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Improving Business Outcomes


Tom Peters Quote :

“Life is pretty simple : You do stuff. Most things fail. Some work. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”

For an organization to move forward and “ doing something else “ – with results that matter on an ongoing basis, there is a need to innovate. With Innovation being a risky endeavor (with the odds of success being typically less than 1 in 10 on aggressive initiatives), there is a huge incentive to be better at innovation to increase the rewards and to prudently manage risk. While there are many types and aspects to innovation, the objective here is to provide insights on what is needed for an organization to move forward respecting their risk / reward tolerance. The main options are –

1. Incremental Innovation

  • typically “ Product “ or “ Service “ centric
  • to incrementally expand appeal / increase value / grow revenue
  • to evolve with minimal risk

2. Sustainable Innovation

  • typically “ Process “ centric
  • for greater operational efficiencies
  • low risk scenario to improve business outcomes by reducing costs

3. Disruptive Innovation

  • typically about releasing a new Product / Service to increase relevance and revenue
  • supports a strategy to meaningfully expand business opportunities, enter new markets, etc.
  • need for vision, ability to produce results quickly, fail fast on projects not getting traction, etc.
  • to prudently manage risk, requires an Innovation mindset with a supportive corporate culture

Fundamentally, Innovation is a mindset. And to be good at innovation, like any other discipline or knowledge domain, it’s important for people involved in innovation to – want to understand, have a huge interest in making things better, be very curious, have the ability to learn fast, can hypothecate and test, be flexible, can grasp new concepts fairly quickly, is forward thinking, assumes nothing, is humble + other attributes conducive to being open to new ideas, a willingness to explore, having a sense of opportunity, wants to make a difference, learns a lot from mistakes, gets past failures fairly quickly, the relentless pursuit of knowledge, desire for achievement, success oriented, expectation for high rewards, and other benefits to respect the significant learning and effort associated with being accomplished.

With this foundation, for the business to move forward and for people to be good at innovation, it’s also important to recognize the 3 boxes –

  1. Identify core business competencies and determine how to leverage them with additional capabilities to increase relevance with current Customers and attract new Customers, expand revenue streams, and deliver greater value for Customers
  2. Identify new areas of opportunity (based on new market needs, availability of a compelling new solution / technology / service), and determine how to move into the new market(s)
  3. Determine what to forget – to better position the organization for success moving forward

Extending on Tom Peters insight about things being pretty simple, innovation is about improving business outcomes. Metrics that demonstrate an organization is getting better at business innovation include –

  1. Revenue – from new products / services
  2. Increase in profits
  3. Additional business opportunities
  4. Added competitive advantage
  5. Growth in market share – with established products / services
  6. Meaningful market share – with new products / services
  7. Improvement in the business model / margin
  8. High corporate valuation / stock price
  9. Better corporate strategic positioning for M&A

While recognizing Incremental and Sustainable Innovation contribute to success, it’s critically important to do Disruptive Innovation too since this has the most impact on improving business outcomes, driving change, meaningfully expanding capabilities, and enabling the organization to achieve aggressive goals.

For questions or to share insights on strategies to realize the significant benefits associated with being better at Business Innovation, you are welcome to contact CAIL at –                               800-668-5769                               905-940-9000