Author Archives: Rowan Gibson

Are You In Innovation Denial?

Sometime over the next decade (if it hasn't happened already), your company will be challenged to change in a way for which it has no historical precedent. Look around the world today and we see entire industries whose business models have gone belly up. The pharmaceutical industry has a fundamentally broken business model. The global grocery business has an imperiled business model.

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When Innovation Goes Wrong

Ever since innovation became the buzzword du Jour, a lot of people seem to have lost their ability to tell smart ideas from stupid ones. Case in point: the financial "innovations" (read: stunningly stupid loan products) that kicked off the trillion-dollar economic meltdown mess we're currently in. The simplistic notion that "new equals good" has often been a recipe for grand-scale disaster, just as it was in the dotcom debacle at the turn of the millennium.

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Problems – An Opportunity for Radical Innovation

Take a break from all the negative news about the economy. On my speaking trip to India, I was struck by the unbounded optimism in business circles. Sure, growth might be temporarily slowing, which may put the damper on investments for a short while. But, Indians have learned to take the long view. Whether the value of the Dollar, or the price of oil, or even the whole US economy goes up or down, they know the future is still gravitating irreversibly toward Asia.

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Time to Search for New Strategic Growth Opportunities

It had to happen. After several years of solid growth and blue sky thinking, we now have a big, dark cloud hanging over the global economy. So what do we do next? Many companies are likely to put the brakes on strategic growth initiatives, reasoning that money is getting too tight to invest in innovation. It's the usual knee-jerk reaction. And it's totally counterproductive. In a stalling economy, companies need to find new opportunities for pushing up revenues, not just focus on cutting costs.

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Who is Your Innovation Czar?

It never ceases to amaze me. I'm meeting with the executive committee of a major global company. I've just asked if innovation is one of their top strategic priorities. Their unanimous answer is "yes". I then ask about their individual responsibilities. "Which one of you is the CFO?" "Who is head of HR?" "Where's the CIO?" One by one their hands go up. Yet when I ask to see their global director of innovation, nobody raises a hand.

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Will Your Strategy Kill Your Company?

Many companies once believed - and some of them evidently still do - that business models were essentially immortal. The prevailing attitude was that while product portfolios might need to be refreshed every now and again, successful strategies would remain successful for the rest of time. Shell would suck oil out of the ground, General Motors would make cars, Xerox would make copiers, and that's the way it would always be.

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Innovation Goal – Growth or Strategic Renewal?

What exactly is the goal of your company's innovation efforts? "Oh, that's easy", senior managers usually reply, "We need to grow the business." The line of logic here is relatively simple: "Innovation leads to wealth creation leads to growth" - which, of course, is fair enough. Based on this logic, companies of every stripe are now racing to pursue the kind of innovation that generates organic growth, new revenues, and wider profit margins.

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Innovation Regeneration

In biology, there's an old saying: "Growth is the only evidence of life". A lot of investors on Wall Street seem to echo these words when they evaluate today's corporations - and business leaders are getting the message. At GE, for example, CEO Jeff Immelt is on the hook to deliver an incredible 8% of organic growth each year. This represents around $15 billion of new revenue - equivalent to the combined annual revenue of America's entire bookstore industry, or fitness industry, or music production and distribution industry!

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The Innovation Movement Gains Momentum!

Is every corner of your organization pulsing—at all times—with radical, rule-breaking concepts for new products, services, strategies, and businesses, providing you with a continual flow of innovations with which to delight your customers, confound your competitors, and richly reward your shareholders?

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