There is this on-going fallacy about innovation. Innovation should be about being smart and and being fast. Or at least, smarter and faster than competitors. Seeing the next big thing, catching the next wave, seizing the white space, finding the blue ocean… These narratives are all about a promised Eden, hidden from the masses of companies that are not smart enough to read the market or the technology.
If we unpack this mindset, we get the following familiar reasoning:
- There will be an optimal way to go ahead and outcompete everyone else;
- We are then at point A in time and need to go to B (the future optimum);
- Investment is needed and we’ll have ROI when at B;
- Going from A to B shall then be as fast as possible;
- Knowing where B is, requires intuition if we’re looking into it too early;
- If we are too late (others are already getting to B) we’ll need to spend more money and, as followers, get less ROI.
- We obviously need to be smart to be just in time to run for B.
- Rinse and repeat.
This has been taught in every innovation class of every business school, university and tech entrepreneurship class since 1962, when Everett ROGERS modelled his diffusion of innovation theory.
Let me make the case that it’s actually a terrible (terrible) reasoning. Continue reading “Innovation is not about being smart and fast”
The stone age did not end because the world ran out of stones, and the oil age will not end because we run out of oil. It ended because bronze tools became cheaper.
The origin of that quote attributed to Ahmed Zaki Yamani who was the Minister of Oil for Saudi Arabia in the 70s, is actually difficult to trace back (and the analogy can be critiqued in many ways). But in any case, as experts of any given industry this brings us back to what we love to forget:
We’re not going out of business, because what we are experts in is getting out of fashion by itself (or as a resource, is depleted). We get out of business because “better” comes in. Innovation answers to this simple formula: Customers x Time
So pause a minute and ask yourself:
What are your stone? What are the bronze tools coming in? And what can you do about it if your salary depends on cutting more stones?
Apple is in a dangerous place this year. You might think that it’s because China doesn’t buy as much iPhones as in the previous years, or because their Mac Pro is still not updated, or whatever other reason… But no, the real reason as that Apple has been a success in the market for far too long. Continue reading “Is Privacy the new iPhone?”
Since 2007, we’ve designed and delivered many corporate trainings for execs and management teams on innovation, strategy, culture change, etc. They were rarely stand-alone programs, but were always designed to support a consulting mission we had with a company. Following that, their goal has always been to allow the teams involved to appropriate our tools and mindset, and get autonomous cross-divisions, to follow up on the outputs of our mission.
This was business as usual. But a few years ago, things changed.
Continue reading “Our New #1Day Corporate Trainings for Execs”
Eugene WEI has been writing on tech since 2001. I’m not going to sell you his CV that goes from Facebook to Hulu and Flipboard. Let it just be said that he knows what he’s talking about. And his latest article he’s writing on Status as a Service and this is one of the most remarkable reading I had on the digital social media and consumerism.
He starts of by dissecting how traditional network effects are twisted in social networks through three axis (social capital, entertainment and utility):
There are several different paths to success for social networks, but those which compete on the social capital axis are often more mysterious than pure utilities. Competition on raw utility tends to be Darwinian, ruthless, and highly legible. This is the world, for example, of communication services like messaging and video conferencing. Investing in this space also tends to be a bit more straightforward: how useful is your app or service, can you get distribution, etc. (…) The creation of a successful status game is so mysterious that it often smacks of alchemy. For that reason, entrepreneurs who succeed in this space are thought of us a sort of shaman, perhaps because most investors are middle-aged white men who are already so high status they haven’t the first idea why people would seek virtual status (more on that later).
Continue reading “How to Feed Digital Monkeys (a discusssion on Status as a Service)”
Am I the only one that wonder why we still ask rock-star CEOs what was their recipe for success? I understand the father figure thing. But the 2019 market, its digital environment and socio-economics have nothing much to do with what they had to face in 2004. What can a Mark Zuckerberg or a Jeff Bezos tell us about launching a startup in 2019? At what point do we file their inspirational quotes with the ones of Tesla, Bell or Ford?
But even so, in these ‘inspiring’ talks we never take into account the survivor bias: the CEOs we look up to are the ones that survived. Were they extremely shrewd and visionary or just plain lucky? Or more exactly, what was the proportion of shrewdness vs. luck? And what is really transferable to you and your project? Shall we also work on the cultural bias? What white american males have to share with woman in China or India? (Even when taking into account that many of these US guys were immigrants.)
I’m just saying… Finding inspiring people is probably a game you want to play looking forward, not in the rear view mirror.
I already made a case in 2016 for letting go of the now generic business model canvas. Story short: it’s a fantastic training tool. As such, it’s very open and can be used by a lot of trainers, consulting enthusiasts, or business schools. The price to pay is that it’s a blunt tool with no credo, no vision, and worse: no teeth!
Innovation is a contact game that is played at high velocity. We require sharper tools.
Let’s see how it works shall we? Continue reading “Business Model Canvas for Innovators”
Some of our customers are already using this retainer-on-demand consulting format but most companies still contact us too early or too late to work on innovation projects.
Too late, when they have thought through many points already and have engaged resources, they contact us to legitimize their approach or they hire us on a too narrow scope.
Too early, when the initiator doesn’t have the power to put into action, doesn’t have the resources or the back up. So it becomes a very short mission/discussion to help the client have the next steps clear to sell internally.
All in all if we decided to share about our on-demand format of consulting, is to ensure our clients (and potential ones) can use us to the best of our potential of value creation. Innovation is motion, so as co-pilots it is key that we are present at the right time to support and more often the case trigger the shift.
Continue reading “Pick our brains as a Service”
Since 2016 (a bit more actually), I’ve been pushing this simple concept: Digital is over! Being back in Shanghai right now, is among many things a perfect opportunity to check how far digital has been integrated in the every day life of this massive consumer market.
Remember, last year when I was especially impressed by how Alibaba and Starbucks did partner up to build flagships vision of the future of retail? By now this snapshot has consolidated into a full-fledged retail operating system (IT, big data platform, social web marketing, and supply chain all rolled into one “as a Service” retail mainframe) for every corner shop in China.
That’s the reason why, this year I was really excited to understand on site what Alibaba was now doing with Hema Market.
Continue reading “Hema Market, the Full ‘Digital is Over’ Experience”
1. Do not write for an audience
I know this goes against all good marketing advice, which say “you should know your audience”, “you should speak their language”, etc. Etc. You know that already.
But somehow too much empathy leads to self-censorship. And writing is about self-expression, so you see the problem here. If you overthink about who is going to read you, then you might be tempted to be less authentic in favour of adapting to your imagined audience (that’s for all the people pleasers) or you might over judge what you write (that’s for the less confident ones) or you might even freeze for fear of judgement, or consequence on your social image (that might be for the overly self-conscious).
Continue reading “3 Tips for Business Blog Writing”
I was discussing a few weeks ago how Alibaba is swiftly becoming the default operating system of retail stores in China. Reframing your perception from what was an e-commerce platform 10 years ago, to something with much deeper and global strategic intent is challenging. It is very interesting to see that Microsoft (as a traditional PC operating system and cloud platform) is moving in the same direction in the US.
Continue reading “Microsoft understands what being an OS in 2020 means (maybe)”
It is now obvious (in hindsight’s what’s not?) that the iPhone both reached a plateau in term of units penetration, but also price point. Don’t expect to see in 2019 +30% growth in iPhone penetration in US or EU compounded by unit’s price reaching 2,000 USD / EUR.
Continue reading “Apple is Doomed (Again!)”