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Innovation and Jobs-to-be-Done discussed in my latest newsletter

My latest newsletter offers observations and ideas that were discussed at two CEO Summits sponsored by Innosight and featuring keynotes by Clayton Christensen and myself.   We discussed Clay’s terrific new book, Competing Against Luck, some of my ideas regarding the management of portfolios of innovation and how to tackle innovation challenges generally. Have a look if you are interested – and I welcome comments and feedback! read more »

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Implications of the Unicorn Economy

In my most recent newsletter, I suggested that businesses would do well to anticipate the consequences of a valuation bubble bursting in Silicon Valley with so many private companies valued at more than a billion dollars, with few signs that the investor spigot is going to turn off anytime soon.  I ran across this great article by Mark Littlewood of Business of Software conference fame that adds additional support to... read more »

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Ideas for a new business model for F. A. O. Schwarz

Well, no sooner had the digital ink dried on my piece about F. A. O. Schwarz closing their famous Fifth Avenue shop, when I received a communication from the company saying that I had it all wrong.  They said “The company is completely committed to building on the legacy of the FAO Schwarz brand through a flagship location in midtown Manhattan and unique merchandising offerings.”  Which sounds wonderful, and will... read more »

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Why the failure of Google Glass Might be a Boon to Google

It’s official. The nerdy glasses with augmented reality and all kinds of image capturing technologies have been pulled from the market. Already, the pundits are dissecting what went wrong. It is indeed a juicy story, with hints of mad scientists hard at work in a secret building that most Googlers didn’t even know about, an affair between one of the staff on the project and Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, and... read more »

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What trends fuel the disruption list for 2014?

It was really fun to be part of CNBC’s advisory panel to choose the most disruptive 50 companies of the year.  The full list for 2014 can be found at this link. Some of the companies reflect trends that I think will be fundamentally reshaping the way business is done in the coming years, some of which I featured in The End of Competitive Advantage. Access to Assets, not ownership... read more »

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Ron Adner’s response to my “Better Place” question

As promised, I asked Ron what he thought about A Better Place, a company that I'm very struck with that has the potential to transform our relationship with energy.  Turns out he'd given them a lot of thought already – here's what he said:   To date, the electric car has been a poster child for ecosystem mismanagement.  We’ve seen a lot of great innovation in the individual pieces: improved... read more »

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Square Enix and Business Model Disruption - Event tonight at Columbia!

This evening, I will be a discussant at an event sponsored by the Columbia Center on Japanese Economy and Business.  Entitled Video Games and the Shaping of Industrial Transformation, the event will feature a keynote speech by Yoichi Wada, the CEO of Square Enix, a global videogaming company with titles such as "Final Fantasy" to its credit.  In his talk, Mr. Wada will trace the evolution of the game business... read more »

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Interesting application of options idea to “Green” Energy programs

A colleague of mine drew to my attention an NPR story about the Federal government's plans to develop green technologies.  In many ways, the approach echoes options reasoning:   Many small bets Substantial upside if the opportunity is successful Less concern about the rate of failure than the cost of failure Genuine uncertainty   A pretty interesting approach.  read more »

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Prioritization - never an easy thing

Scott Anthony of Innosight wrote a great blog post:  3 ways to prioritize a long list of ideas which provides some good insight into how to start.   I'll add to that::  I also try to think of contrasts.  Good projects (and what made them good) vs. not so good (and what made them that way).  Good customers vs. not so.  Great opportunities vs. things you wish you hadn't done…and eventually... read more »

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Uncertainty and risk in discovery driven planning

I was recently fortunate enough to be teaching in a very interesting program for strategy consultants at IBM.  One of their senior leaders, an ex-BCG guy, pointed out to me that I really could use a picture to communicate the value of Discovery Driven Growth.  Here, therefore is his suggestion!  What it basically shows you is how uncertainty is brought down simultaneously with investment increasing so that you tie the... read more »

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Idea generation is seldom the problem

So, you've decided that its time to get out from under that black cloud your business has been in for the last  two years and start thinking about growth again.  If you're a senior leader or CEO, what do you do next?  If you're like many, you'll gather together a group of important people in your organization and start brainstorming about new growth opportunities for your company, hoping that the... read more »

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Paying attention to unconventional “links” in a customers’ consumption chain

I've often encouraged executives to pay attention to the customers' complete consumption chain rather than focusing just on what they do, sell or make.  One of my colleagues forwarded me a fascinating article from the New York Times describing how retailers are doing this by helping customers get loans, provide financing or otherwise solve the problem that many of their customers just don't have the money to do business.  Good food... read more »

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Six Sigma is Deadly for Innovation - But then I’ve said that before!

Every so often, doubtless in a doomed bid to make the whole process of growth and innovation more predictable, some bright spark comes up with the idea of trying to apply six-sigma quality controls to the innovation process. They seem to think that if only innovation could be made more orderly, a more predictable result would ensue. I've said it before, and will say again, six sigma is not the... read more »

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Jigsaw - creating a market for contact information

Anne Ferguson, my assistant, drew this one to my attention.  The company in question, Jigsaw, is trying to create a market for contact information, using a variant of the ‘free labor’ theme I’ve written about before.  Here’s the idea:  Each member adds contact information (the more detailed, the better) into the Jigsaw database.  For doing this, members get points added to their accounts.  Members can then search for all the... read more »

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Enraged customers will create opportunities in the wireless space

Business Week recently described the sad state of the art of wireless phone services in the United States.  Wireless companies, it seems, generate more customer complaints than any other industry.  Even more than airlines.  Wireless companies, in fact, according to the Better Business Bureau, generate the most complaints out of all 3,900 industries it tracks!  Customers are so enraged at some wireless companies’ practices—signing them up for two year contracts... read more »

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