January 21, 2009
Sometimes the question you ask is more important than the actions you take.
During President Obama’s inauguration speech, he said…
“The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.”
This is brilliant in its simplicity. The same thought applies to innovation.
The question you need to ask is not whether you are developing creative products, processes or business ideas, but whether your innovation efforts work – whether they serve your customers, serve your employees, and ultimately serve your shareholders.
Innovation is not about change for change sake. It is about purposeful change that creates value that reduces costs, increases sales, or improves cash flow.
In these troubling times, asking the right question is more important than ever. Do your innovation efforts work?
December 22, 2008
In the Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi once told his student Daniel, “Walk on road. Walk right side, safe. Walk left side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later [makes squish gesture] get the squish, just like grape.”
to listen to Miyagi, press play
This fits nicely with my perspectives on innovating in tough times. In my previous blog entries on how to make your products/services more affordable and accessible, I discuss why the middle of the bell curve is a dangerous place to be in these economic times.
I was just speaking with a client of mine and we had the same conversation.
His Fortune 50 company offers a commodity item, but is considered to be a premium brand. They are never first to cut the price of their items (and they rarely cut prices), but they typically lead the charge in price increases. Their brand is associated with high quality and high performance. They are often focused on the right-hand side of the bell curve. They have been doing exceptionally well.
Their competitors fall into two categories.
Some are white label, low price producers. Budget brands. They provide a lower quality product that appeals to those with the least to spend. These companies are in the left-hand side of the bell curve. They seem to be doing particularly well now that people are looking for bargains.
Other competitors are in the middle of the bell curve. They provide good product at a good price. How are they going? These companies are being “squished” by the low cost providers on one side and the premium brands on the other. They are struggling. My client wonders how many of these companies will survive.
The middle of the bell curve is a dangerous place to be these days. If you aren’t careful, you might just get squished like a grape.
June 19, 2008
I did not know this, but excerpts from my blogs have been appearing regularly in a newsletter containing inspirational quotes. Members of the Gaia Community select their favorite tidbits and then distribute them via email and the website.
Click here if you want to read a bunch of my quotes.
March 1, 2008
Here’s a great quote from Ville Keränen from Finland:
“One idiot who walks gets further than five intellectuals who only talk…”
February 25, 2008
A person functioning exclusively in the Cartesian mode may be free from manifest symptoms but cannot be considered mentally healthy. Such individuals typically lead ego-centered, competitive, goal-oriented lives.
Over preoccupied with their past and future, they tend to have a limited awareness of the present and thus a limited ability to derive satisfaction from ordinary activities in everyday life. They concentrate on manipulating the external world and measure their living standard by the quantity of material possessions, while they become ever more alienated from their inner world and unable to appreciate the process of life.
For people whose existence is dominated by this mode of experience no level of wealth, power, or fame will bring genuine satisfaction, and thus they become infused with a sense of meaninglessness, futility, and even absurdity that no amount of external success can dispel.
From “The Turning Point: Science, Society and the Rising Culture” (1982) by Fritjof Capra, author of “The Tao of Physics”