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.

The most common misconception about innovation

As many professionals in my field, I get this question a lot: « What is the most common misconception about innovation? » The short answer is that most of the time, innovation is discussed and operated as a single thing. It’s not. It’s a complex blend of diverse forms of « innovations » that obey different rules, different mindsets and requires different tools.

The long(er) answer is:

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Do you have an opposable strategy?

I published already a few things about the notion of opposable marketing, which to frame it simply, just asks the question: do you say something meaningful to your market?

Being cost-efficient, having good quality, paying attention to customers, etc. All that means nothing. Because no one does the opposite of that. If no one markets the facts they sell over-expensive products that are dangerous to consume because they don’t care about who buys them, why would you waste your time explaining you don’t do that?

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Meet me at the IRU World Congress 2018

I will be one of the round table speakers at the IRU Wolrd Congress in Muscat, Oman, this November.

We will discuss key shifts in world transport, mobility and logistics markets with a very exciting and comprehensive programme. I’ll be flying in and out pretty much, but in case you are there and want to meet I’ll be more than happy to find the time. : )

Interview – A Community Builder Playing the Long Game at BNP Paribas

In this fourth interview of transformation leader, I was delighted to meet Sophie Delmas, head of partnerships at l’Atelier BNP Paribas. L’Atelier is dedicated to prospective and market intelligence, working mainly as internal consultant for the bank. They sell their advice internally, and Sophie’s role is to define the needs and help promote the Atelier’s know-hows. Sophie also co-founded with Orange the “Observatoire des réseaux sociaux d’entreprises”, dedicated to sharing about Digital Transformation and Innovation between CAC 40 companies. It appeared very clearly from my exchanges with her that she strongly believed in the power of networks and collaboration.

“Why business partnership, because we are in increasingly open and porous environments and we cannot work alone, so it is key to value a whole network of internal and external connections in order to transform ideas into businesses by accompanying projects.”

Continue reading Interview – A Community Builder Playing the Long Game at BNP Paribas

Interview – A Pragmatic Pioneer with a Portfolio Approach at Thales AVS

So here is the third interview in the Transformation Leaders series. After a digital intrapreneur at AIRBUS and a business transformation executive at ATOS, I have interviewed François Fournier, Digital Business Leader at Thales.

François is an avid learner who wanted to become an aircraft pilot. As he couldn’t, he found his way closest possible to the cockpit via engineering studies specializing in avionics and developed his career in SEXTANT Avionique and then THALES AVS. 

“I love to learn and when I think I’ve sufficiently explored a subject either there is a new opportunity or I go look for new opportunity and in a large corporation it is easy to find.”

For François, transformation, is of course about digital but more about being in-transformation, it is about growth (business and people) and it is about innovation as a culture, about learning and sharing knowledge. What struck me during our discussions was: his clear vision of what transformation is, how it is helping his organisation become more intelligent and his portfolio approach to innovation.

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My Innovation Radar 2018 – Part 3, Chic and Mortar Retail

We have all witnessed how digital has transformed the retail market all across the planet. At first e-commerce, then Amazon and Alibaba platforms, then even more new entrants, more recently everyone is trying to jump in social media such as Instagram (courting young trendy « influencers »), etc. The consensus was that eventually this was not about being a prominent online force anymore nor about offering a fantastic offline experience, but both. The 2017 mantra was O2O or Online to Offline and pretty much everyone agreed to the vital necessity of being able to smoothly drive customers back and forth from an ‘O’ to another. This was all fine and (maybe unexpectedly) I agreed 100% with this trend. But to be self-critical with the idea, what started to surface is that we have maybe missed something far more subtle and game-changing. I call it Chic and Mortar Retail.

Continue reading My Innovation Radar 2018 – Part 3, Chic and Mortar Retail

Innovation is like Oxycontin

Lee VINSEL is an associate professor at Virgina Tech. He gently explains that innovation is like oxycontin in the academic field. And that when he’s pitching innovation to university administrators he does what consultants do when they try to part a customer from its money:

Terrifying them is even more important, though. When I am pitching administrators, I show them threatening charts of how fast cell phones diffused around the planet, which really has nothing to do with anything, and LOADS of curves representing exponential change — like Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World, schwing! — and then I start throwing in phrases like “digital transformation” and “the permanent disruption of college education,” (…)

His view on innovation programs and five-steps methodologies are quite articulate too:

you can pay Stanford $15,000 for a four-day Design Thinking bootcamp. Design Thinkers have never demonstrated persuasively that their quasi-mystical process leads to any especially significant outcomes, and many professional designers will tell you privately that they believe Design Thinking is a scam verging on fraud. After your Stanford bootcamp, you will leave the Bay Area half-a-new-car poorer, but — quite sadly, tragically even — you will still be you.

You know what? You should probably just read his full article here. And his other article on the design thinking fad is also not to be missed.

He’s also tweeting at @sts_news maybe you should also follow him. I know I am.

He’s my new hero.

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.

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

The design thinking craze

Natasha JEN formulates a very calm and articulate deconstruction of the designthinking craze.

Just like open innovation, lean methodologies, effectuation, or intrapreneurship… design thinking is a methodology that is better at selling the idea that there is a one-size-fits-all solution to every corporate strategic hurdles, than actually delivering anything real.
Continue reading The design thinking craze