When you are on stage, you’re mind is working at light speed, as you synthesize your knowledge to the trends impacting the crowd. You often don’t get to reconcile a lot of it till later. I’ve had two weeks in the home office and have been working on my book, and preparing for a raft of upcoming presentations.
When you get breathing room, you can gain some insight from what you’ve been doing: : when it comes to innovation, I’ve been dealing with a lot of organizations who have had some very interesting, innovative approaches to business strategy. Here’s a short list to think about as to how you stir up some innovation by messing with your business strategy:
- look out: don’t ask what you can do to run your business better — ask what you can due to run your customer, supplier or partner’s business better!
- move beyond: most projects start out with one strategic goal in mind. Succesful innovators realize part way into the project that myriad other new, unknown, and very cool opportunities are opening up — that they hadn’t even thought of before. Keep your eyes open!
- turn the tables: a lot of companies are being WalMartized and HomeDepotized, and have to meet certain operational expectations. Innovators go beyond this, and do cool things that let them regain more control over the relationship — usually with projects that give them more info on what’s happening on the shelf than the “big guys” have!
- clarify fuzziness. In the last few years, companies have found that the reliability of information around chargebacks, end-cap fee management, promo display management and all the other esoteric stuff, has become extremely fuzzy, because they’ve lost control of the information. They’ve beat this back by making financial / accounting reconciliation important once again. It flows right to the bottom line …. and can be an easy win.
- be cool: smart people don’t want to work for companies that have no innovation-oxygen. They’re looking for companies that are busting their markets, ramping up growth, and who are willing to take a risk. Your brand isn’t just your product — it’s your attractability-index! And here’s an even better secret: even existing staff want you to be cool. They’re seeing innovation, and they want you doing it too, even if they grumble and groan about it.
- build your street-cred: your customers, suppliers and partners live in a world in which everyone has instant insight, operational excellence, and staff who know what is going on. If you don’t, you lose your credibility, and you lose more that that. You’ve got to continue to invest to keep up with the ever increasing minimum-bar-of-expectations that’s out there.
- slice and dice: your a loser if you play in a commodity economy. Build the intelligence that lets you know where you can win by being premium, and toss the rest of your customers overboard.
- routinely innovate: lots of companies continue to struggle with SOX and Rule 404. Few approached it as an innovation opportunity; but those who did won big, as they got away from spreadsheet based compliance, and realized real business process transformation. View any emerging regulatory requirement as an innovation opportunity, and you’re golden!
- extend and embrace: make your insight your partners insight, and let your transcations be there transactions! While “portals” sounds so-90’s, it’s still one of the leading edge innovation strategies out there, and it has a big impact.