Innovate, burn the box – don’t save yourself into a death spiral. Process lock in kills innovation. Firms need both: process and innovation to thrive.
I met Adam Hartung on Saturday to discuss his book Create Marketplace Disruption. He is impressive. Clearly passionate about creative disruption that drives real business growth – even in this recession. Through game changing concepts that defy process / financial leaders, companies that balance innovation and process can achieve significant cash flow.
He sites examples such as Sony. For years Sony was a leader developing electronics – the Walkman and the Tritron TV Tube to name two. During this time, the culture at Sony was to innovate. And then a change at the top and the focus became reducing “risk” and increasing profits. A process for product innovation to reduce “waste” and execute more successful products and increase profitability. The result – “Lock In” – the company was paralyzed and stopped innovating. When you explore – you make products or services that aren’t perfect – but you should learn what was good and what you need to change to reach your goal – a product the customer is willing to purchase. Sony might have had great process (best of breed process) … such a great process that they couldn’t innovate, they stopped doing what made them market leaders. Instead of seeing improvements in cash flow because of the process – they actually saw a decline.
Adam provides numerous examples of how the “defend and extend” approach hurts profitability. Companies in this box will most likely be passed by competitors who are “attacking and exploring” opportunities. These idea generators are trying new approaches – realizing that in today’s world, it doesn’t take much to try something new – to learn from it and take those insights and continue to generate new products. And by increasing product development, they increase cash flow and profitability.
Read more on Adam’s Blog.
I strongly recommend contacting Adam and reading his book for a reminder on the importance of innovation and not getting stuck in the “process / dashboard” drain. When you transform and consistently seek opportunities – your company could be the leader when the economy heats back up. Companies in fear – will be at risk from firms focused on creative disruption.