Archive for: May, 2013

No investment in innovation means no investment in the future

accenture why low cost innovation is risky

“It’s absolutely ingrained in human nature that we simply assign responsibility for what went wrong instead of chalking it up to bad luck. And bad luck is out there. You can’t totally insulate yourself from it because if you try to, you really impair your ability to achieve good luck. And unfortunately, the world is sufficiently complex that you have to make the conditional assumption that you’re going to get some breaks along the line. Otherwise, you’re dead.” – Bob Hamman

Investing in innovation isn’t paying off for most companies. 93% of companies feel innovation is important, but only 18% believe it’s effective. That is the conclusion from a recent report from Accenture titled “Why low risk innovation is costly”. This isn’t surprising. 96% of all innovation investments don’t pay off. Of course, we’d love to flip that number and see our innovation efforts succeed 96% of the time. But, that will never be the case. It is something we have to accept.

I’m not being pessimistic. Luck plays a huge role in innovation. No matter how much expertise you’ve accumulated along the way, the simple act of doing things differently will make that expertise irrelevant. Accept it. Make peace with it. You have to expect and plan for the possibility of failure. There is a reason why we don’t see game-changing innovations. They are rare. For example, Google is a rare company that is betting on moonshots. Even so, with that intent, pundits are already saying that Google Glass and Google’s driver-less car will fail. Yet, most of us have yet to have contact with either product. When breakthroughs are attempted, skepticism is common.

Before setting out to innovate, we must remember a few things:

HBR’s 10 Must Reads: The Essentials

HBR essentials

Last week I shared with you HBR’s 10 must reads on innovation. Today I’ll share HBR’s 10 Essential must reads.

Again, just click on the link and voila!

Tunnel vision: The enemy of strategic thinking

tunnel vision

Two weekends ago, I went to Disneyland with my brother. We had a good time and got a on a lot rides. Including some I’ve never gotten on before. Astro Blasters is one such ride. If you’ve never experienced it, think of it as a shooting gallery on wheels.

Basically, you ride a two person pod that has two laser guns attached to it along with a screen that shows you how many points you have. Your task is to hit targets with the letter “Z” on them. Different targets are worth different points. And, as you’ve probably guessed, you have to accumulate as many points as you can.

What is interesting about this ride, beyond the shooting, is that the Disney staff loading you onto the pods don’t tell you about specific goals (points) you should reach for. Nor did I see any Leader boards anywhere. I did see people taking pictures of the screen where their total points is displayed. Most likely they were going to share this with their friends and brag about it.

It is a fun and exhilarating ride. Very different that just sitting there and looking at your surroundings. But…ask me what I remember about what I saw inside. Not much.

I do remember where I saw those “Z” targets I had to shoot at. I don’t remember much of what was around that. Interesting right?

Stop guessing. Business is done outside the office!

The Answers Are Outside The Building

How do you do real business development? “Stop guessing. Business is done outside the office!” That is the core message from Stu Heilsberg’s book. A true Business Development Executive, Stu shares his experience in The Answers Are Outside The Building.

Business development is customer/client development. Being Startup Weekend Organizer and entrepreneur, I’m well aware of the “customer development” concept advocated by Eric Ries and Steve Blank.