Why is your innovation program missing out the next market wave, again and again.

I’m often surprised to see leading companies with solid innovation programs, missing obvious market turnarounds. They record the same weak signals and trends that I do, they understand them as well or better than me, but they fail to properly act on them. In my experience, the key reason they fail and miss every new market wave is because they don’t adjust to the right perception distortion.

Most innovation programs work on the first order of consequences.

If you’re an insurance company and see your customers relying more and more on digital tools and social web, well, there is a point in time when you decide to get there too. And you feel that you innovate because you transfer your customer journey progressively from a physical brick and mortar, and phone operation, to a digital one. You actually don’t innovate. You’re just adjusting to what the market is progressively telling you to do. You’re not even customer-driven for what it’s worth, you’re getting on par more or less rapidly depending on your internal agility. Which very often is why you feel you innovate. Because it’s painful for your team and involves a huge cultural shift.

But the market doesn’t care.

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The Culture Framework

Culture framework

Philippe had been hinting at one of the combined tools we’d like to share: the culture and business frameworks. The culture framework that we’ve been using for years informally when helping organisations in their strategic transformations is the “other side” of the business framework Philippe has been sharing for a while now. We redesigned it recently and tested it extensively with our more recent customers to ensure that it’s practical and actionable for anyone not in the consulting business : )

You will see how it regroups and connects concepts I’ve been sharing in previous articles such as values, vision and behaviours, and key elements I’ve been hinting to when talking about complexity intelligence: purposeful drive, strategic empathy and reconfigurable mindset.

This concepts are usually fuzzy and it’s difficult to see why they would matter on any Monday morning at the office. It shouldn’t be that way.

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Our next set of tools reconnecting corporate culture framework and business model

I won’t develop fully the tools and how to use them in this article. It’s all about giving a first tour of the concepts and how simple they are.


The first illustration is how powerful CUSTOMER-driven companies (Amazon) connect their culture, leading with strategic empathy to identify emerging problems to invest in, and finally select differentiated products.

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Microsoft slow refocus

After Google this is now Microsoft that tries to wow us with their vision of the future, introducing Surface Hub 2.

Past the obvious elegance and desirability of the product we have to ask if Microsoft will manage to regain its splendor. The strategy is now more and more obvious: if Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple and first and foremost consumers companies (even some use consumers as products), will Microsoft be able to transform in an ubiquitous business platform?

To the credit of Satya NADELLA they already have started to tune down Windows as a core focus. But this is a slow refocus for now. One should ask if merging with IBM and rapidly adding payment solutions wouldn’t be the next logical step.

Or is it just about selling more Azure cloud solutions and Office 365?

[ Update ] June 4, 2018 - Just a few days after this article, Microsoft announced to have acquired GitHub for a cool $7.5 billion. The refocus might just be acccelerating...

Software ate the world, Google is eating software

In August 2011, Marc ANDRESSEN was famously forewarning us in the Wall Street Journal that software is eating the world. Since then his prediction came to full realization and whether you call it the web, digital, or data, software indeed ate the world. But yesterday, at its annual developper’s conference, Google showed us how they will be eating software:

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Corporate Incubation is Like Fruit Flies Genetics

Most industrial market have endured their own Copernican revolution lately. Whether it was because of mobile, sheer customers discontent or the future threat of artificial intelligence, is of no real importance at this point. What is clear is that the old innovation playbook involving trickling down military technology to B2B and then to B2C doesn’t’ work anymore. Facing startups with seemingly random hit-and-miss business models that nonetheless aggressively push in the market and eventually succeed, what are the options?

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Interview – A Transformation Executive Leveraging Complexity Intelligence At Atos (Part 2)

Last week, I shared the first part of Lucas den Boer’s rich interview. Here is part two where you will continue to read how he is using complexity intelligence skills such as strategic empathy, reconfigurable mindset and purposeful self-confidence to lead large scale business transformations at Atos, but also to drive social movements and not-for-profit projects.

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Interview – A Transformation Executive Leveraging Complexity Intelligence at Atos (Part 1)

For this second transformation leader interview, I met with Lucas den Boer, currently Business Transformation Executive (C-level consultant) at Atos Benelux HQ in Amstelveen just South of Amsterdam. After a short tour through their atrium cafeteria and innovation rooms where they receive their clients for demo, we sat for an hour to discuss his various experiences of large scale transformations.

Throughout the interview, what struck me from this 51 year old man, is that he can clearly express his vision, he has a balanced view on transformation, a good heart, an open mind and a sensitivity for people issues, whilst keeping a strong focus on business. This I call “complexity intelligence”. Through the different experiences he shared, I could confirm this was not all just nice talk, Lucas has a strong sense of purpose and service, especially demonstrated by his involvement in non-profit organisations and projects.

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You Can’t Just Decide To Be Customer Driven

I am very much surprised to see many analysts thinking serioulsy that Facebook facing a colossal data-gate, could turn around and suddenly become customer-driven. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Facebook will be Facebook. But to understand that you have to go past obvious solutionism (they should do this or that) and understand that any successful business was born with a powerful DNA.
And you can’t change your DNA.
Continue reading You Can’t Just Decide To Be Customer Driven