The Little Innovation which Powered E-Commerce

It is clear that the internet has transformed how we shop.  More people are buying more products and services on-line than ever before.  High-street retailers and big brands are suffering at the hands of on-line merchants large and small.  There is one often overlooked innovation which has enabled this trend.  It is buyer/seller feedback. A key component of any business transaction is trust. ... Read More--

Innovators in FMCG love Direct to Consumer

In 2010 the Gillette brand which is owned by Procter and Gamble held 70% of the US market for razors.  It boasted continuous innovation in product design and enjoyed a gross margin of around 60%.  Its market share has now slid to around 50%.  It has suffered at the hands of two aggressive start-up companies which went direct to consumer (DTC). They are Harry’s and Dollar Shave Club. Established... Read More--

Two Contrarian Thinkers who went Unheeded

Lord Lansdowne Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice (1845 – 1927), the 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, was a distinguished British statesman who held senior positions in both Liberal Party and Conservative Party governments. He had served as the fifth Governor General of Canada, Viceroy of India, Secretary of State for War, and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. He was a pillar of the British aristocracy,... Read More--

Why did No-one Think of This Before?

Let’s look at three recent innovations which might surprise you. Washing machines can be very heavy. This is because they contain concrete blocks weighing about 25 kgs which are needed as counterweights to keep the machines stable during spin cycles.  Researchers at Nottingham Trent University have developed a plastic container to replace the concrete blocks.  It is empty and light until delivery... Read More--

Innovate like a Software Start-up

Large organisations tend to treat major new product developments as serious projects which require serious resources.  They use project planning tools and stage gate processes.  However, despite all of the management science the large majority of new products fail – certainly in the fast moving consumer goods sector.  So maybe corporations should copy some of the ideas and methods used by tiny... Read More--

What can we do with Packaging? Why not eat it?

With all the concern about plastics polluting our oceans it is time to think seriously about innovating with packaging.  How can we make our packaging environmentally friendly, disposable and fit for the packaging purpose?  Let’s consider some solutions from the food industry and one creative idea in particular – edible packaging. Nature gives us some fine examples.  Coconuts and bananas... Read More--

Innovate and Persuade with a Well-Judged Nudge

Behavioural nudges are clever policy tweaks often used by governments to influence the choices that people make.  They are often found to be more effective and less costly than direct actions such as quotas, taxes or subsidies.  Here are some simple examples: Putting calorie counts on menus encourages people to make healthier choices – salads instead of french fries. Changing the default... Read More--

Nine Short Innovation Lessons from Lego

  Lego is now revered as one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world.  But in 2003 the company was $800m in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy.  The turn around in its fortunes has been spectacular.  It is currently rated the number one toy company in the world and the world’s most powerful brand.  There are many books and studies describing the company’s... Read More--

How will we Solve Problems like Global Warming?

The great advances mankind has enjoyed in health, prosperity, food production and longevity are largely taken for granted.  Around one billion people have been taken out of extreme poverty in the last 20 years.  The march of progress in technology is remarkable – the computing power in your mobile phone is many times that which first put men on the moon. Science, innovation, entrepreneurship... Read More--

Create your own Corporate Miracle Garden

          I recently visited Dubai to give a class on Innovation. I asked the hotel concierge for a recommendation of where to visit on a free morning. He listed all the main sights but I had already seen them. He then suggested something new, the Miracle Garden. It is a remarkable place in the Western outskirts of the city. Dubai is well known for its bold skyscrapers, ostentatious... Read More--