Failing Forward

Failing Forward

I was reading today about a number of the biggest product failures of all time (kind of a fun read actually), and one of the things that jumped out at me was the number of companies that are known for being really innovative that made the list of failures. Normally if you were to put together a list that included Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Starbucks you would be reviewing the "most innovative brands" or something similar. What does it tell you if some of the best known innovators are also on the list of the biggest innovation failures of all time? Easy... Everybody fails. It's what you do with those failures that matters. Just for fun let's highlight a few of the "big failures" to illustrate my point: (more…)...
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Breaking the Fire Fighting Cycle

Breaking the Fire Fighting Cycle

As traditional organizations look to address the new competition and rapidly increasing pace of change in today's competitive marketplace I am seeing some very interesting common struggles. Traditional markets and industries are seeing unprecedented changes to their customer's expectations, now competitors who are chipping away at their traditional profit centres, and even changes to their employee base with the emergence of the new millenial workforce and the retirement of many of their long standing organizational leaders. (more…)...
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Connecting the Value Chain

Connecting the Value Chain

Many of the recent Innovation success stories have been about the creation of new ecosystems which have created new customer value in a way that wasn't imagined previously.  The iPod and iTunes created an ecosystem of music which included the simple purchase, organization, and portable playback that previously took several steps and suppliers to achieve.  Square is doing a similar thing by connecting the wallet and payment process with the retail point-of-sale system to build an ecosystem and environment that allows both sides of the payment equation to do things more easily than they have in the past. Much has been made of the "ecosystem" as the business model of the future and a key to Innovation success, but in most of the reading I've done the piece that doesn't get connected is how exactly one should think about innovating a new ecosystem.  Certainly if several people and companies have been successful in building new ecosystems in the past we should...
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Is Your Culture Conscious?

Is Your Culture Conscious?

During this cold and flu season (and having already been stricken with the seasonal bug), something about the concept of a virus struck me as a great lesson for leadership.  (OK, maybe it's the cold medication talking, but stick with me for a minute and we might get somewhere). In the wild viruses strike fear in the heart of the public every winter as the seasonal cold and flu season picks up. Reports of viruses sourced from animals like the bird flu and swine flu increase our fear of infection.  But viral behaviour can be managed through science and every year the new flu shot concoction is made available to the public to help fend off the effects of what we think will be the seasonal strain of flu.  To develop these flu vaccinations, scientists use a biological culture called Agar to grow the virus that threatens all of humanity in a controlled environment in order to develop and test methods...
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‘Change by Design’ and ‘The Parable of the Fly Fisherman’

‘Change by Design’ and ‘The Parable of the Fly Fisherman’

Sunday night I got started reading my first book in a while (it is hard to get as much reading done when you're not riding the train for two hours a day) and it is one that I've been looking forward to - Change by Design by Tim Brown (CEO of IDEO).  I had heard great things about the book and even though I am only half way through it as I write this tonight, I can heartily recommend it to anyone who struggles with the 'old way' of creating in a corporate environment.  To my way of thinking, design thinking is simply a better term for those of us who are entrepreneurial who need to pitch a new approach to a more traditional company without scaring them off... it also reminded me of a great story that I was told a couple of weeks ago that seems to epidomize the design thinking process - a story I'm going to call 'The Parable of the Fly Fisherman'. Let's...
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