Of N-Curves And S-Curves

Most innovators are equipped with hammers and tend to see all new markets as nails. Except they don’t have hammers, they have S-Curve models…

S-Curves are one of the most common oversimplifications of how new businesses appear and grow. You might not know the name coined by Everett Rogers in 1962 or that it refers to sigmoid functions, but you do know how it goes.

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When Star Wars will be shot on iPhone

Most of companies just trudge in the future of their market very passively. With a poor strategic grasp on technology they usually wake up when their customers have no reason to speak to them anymore. They all know it. So why is it still so difficult to wake them up? Why?

As much as we are lead to believe, innovation is rarely straightforward and understandable. We think we get it from a TED talk or a trendy book, but it’s essentially the same as learning paragliding through YouTube. No one serious would recommend that. When I need people to understand innovation there are tricks and shortcuts. I use them to try to spark a ‘A-HA’ moment —a symptom that you can shift away from your usual canned understanding of the matter to something entirely different. One such shortcut is asking « When will the next Star Wars be shot on iPhone? »

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How to deal with startup fever in your company, part 1

Most corporations that have missed the so-called digital revolution, try to medicate with startups. In many cases this is both silly and dangerous. Let’s try to be smarter about this widespread startup fever…

While the first wave of the digital revolution is now well over, most corporations are victims of some level of rude awakening. Surprisingly enough for me, the sovereign cure for their lack of strategic vision has been isolated: startups. As it seems, six-month-old post-internet companies without cash-flow are deemed better than multi-billion global businesses are figuring out the market. Even if you might be very lucid about this foolishness, some of your executive committee is already victim of such startup fever. Let me offer one of the many ways to deal with that issue. And then maybe, you’ll find realreasons to work with startups.

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Building corporate incubation with Monty Hall

Running a corporate incubation program is not like operation a product pipeline. It’s an uncertain, probabilistic endeavor. Can you wrap your mind around it or do would just prefer to go through the motions blindly?

A few days ago, I was discussing how wrapping your head around the Monty Hall problem could help you better understand the importance of failure in innovation. If you take it a step further today, we could argue that most corporate incubation programs should be build around this probabilistic calculation.

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Dealing with failure in innovation and the Monty Hall problem

Failure when you innovate is totally acceptable. At least in books and on the internet. In real life, within your business this is a widely different story. Risk is only acceptable when you end up successful… Very successful. This usually demonstrates how poorly we manage risk…

Innovation literature is flooded with various arguments on why and how you should take risk as a company. As someone who’s depending on the success of the companies I work with (sometimes I even presume much more than their own management), I can’t avoid being one of these risk evangelist. The problem essentially is always the same. Risk is waved on principles as a good thing supported by plethoras of well-thinking weak sauce arguments. Inevitably, all these arguments are swiftly shelved when real work needs to be done.

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Can iPhones have a soul?

I’ve had a long-lasting reflection on luxury and technology. This very slippery subject is somehow fascinating because we instinctively understand why an Android tablet is anything but luxury; it’s not so easy to pin point why Apple couldn’t get there.

There is no denying that the younger the demographic is, the newest the technology should be. And whatever your age, when you love technology there is no way to escape the endorphin rush coming from unpacking a new gadget. And that’s fine. But getting older we progressively shift our values away from short-term.

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The role of power laws to build the future of innovation

We don’t see the future, but we seek patterns. When patterns don’t appear naturally, we invent them so that reality could fit our narrative about innovation.

Such narrative will work for a few years; even decades sometimes. But it doesn’t change the underlying complexity of the market. The narrative is not wrong per se, it’s a useful bias to explain a chaotic reality. These last decades, the most well-known narratives about innovation were based on the speed at which technology was changing the market. Interestingly enough, connecting technology and market change is also a narrative.

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My innovation radar for 2017

This is a quick take at describing what’s on my innovation radar for 2017.

As someone with the finger on the pulse of many technology fields in many markets, I tend to have a lateral view on trendy topics. I’m also a contrarian, so take that into account. But if I’d have to share what I have on my innovation radar for 2017, this would be something like that:  Continue reading “My innovation radar for 2017”