Innovation 101

The world continues to revolve and to rotate, and yet some mornings, like today, I find myself asking why bother.

Moammar Gadhafi—the name does not even pass Word’s spell check which should tell him something about his popularity—dressed in his Michael Jackson garage sale Thriller outfits is discovering quickly that his Lawrence of Arabia shtick is about as effective as is Congress’ pretense at leading from behind.  Speaking of which, now that Congress are back from Nebraska’s beaches, maybe they can save the country.

What else?  Kim Kardashian is married—whew, I thought that would never end, Jimmy Hoffa has sworn off drinking tea party, and Chaz, minus some of the important parts will be appearing as a man on Dancing with the Stars.  I will be appearing as a giraffe on Animal Planet.

The country keeps getting curiouser and curiouser and where does that leave your business in an economy that has gone Byzantine?  It appears choices are somewhat limited.  Firms can wait until the unknown influencers become known, they can wait for Washington to sort out who’s on first, or they can decide to innovate.

When I think of innovation I think of it as follows: knowledge plus need equals innovation.  To renew or change.  From a firm’s perspective, before innovation can have application, questions must be defined and answered:

·         What is the need:

  • Declining market share
  • Uncertain markets
  • Poor economic conditions
  • New technologies causing obsolescence
  • Entering new markets

·         What knowledge is required

·         What can be renewed

·         What must be changed

Doing today what you were doing yesterday is not the picture of innovating.  It is the first day of the last days of your business.  Moving your production to China, or your call center to India is not innovative, it is cutting cost.  Anyone can cut costs, until there are no more costs to cut.  Then what?  The most effective way to cut costs is to turn off the lights and lock the door.

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