The new logic of innovation

Apparently there is a food truck trend happening in the U.S. and everybody is talking about it.

To me what’s funny is that in Mexico, food trucks are a street corner staple. We like to say that for every Starbucks that exists we have 20 times more food trucks on every other corner of every street. I’m exaggerating a little bit but it’s true, in Mexico they’re part of our daily routine.

They type of food these trucks serve varies wildly, from tacos to tortas to sandwiches and even breakfast. These trucks serve people wherever they are, even in the the border crossing from Tijuana to San Diego. People who live in Tijuana but work in San Diego or Los Angeles, depend on these trucks for their breakfast.

So, why hasn’t anybody else thought about this and why is it becoming a trend now?

The big difference, in my opinion, is that in the world we live today where anybody with a Twitter account can tell you where they are it creates a very different and interesting dynamic. A food truck is no longer stationary, it goes and moves with customers. Technology is the enabler.

Why am I telling you this?

Because whatever works somewhere else can be adapted in your environment. It can be ideas that work to solve a similar problem in unrelated fields, it can be a trend that’s happening in another part of the world, or it can something you notice in your travels that you think might work in your market.

Indra Nooyi, the change-minded CEO of PepsiCo, has her own language to capture the same phenomenon. She describes the new logic of innovation as “lift and shift.” That is, search for great ideas in unrelated fields, lift them out of the context in which they took shape, and shift them into your company.

A few months ago I wrote about a systematic way to ‘steal and adapt’ ideas that work somewhere else so you may use them to your advantage, be sure to give it a read 🙂

Innovations that matter arise from perspectives that cross boundaries

This is the new normal and you better get good at “lifting and shifting” because as the internet expands our reach and our knowledge, our collaborative capabilities become more important. That’s why social media is so much more than just publishing status updates and links and then conversing about them with like minded people. It’s also a game changer when it comes to collaboration because we are no longer siloed to our own view about the world, we can break out and immerse ourselves in new perspectives.

Remember then that proven insights from one field can become a powerful force for innovation when they migrate to another field. Ask yourself: What’s happening in another part of the world that you could adopt and adapt in your environment? What business models work well in that market that you can apply in yours?

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