been sitting there in front of me for years, but is only now becoming clear.

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Innovation and Efficiency – Opposing Forces

I'm big on irony, so it's always exasperating yet amusing when my clients realize that attributes or characteristics they've thought of as strengths are revealed as barriers or weaknesses. As organizations grow and mature, they stop trying to evaluate their business models and the factors that sustain those models, and begin to take factors within the business model for granted - or argue in their defense.

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What Does the Crowd Know?

In one of my favorite movies, The Blues Brothers, the guys get themselves into a jam. They are supposed to play at Bob's Country Bunker, and don't really know what kind of music the audience enjoys. When they ask the waitress she responds, "Both kinds. Country and Western". Like the folks at Bob's Country Bunker I happen to enjoy both kinds of innovation, internal "closed" innovation and external "open" innovation.

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Give the People What They Want

One of the reasons that innovation seems to miss its promise so often is that great many products and services are presented with great fanfare and expectations about how those products and services will delight customers. Far too often, those expectations are wrong. That's not to say the product or service is inadequate, or that the need doesn't exist. There's simply more to the story that innovators often overlook.

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Innovation and Design – Prefix and Suffix

I titled this the Prefix and the Suffix because increasingly it seems that most firms believe that innovation is a "prefix" to the real work of product creation. If only the "front end" worked better, then we'd create more interesting and valuable products and services. To an extent that is probably true, but this thinking isolates innovation as if it were:

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