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Innovation Mindset Innovation Strategy

You’re not competing on products

A powerful statement from Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie FILS-AIME about what business they are in, and who they are competing against:

He counted the exact number of minutes per day and said that outside of the time a consumer spends eating, sleeping, working, and going to school, “all of the rest of that time is entertainment time. That’s what I compete for, minute by minute. That time you spend surfing the Web, watching a movie, watching a telecast of a conference: that’s all entertainment time we’re competing for. My competitive set is much bigger than my direct competitors in Sony and Microsoft. I compete for time. When I do that, I have to be creative and innovative in order to win that battle.”

Ars Technica interview, Oct. 3, 2018

Granted this is not just PR material, it’s a very educated positioning and explanation on the fact they don’t sell products, games or electronics. The end value of Nintendo is entertainment. Which means they compete as directly with Netflix, as they do with Microsoft or Sony. And as such matching feature for feature with other gaming consoles is not the end game, but rather a short-sighted trap.

Ask yourself: in what business are you in? How can you bring added value? And only then consider what product you would need to achieve your goal.

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Innovation Strategy

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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Innovation Strategy

The 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.

The culture framework we want to share is not about metaphysics and big ideas that no one will ever have to challenge. It is a strategic view of culture:

culture framework header - innovation copilots

We made sure it wasn’t overly descriptive as culture can be complex to look at. Indeed, we’ve experienced that even though leaders find working on culture very interesting, they get easily overwhelmed by the scope and lose interest once it becomes disconnected from strategy.

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Innovation Strategy

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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Innovation Strategy

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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Innovation Strategy

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.

Categories
Innovation Strategy

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.

In his 20’s, Lucas den Boer worked at KLM, Royal Dutch Airlines. He was a keen learner and wanted to know as much as possible about the organisation, technology, the aviation business, processes, also the people’s behaviours. As he puts it: “…it was mainly learning, learning, learning.” It is then in his 30’s when he worked at Cap Gemini and Transavia that he decided that he wanted to have more influence and solve bigger, more complex problems so he started to lead transformations such as the rebranding of Transavia following a merger.

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Corporate Culture Innovation Strategy

You Can’t Just Decide To Be Customer Driven

I am very much surprised to see many analysts thinking seriously 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.

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Innovation Strategy

Digital Is Over Keynote

Tomorrow I’ll be giving a keynote on why digital is “over” and what does it mean both for incumbents and the next wave of businesses in Europe. It will be in Toulouse and in French. I’m still fluent for now, so that should be ok ; )

You can already find the slides here:

But most importantly, this is about the launch of the new identity of the regional incubator. It’s one of the best in France. They don’t brag about it because they’re way too modest and because they’re a public service without espresso bar or fancy offices. But their business model is also changing and… well, if that’s interesting to you, you should probably be there anyway.

I’ll try to break down the key messages of this keynote in an article a few days for now.

Categories
Innovation Strategy

The Mean Startup, How GE Failed at Doing Innovation By The Book

General Electric (GE) was founded right after the American civil war at the early stage of the industrial revolution. Today, with around 300,000 employees working worldwide in a dozen of markets from home appliances, to energy and aircraft engines, GE is still a force to be reckoned with. Think of it as a Google that would have emerged from the birth of electricity, not the internet. But since 2008, GE market leadership steadily declined, making it the worst stock on the Dow Jones index on a constant basis. This decline devolved abruptly in 2016 with the retirement of its CEO Jeffrey IMMELT, a market cap divided by two while the stock market was up 41%, and a cascade of divestments (some of them to the Chinese HAIER — sign of times). Since then, while GE jet engines, medical scanners or power plants are still state of the art, the company went in a spiraling free fall.

Categories
Innovation Strategy Shifting Mindsets

Fixing your innovation pipeline with a reverse pipeline

Last year, I briefly teased one of the most strategic tools we’ve been using for years rebuilding innovation capabilities with industries. The innovation reverse pipeline. This way of working solves the usual conundrum of a typical innovation pipeline where you start with a hundred smart ideas, select the best ones, refine a few, invest in one or two, bake for a two to three years, launch… and fail.

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Innovation Strategy

Of N-Curves And S-Curves

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.