Thursday, August 25, 2011

What is a culture of innovation anyway?

Great overall discussion!!

"....To me, corporate culture is the set of assumptions, beliefs, practices, formal and informal rules and attitudes about how a company operates. Corporate culture evolves over time, and is both formal and informal. Corporate culture often shifts over time as well. Young entrepreneurial firms and startups have a culture that thrives on risk, speed and change. Growth is paramount. Older, established firms have a culture more typically based on rules, hierarchy, achievement of predictable milestones. While many firms have elaborately detailed organizational hierarchies and established workflows, corporate culture is often much more informal, and more powerful than any individual, and often more powerful than senior executives appreciate or expect.In an organization with a strong corporate culture, people learn to fit in quickly, adjust their thinking to the predominant culture or are quickly ostracized. Corporate culture, more than any other factor, details how people think, what they believe is important and valuable, and dictates how work should get done. It is difficult to change, especially under duress, and often communicates much about the values and intentions of a business. For a blog post, that’s as far as I’ll go to define culture. There are plenty of other resources that, given time and space, will do a better job defining culture.......If corporate culture is as overarching and powerful as I’ve described above, if it can dictate how people think and what people do, then culture is clearly either a significant barrier to innovation or a significant enabler to innovation......A culture of innovation, therefore, indicates that an organization is at least willing to embrace many of the tools and techniques that innovation requires, but moreover is able to endure the potential outcomes. For every innovation success there are many attempts and several failures. Every innovation is potentially cannibalizing an existing product or service, and innovation forces constant change – not just to products and services, but to experiences and business models. This means that a culture of innovation is agile, nimble, constantly adapting and learning, open to experimentation and many points of view. A culture of innovation tolerates and learns from failure, incorporating the best parts of the failure into new efforts. A culture of innovation understands that innovation is a continuous, consistent process rather than an occasional effort. A culture of innovation seeks out internal and external viewpoints and perspectives that are different from what the team “wants” to hear, and works closely with customers, partners and even the disinterested to understand future needs. A culture of innovation has as much invested in understanding the future as it does in delivering value in the present. A culture of innovation constantly generates ideas but also has the ability to commercialize the best ideas and ships valuable products. A culture of innovation isn’t just an idea machine, it is a commercialization machine."

Sunday, August 21, 2011


This is an interesting provocation and discussion.

What is it about being a true global brand these days? Do we still have to think global and act local? Or has the web changed all that, bringing the world together more than ever before?...….Today the significant opportunity in brand building is to maximize one idea across the globe, to create an inspirational rallying cry for a global consumer movement….….It isn’t easy to communicate across different cultures and countries while having one overall brand that really makes an impact….….Few brands act this way. Corporate culture, cultural differences, and different usage habits have stopped many a brand from realizing their global potential. There always seems to be a reason why a brand shouldn’t have one idea around the world.
Since the Internet overtook our lives, this ‘global against local’ way of advertising is becoming increasingly difficult for brands. Like never before, people are communicating and engaging with the entire world. Borders and boundaries have ceased to exist as people tweet, blog and chat online in real-time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week with just about every country on the planet.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Innovation is All About Value

This is a great discussion on the meaningful “outcome” of innovation. I always say that innovation is not the critical outcome, growth is. This describes driving growth by truly creating and delivering value to the target customer/consumer.

Innovation transforms the useful seeds of invention into solutions valued above every existing alternative – and widely adopted…..
  …Often usefulness comes from what a product or service does for you, and value comes from how it does it. If you’re looking to truly deliver innovative products and services into the marketplace, then once you succeed at the designing and developing the ‘what’, don’t forget to also focus on achieving excellence in the ‘how’.”….
 ….Innovation = Value Creation (x) Value Access (x) Value Translation
 Now you will notice that the components are multiplicative not additive. Do one or two well and one poorly and it doesn’t necessarily add up to a positive result. Doing one poorly and two well can still doom your innovation investment to failure. Let’s look at the three equation components in brief:Value Creation is pretty self-explanatory. Your innovation investment must create incremental or completely new value large enough to overcome the switching costs of moving to your new solution from the old solution (including the ‘Do Nothing Solution’). New value can be created by making something more efficient, more effective, and possible that wasn’t possible before, or creates new psychological or emotional benefits
.Value Access could also be thought of as friction reduction. How easy do you make it for customers and consumers to access the value you’ve created? How well has the product or service been designed to allow people to access the value easily? How easy is it for the solution to be created? How easy is it for people to do business with you?
 Value Translation 
is all about helping people understand the value you’ve created and how it fits into their lives. Value translation is also about understanding where on a continuum between the need for explanation and education that your solution falls. Incremental innovations can usually just be explained to people because they anchor to something they already understand, but radical or disruptive innovations inevitably require some level of education (often far in advance of the launch).

Monday, August 08, 2011

The positioning of marketing

This is a very import functional distinction for marketing that often is overlooked. We deal with the customer promise in how we –in the Market Driven Growth process—define the Business Design:
Specifically, the marketing function should lead the company in defining who the target customers are and what outcomes we hope to create for them (Needs Segmentation)  and the specific Value Promise for each of these customer groups dealing with the functional, economic, and emotive components of the offering promise. Not covered in this article, is also the function of defining Value Capture, how we capture value

Peter Drucker famously commented that:
"Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two--and only two--basic functions: marketing and innovation."-
“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business."

Why did one of the founders of modern business management make such a bold statement? Why did he attribute such an important role to marketing, and how does that relate to all the other things that a business organization does?

We believe the answer lies in the definition of marketing as two essential components:
1.    Making a compelling promise to select customers--the role of marketing is to make compelling promises that we can keep and to ensure that we keep the promises we have made
2.    Keeping that promise--The second, and often overlooked, role of marketing is in helping the organization keep the chosen promise to target customers