Make Your Own Products Obsolete – Before Someone Else Does

The fear of ‘cannibalisation’ has prevented many a promising idea. And yet it seems clear that if you do not cannibalise your own product line with better, cheaper, faster, more effective or more appealing products then your competitors surely will. American radio manufacturers dominated the radio market in the early 1950s. They knew about transistor technology but did not develop it as... Read More--


Every Problem is an Opportunity for Innovation

Sometimes you can snatch an innovation victory from a problem or a potential business defeat. Japan Railways East is one of the world’s largest rail carriers. During the 1980s they constructed a new high-speed railway line running north of Tokyo. This involved drilling a long tunnel under a huge mountain, Mount Tanigawa. Once the tunnel was constructed the company encountered problems with water... Read More--


Try Perpetual Beta for Continuous Innovation

Whatever your product or service think of it as a piece of software. Now put it into a state of perpetual beta.   This is a term used by software developers meaning that the product is never fully finished. Although it is released, the software remains in a permanent state of advanced development and customer testing. A key part of its development is iterative improvement based on user feedback.... Read More--


What can the Edinburgh Fringe teach us about Entrepreneurship?

Have you been to the Edinburgh Fringe?  It is a remarkable experience.  The Fringe is the world’s largest annual Arts Festival.  There are some 3000 different shows featuring comedy, theatre, music, dance, magic and improv.  There is no selection committee (in their terms it is unjuried).  Any type of performer with any type of act can participate.  This means that it has become an experimental... Read More--


Should you base your Innovations on your Competencies or your Customers’ Needs?

Should you base your new product or service development on your technical expertise, the things that you are good at, or on the needs of your customer, even if those needs are in areas where you have little or no strength? How should you go about new product development? Where is the place to invest your precious and limited resources? Ideally you should build new products or services that play to... Read More--


Expand your business by looking for a distant relation

Most businesses look for new opportunities in obvious places, adjacent to their current position. They typically ask two questions: 1. What new markets can we sell our existing products or services into? 2. What new products or services can we sell to our existing customers? These are perfectly valid questions. You should ask them and you explore the possibilities that the answers bring. But don’t... Read More--


Overcoming a Blame Culture

A culture in which people are blamed for their failures and mistakes is highly damaging for innovation and for learning. If staff are worried that the finger will be pointed at them for trying things that don’t work then they will not try them. And if people are scared of recriminations they will not own up to errors and mistakes which means that an opportunity for improvement and learning is missed. This... Read More--


Break the Rules in your Business

Many of the rules that apply in businesses were set years ago and have endured by force of habit. A good example is the QWERTY keyboard, which is in use on all desktop computers. The original QWERTY layout of keys on the typewriter keyboard was designed in the 1870s to slow down the speed of typing because fast operators were causing typewriter keys to jam together. By putting the most commonly used... Read More--


The Innovation Gender Gap

A report by the Kaufmann Foundation found that only 3% of technology start-ups are led by women. There are many theories for this remarkable gender discrepancy. Girls are less likely than boys to study science, technology and computing. Only about 18% of patents are filed in women’s names. It is more difficult for women to get start up funding. But a bigger factor seems to be that men are more likely... Read More--


An Innovative Example of Mobile Gamification

How can you use mobile apps and gamification to engage users and even get them to buy your products? Here is a great example from Guatemala. Meat Pack is a shoe shop which has created a highly innovative mobile marketing campaign called Hijack. It targets competitors stores. Hijack uses location sensing and gamification to target customers visiting other shops and it gives them a clever countdown... Read More--