We are still in the biggest financial crises the world has ever seen. This crisis has turned more or less everything we thought we knew about financial market up side down. Currently students and scholars are busy studying what happened during the crises, and are rewriting the books. Most thinks needs rewriting, the one thing the crises did confirm, and that might arguably be the only financial fact that has stood the test of time is, that innovation equals growth, sustainability and profit. The true innovators continue to prosper during the crisis and it.
Knowingly or unknowingly they are using the result of both Asch and Schumpeter research. The results they create are incredible. They have a few things in common.
The innovation companies are not waiting until the customer is reacting, they act before this happens and they come up with new ideas that enhance the service they provide, which actually leads to value for both customer and suppliers.
They understand that the innovation cycles are different from business to business and from market to market, AND these cycles are getting shorter as I am writing this and by the time you have read it, it has become shorter again.
Finally another undeniable fact is that changing the business model as opposed to improving the technology creates the most value. Some of you will not, at first agree to this; however think about the following examples.Starbucks: They have created a business model, where we the customer are buying a lifestyle, while they sell coffee. What does that mean? My version is the following.
I arrived late afternoon in Atlanta, got to my hotel, and had a lovely dinner with my team where we also talked about the next day’s schedule. It was agreed that I would be picked up at 0830 and I was asked “Should I bring you Starbucks for tomorrow morning”!!!!!!!!!!! Not would you like me to bring coffee no “should I bring you Starbucks” At this time Starbucks has long been known, and there were a number of other businesses that were trying to get into this market, so the person could just as easily have asked me “should I bring you Coffee Bean”. Starbucks have managed to create something special and attractive. Is it innovative? Yes it is, because it has turned ideas into money a lot of money, by creating a value for the customers. They have single handily revolutionised the entire industry. The big question is, what’s next?
It means that I encourage you to start thinking different and more importantly acting different. It is about getting the entire organisation to understand that Innovation is about creating value, it is about creating output as opposed to spending R&D money, it is about turning ideas into money. Break down the barriers between your R&D organisation and the rest of the organisation and allowing all the people you have in the organisation to participate AND especially listen to the people below the age of 30. It is about allowing our fantasy to come to life, for as Albert Einstein once said “fantasy is more important than science, because science is limited”.