Tag Archives: Innovation

Killing good ideas can harm your future (via coinnovative.com)

For anyone who has spent a lot of time sitting in dark focus group rooms during their marketing career, this is a must-see.  I first saw this on Tom Powell’s blog, http://coinnovative.com/ Very funny.


Your Next Great Innovation? Look To Your Existing Product Line First

Redesigning the Health-Care System – BusinessWeek.

Another excellent example of how great innovation doesn’t just come from “white space” exploration.  As is the case with most of Apple’s product introductions over the past decade, your next great innovation may be the result of delivering your existing products or services in a better way.

Sure, it’s cliche to discuss Apple’s incredibly successful track record of delivering existing products in creative, brilliant ways.  Regardless, this article presents analagous disconnects in the typical patient experience that present countless opportunities to dramatically improve the delivery of healthcare in the US.   Can you draw parallels to your business?  Are there “pain points” in your customers’ experiences as they interact with your products or services?  The answers to these questions do not require rocket science; rather, it may be as simple as really connecting with your customers to find out.  Ask yourself:

   1.  When was the last time you conducted research on your customer experience? 
  2. If you have conducted research, was it unbiased?  Be honest with yourself; sometimes it’s worth spending the money to get an external objective perspective on how your customers feel about your offerings.
  3.  Did you act on your research findings?  Or, did it just go in a vault, never integrated into your planning process.

Stay close to your customers.  Get to know them intimately – before your competition does.

Innovation Comes in Any Size: A Military-Tough Flash Drive

In 2006, Dr. Anthony DuBose and two partners founded TAC Health in Redwood City; they spent the next two years researching, developing, and field testing the TAC Drive. Designed to meet military standards, the rugged metal USB flash drive has survived being run over by a fire truck, frozen in dry ice, heated to 270 degrees Fahrenheit, and submerged in 100 feet of water for an hour. It even emerged unscathed from a spin in DuBose’s centrifuge.

The device, which weighs less than an ounce, is intended primarily for storing medical information, though it can hold a variety of files. It can be engraved with vital stats such as blood type and drug allergies, and it comes with a free subscription to a website at which you can create a customized medical profile to sync with the TAC. Data can be encrypted with a military-grade security algorithm and password protected. The TAC starts at $25 for 1GB of storage, plus $10 for engraving.  via inc.com  By Sarah Kessler |  Mar 1, 2010

Bionic Vision – Coming to an Eye Doctor Near You?

Innovation in vision

  via holykaw.alltop.com

 I’ve worked in the vision care industry for two of the largest players, Bausch & Lomb and Johnson & Johnson. This is an amazing concept, albeit at least more than a decade away from feasibility. Nonetheless, I suspect that the lessons learned from their work could have implications for other vision correction needs where the installation of micro-electronics could help treat eye diseases.

For example, consider glaucoma, where pressure builds up within the eye and damages the optic nerve, among other things. A miniature pump could be installed and controlled through micro-electronics (which is actually already being explored by other companies). Also, consider the back-of-the-eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy; neither has a cure and both could benefit from the delivery of targeted doses of drugs through an embedded micro-electronic device.

With so many eye diseases that lead to blindness, this type of research could yield huge benefits to the aging global population.  Posted via web from FASTInnovators

Service Innovation: A Low-Cost Eye Care Model for Beating Blindness in Emerging Markets

A novel approach by Mr. Ravilla, which is allowing him to attack needless blindness and vision impairment in India. It’s great to see an innovative approach to service delivery produce such a positive benefit to society. What’s more remarkable is that this service was delivered at a profit, realizing 39% operating earnings (EBITDA).

Posted via web from FASTInnovators

What Does the GM CEO Shake-Up Mean for the Volt?

chevy volt

From Fast Company

The latest–and perhaps most hazardous–roadblock on the Chevy Volt’s journey to a car dealership near you might just be the unexpected resignation of General Motors CEO Fritz Henderson. Henderson has only been running the bankrupt corporate giant since President Obama and his Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry ousted Rich Wagoner in March. Back then conservatives and unreconstructed free marketers howled at the White House’s intervention in corporate affairs–and no doubt Fox News will be dusting for any White House fingerprints in this latest switcheroo. But The New York Times reported that Henderson’s dismissal was a “board-led” decision. If nothing else, this expresses quite eloquently what Detroit thinks of Obama’s pick.

But more important than any one CEO is the following question: What will happen to the Chevy Volt? The star-crossed electric-powered vehicle, whose problems we’ve recently covered has the future of GM in its 440-pound battery pack; and the Obama Administration as well as the American Taxpayer–who currently owns about 60% of the company after investing $50 billion in stimulus money–have a lot riding on it. It was just a few months ago that were flying that the Volt wouldn’t be ready for its November 2011 debut. Now, besides solving the Volt’s remaining problems–any luck with getting the price below $30,000, guys?–GM has to find a new CEO. Good luck.via fastcompany.com

I think that CEO Fritz Henderson’s resignation will have no affect on the Volt’s future. The Volt was a priority before Henderson became GM’s head, and everyone left standing at GM still sees the Volt as a key to its path forward. Plus, remember that GM received bailout money, so it’s in part owned by the US taxpayers – our “green-loving” population is sure to want to see this eco-friendly option on the market.

Posted via web from FASTInnovators

Don’t Outsmart Yourself

Attached is an excellent article that gets at the essence of why some companies continuously innovate  with great success, and why others fail and go out of business.  Regarding the latter, I’ve had the enlightening experience of being hired by two companies as part of turn-around initiatives.  Both were well-known corporations with strong brand equities, yet were doomed to failure under the prior regimes.

As discussed in the article, upon arriving at these companies it was apparent that key players still believed that only they knew what was right for the company.  All this despite they’re lack of ability to “right the ship” and their obvious contributions to the companies’ demise.  In the end, I think that the following were the culprits:

1.  Keeping key management in the same position too long.  This can be a real killer, especially if the key players aren’t naturally inquisitive people willing or capable of understanding broader market trends and considering 360-degree input.  Eventually, the same strategies are deployed, unhealthy loyalties develop and the business continues to operate in the same predictable way.  The market changes, the competition changes, and consumer interests change, all while the company stays the same.

2.  Always looking internally for the right answers.  This is the essence of the attached article.  People think they’re too smart, or are too proud, to consider alternative approaches to a problem.  IBM encountered this before the Gershner turnaround as have many former market leaders.  This tends to be especially true with technology driven firms.

3.  A culture of “yes-men”.  Command and control is important for C-level team members, and strong personalities are the rule for people who rise to senior management.  However, this can become a disaster if senior managers surround themselves with people unwilling to provide a well-rounded, objective perspective about the realities facing the business.  In this scenario, objective market research is rebuked as flawed and biased, with the methodologies questioned rather than accepting an opposing perspective.

Getting the best and most complete information, then distilling a situation down to key business drivers is a hallmark of successful leaders.  Carly Fiorina focuses on this success-trait in one of my earlier posts.   Blogging Innovation: Innovation at TEDx NASA .