Looking at the Same Old – gives the Same Old.
You have to work on “today’s business” to bring the money in. Generally, the same activities and operations as yesterday. It can be hard to find the time to tackle serious innovation for growth, especially if the heat is on for immediate profits.
Start by creating a circuit breaker from the “same old”.
I had the benefit of listening first hand to Jack Welsh when he was working a merger with Honeywell. (it didn’t eventuate). One question was how he would do the people integration. His reply was “I turn the business on its head and spill jobs every 3-4 years to avoid the “same old” syndrome”. “We lose some productivity in the turmoil but we sure get some motivated people looking for profitable growth”. Now thats a big circuit breaker!
A circuit breaker means things have to look differently tomorrow compared to today.
- Change job roles (if you don’t someone may do to you)
- Move all the offices around simplifying some processes
- Change the entrance to the business
- Change the uniform completely
- Be as big and bold as you can afford
Then embark on using innovation for growth…
Don’t do a Kodak
Kodak failed for simple reasons.
- They didn’t want to canabalize their profitable existing film business for “digital”
- They couldn’t see the recurring revenue astray were getting from film.
- They didn’t diversify fast enough (too little, too late)
What’s interesting is the board took advice for this big step. Kodak had invested in the digital patents. They had the future in the palm of their hands. So they took lots of professional advice on how to move forward.
- Prominent photographers, both commercial and artistic gave opinions on the future of digital photography to the board.
- Digital specialists described the time delay before the digital image was of high enough resolution for a quality print.
- Overall, the conclusion from the experts was it would be a long time before there would be a future for digital photography in the professional space.
Can you see what is wrong with their picture? An educated board listening to very experienced professionals, many of whom had digital experience?
The professionals were not the “growth” customer set. The Mums and Dads were the growth set. There would be a thousand more digital photos taken of family than a professional one.
They couldn’t think of how to make recurring revenue from this new media. So they abandoned enforcing the patents. The rest is history.
The professionals were right, of course. They would continue to use film for many years past the digital introduction.
As Stuart Loxton reminds me: “technology is always “over hyped” in the short run and always underestimated in the long run.
Who is your growth customer set for tomorrow?
- Look at competitors who have grown quickly. Are they more active in a different customer set?
- Dont block out customer sets as “unprofitable” yet. (Remember Kodak)
- Stay with the process to be clear where the growth is.
- Don’t move on until this is clear.
What will you sell to this Growth set?
- Map your revenue to the “age” of your products or services. Do this in a big ticket way.
- Estimate the growth you are getting from the product age map.
- Do you have the product(s) for growth?
Innovate for Growth
- A structured journey of the problems the growth customer set is having with competitors and your products.
- Strict observance of the voice of the customer. Avoid recommended solutions, stick to the problem definitions.
- Turn the problems into solutions using our innovation process (see other blogs)
Every Client deserves Innovation
Innovation can shift the needle on growth.
There are management decisions on timing:
- Loss of profit on legacy products.
- Change management of processes.
- Marketing investment.
Doing the Impossible
On the other hand, you could achieve all this without a drop in profits in the short term!