Category Archives: Innovation

Identify your Competitive Moat

Just a thought – To stay competitive, an organization or an individual has to identify the ‘Competitive Moat’. The following framework will help:

Competitive Moat

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Does your company support Failure?

So your organization swears by Innovation. Every interview of your senior management team touches upon ‘Innovation as the need of the hour’. In globalized commoditization of products and services, innovation is the common theme across organizations.

But are you Innovative? The more important question is, does your organization support the culture of Innovation? I think the answer to the last question can be found in the annual review system.

I have seen different appraisal / employee review systems throughout my career. I feel they were all based on the number of points you get for your achievements. This point system does not tell me to what extent the person tried. I think for managers and above, one key question that should be introduced in such system should be to “Tell about 2 key initiatives in which you have failed”.

Innovation is a function of right culture and processes. Management should be aware of the risks managers are taking and the new ideas / opportunities managers are trying. Without this question, employees tend to minimize trying new things and avoid risks / uncertainties. Without this question, there will not be any push to get out of the comfort zone.

As put by Jess Bezos – “If you want to be inventive — you have to be willing to fail.

 Or by IBM founder, Thomas Watson, “Go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember that’s where you’ll find success. On the far side.

Dilbert-on-Entrepreneurship-And-Failure

You can try this single question survey: http://www.decisionstrat.com/surveys/index.php?sid=15323&lang=en

Innovation and Types

 Commoditization of services, stale products, need for Innovation? Sounds like you are in a familiar turf? You bet you are!

 As products and services are becoming commodities, increasingly organizations are looking for the ways to differentiate themselves through further innovations. Organizations are fiddling with human-centred approach to solve problems and improve offerings. But one of the missing ingredients in the dish is identification of ‘Type of Innovation’.

Let’s take a step back and go back on how we can provide new offerings to our consumers. Now all of you with business degrees are aware of Ansoff’s Growth Matrix (Yes! It’s your moment). I can extend it to identify the route I want to take for business growth.

To support the growth, an organization needs 3 innovation types – Process, Incremental, and Lateral.

 

And accordingly organizations need to select their teams. Depending on the growth strategy, organizations need to have a right balance of Process Innovators, Incremental Innovators and Lateral Innovators. An organization looking to launch an innovative product and bring the disruption in the marketplace cannot do so with the team full of Process Innovators or Incremental Innovators.

In an organization looking to setup a team based on innovation culture, Senior Management plays the role of facilitator. The organizational structure will take the shape depending on the type of business. An established services business will look something like this:

Whereas a tech start-up will look like this: