Author Archives: Michael Graber

Overlooking the Obvious: Why Innovation Fails

This column was based on a presentation by Scott Jenkins, SVP of Innovation and Product Development of Deckers. Scott began this talk insisting on blending work and play.  His journey into “the sin of corporate innovation” happened eight years ago. At an early age Scott became fascinated with running shoes.  He met an inventor in 1978, when he was 18.  ...

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Strategic Foresight for Key Projects

Here are notes from the Back End of Innovation conference, 2015, in San Jose. These tips come from a workshop led by Tamara Carleton, Innovation Leadership Board, LLC. This session focuses on strategic foresight, which is the ability to build the future we envision. Strategic foresight is based on choices made today intended to influence future action. The goal is ...

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Welcome to the New Era of Automation

When Netflix put the Video Rental Retail stores in their coffins, there was still a sizable segment of people who missed the convenience, were suspect of a mail-order or streaming subscription service, or simply didn’t have the connectivity to enjoy it. Enter, RedBox. A new smart-automated adaptation of the Blockbuster model, scaled down to be easy-to-manage, easy-to-implement, and easy to ...

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Why Less is More: Product Strategy

Anxiety floods the boardroom, the conference rooms, every decision. Costs are rising. Returns are flat. Margins are thinning. Now, private label competitors are beating us in every area: technology, price, placement, design, and sales. Worse, they have turned the category that we invented...

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Experiments in Talent Retention

A fallacy about organizational management prevents many firms from getting the best out of their best people: the notion that everyone who excels in their jobs will eventually become managers, directors, etc. True, some may have a talent for management, while others flourish in active roles that have nothing to do with managing. Yet, the “up or out” paradigm that exists in ...

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For whom do you create new products?

According to AcuPoll more than 95-percent of new products fail each year. This harrowing statistic should sound an alarm, one that says the way we approach the conceptualization and launch of new products does not work. Every year, billions of dollars shrivel down to zero. Careers and jobs lost. So much talent and energy gets wasted in the misdirected compulsion ...

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Culture Trumps Concepts

When many people hear the word “Innovation” they think of a service that created a category: Xerox or FedEx. Or, they think of one that made bold, brilliant moves to earn a leadership position in an emerging space: Google, Facebook, Uber and Airbnb.

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Spotting Your Organization’s Orthodoxies

Spotting Your Organization's Orthodoxies

Often the very factors of success around which you launch, build, and manage an organization can turn on you like a venomous snake. The framework that worked so well, for so long, now limits the growth of the place. At some points the factors have turned into choke points. But your organization is geared by its way of doing things, ...

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