CNNMoney on Innovation: Too Simplistic February 27, 2009Posted by David Dirks in business strategy, Innovation: Not Just for the Big Dogz, Retailer Store Strategies.
Tags: cnnmoney, innovation, market innovation, product development, product innovation, service innovation
The headline on this CNNMoney posting dated February 26th, 2009 read, “On sale: Your brillant invention”. The gist of this article is that some businesses, particularly retailers and some manufacturers, are scrambling to find the next ‘great product’ or invention that will help them manage their way through slow retail sales and worsening economy. It suggests that businesses should be ‘mining the masses for fresh ideas’. It also suggests that you ask you customers for their ideas, which is always a good start.
But do you know what I call this? I call it ‘drive-by-innovation’ as in ‘drive-by-shooting’. While I applaud the note that businesses should be creating ways to innovate on services and products they provide their customers, it leaves the reader thinking it’s easy. It isn’t easy. And asking your customers might make sense on one level, you miss another level entirely.
I’ve been studying innovation and the Big Dogz who do it well, both large and small, for many years now. I can assure you that truly innovative businesses have something the others don’t: a deep and binding organizational comittment to innovation. From top to bottom and bottom to top, innovative companies have integrated the basis for innovation deep into the culture and roots of their organization.
To think that you can haul in some customers, get some ‘ideas’, and create something someone will want to pay for is woefully too simplistic! Yes, talking to your customers is a good place to start but only a small piece of a larger innovation pie.
The long shot here is that you’ll actually find an idea that makes sense to develop. The next long shot is figuring out how to go from idea to actual product or service. If innovation was as easy as asking your customers for ideas, everyone would do it, right? Please, my head hurts from thinking about this simplistic mindset.
Surely we encourage businesses of all sizes to innovate. A truly innovative business has the capability of generating a consistent stream of product and service innovations on a regular basis. It has the ability to bring them to market and make a profit.
Doing anything less will leave your business and your customers wondering what went wrong.