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The New Patterns of Innovation

Posted by on in Strategy and Operations
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The search for new business ideas and new business models is hit-or-miss in most corporations, despite the extraordinary pressure on executives to grow their businesses. Management scholars have considered various reasons for this failure. One well-documented explanation: Managers who are skilled at executing clearly defined strategies are ill equipped for out-of-the-box thinking. In addition, when good ideas do emerge, they’re often doomed because the company is organized to support one way of doing business and doesn’t have the processes or metrics to support a new one. That explanation, too, is well supported. Without a doubt, if you tackle business innovation systematically—rather than hoping people will get creative during an “innovation jam” or a special offsite—you improve the odds of success (and decrease the chances you’ll be left staring at a blank sheet of paper). Traditional, tested ways of framing the search for ideas exist, of course. One is competency based: It asks, How can we build on the capabilities and assets that already make us distinctive to enter new businesses and markets? Another is customer focused: What does a close study of customers’ behavior tell us about their tacit, unmet needs? A third addresses changes in the business environment: If we follow “megatrends” or other shifts to their logical conclusion, what future business opportunities will become clear?
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Guest Monday, 23 October 2017