|By Marketwired .||
|March 18, 2014 11:03 AM EDT||
NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 03/18/14 -- True innovators leverage great ideas to create both market impact and a profitable business. The right driver can speed an innovation effort through its perilous first mile, from drawing board to the first dollar of profit -- while the wrong driver can cause a wreck.
"Every company needs an organic innovation strategy to drive growth and keep up with changing markets," says Scott D. Anthony, Managing Partner of the strategy and innovation consulting firm Innosight. "But the core skills and systems employed by most business leaders are optimized around supporting today's business model -- not developing tomorrow's. A knack for experimentation and tolerance for failure are among the essential skills leaders need in innovation's first mile. And not every executive has those skills."
Anthony runs down a list of key traits in his new book, The First Mile: A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the Market (Harvard Business Review Press, May 2014).
Empathy and experience are two "must-haves" for drivers of innovation:
- Empathy for the problems, desires, and constraints of target customers: Empathy is critical to developing solutions with sufficient resonance to support a scalable business. And innovators who identify strongly with customers often find better commercial traction.
Anthony points to the example of Netflix founder Reed Hastings and his personal frustration with paying late fees for movie rentals. According to Anthony, too often corporate innovation efforts suffer from gaps in this kind of customer empathy.
- Courses and lessons from the "school of experience": Management experience should match the needs of the business. Out-of-date or irrelevant experiences are at best slightly helpful and at worst dangerously misleading. "All else being equal, seek drivers who know what they're doing," says Anthony. "One who is just learning the ropes of a market that's filled with experts can end up languishing in the first mile."
Anthony uses the example of a product-focused Fortune 100 company that wanted to launch a service business: the internal project team grew to nearly 100 people. But no team member had ever started a business, and none had relevant service industry experience. The effort "ran into wall after wall." He contrasts this with Procter & Gamble, which successfully launched multiple franchise businesses by hiring or acquiring outside expertise.
What other characteristics improve the chance of steering innovation through its first mile?
- Discovery skills help the organization address uncertainty as it tries to bring a new idea to market -- e.g., skills like questioning, experimenting, observing, and associational thinking.
- Detail orientation is critical to managing the dozens of moving pieces in every innovation experiment -- insufficient attention to detail always leads to missed opportunities.
- Comfort with micro-course corrections will steady the organization as it runs into challenges that could not have been predicted at the outset.
- Natural curiosity and an eye for the unexpected can help the organization find lessons in first-mile challenges, and potentially tear things apart and rebuild where necessary.
"Because the world is changing so fast, over-reliance on securing today's success can easily light the fuse of tomorrow's strategic failure," says Anthony. "Many of today's corporate leaders didn't grow up in this kind of environment, and they didn't develop the coping skills to handle this pace of change. But executives with right traits and skills won't get tunnel vision, and they won't get stuck. So organizations need to make sure they have the right mix of leaders -- those who can best bring innovations to market and those who grow and optimize today's business."
Where should organizations and innovators look for talented first-mile operators?
- Looking outside: According to Anthony, outside experts may be the first, best option. "Companies with a promote-from-within culture often believe that they can solve any problem. And if given enough time, they may be able to work out the intricacies of a new business model. But bringing in an outside expert who already knows the industry or model can help to minimize time spent going down blind alleys."
- Looking inside: "Finding the right talent inside an organization can be challenging," says Anthony. But if the organization is committed to using internal resources, he recommends starting the search by looking for people who had roles featuring high degrees of uncertainty -- e.g., launching a new product or entering a new geography. Organizations can also look to their own fringes, where they might find employees who are languishing because their natural inclination to work on discovery projects is being stifled in more execution-oriented role.
"Recognize too that critical first-mile skills and abilities can improve with conscious practice," says Anthony. "Companies that want to cultivate innovation talent need to build specific capabilities around learning, giving people a chance to work on a number of different projects."
To arrange a conversation with Scott D. Anthony of Innosight, and/or receive a copy of The First Mile: A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the Market, contact Katarina Wenk-Bodenmiller of Sommerfield Communications at 212-255-8386 or katarina@ sommerfield.com.
ABOUT SCOTT D. ANTHONY
Scott D. Anthony is the Managing Partner of Innosight. Based in the firm's Singapore office, he leads its expansion into the Asia-Pacific region as well as its venture capital activities (Innosight Ventures). He has worked with clients ranging from national governments to companies in industries as diverse as healthcare, telecommunications, consumer products and software. He is the author of The Little Black Book of Innovation (Harvard Business Review Press, January 2012) and The Silver Lining (Harvard Business Review Press, 2009). He is the co-author of Seeing What's Next (Harvard Business Review Press, 2004) and The Innovator's Guide to Growth (Harvard Business Review Press, 2008).
Innosight is a strategy and innovation consulting firm that helps organizations navigate disruptive change and manage strategic transformation. We work with enterprise leaders to identify new growth opportunities, accelerate innovation initiatives, and build capabilities. Innosight is based in Lexington, MA, with offices in Singapore and Lausanne, Switzerland.
Sommerfield Communications, Inc.
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNu...
Nov. 30, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 345
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Nov. 30, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 603
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Nov. 30, 2015 03:45 AM EST Reads: 434
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
Nov. 30, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 510
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Nov. 30, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 448
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving t...
Nov. 30, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 446
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...
Nov. 30, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 449
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Nov. 30, 2015 12:00 AM EST Reads: 418
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 PM EST Reads: 237
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at Logz.io, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company Logz.io. In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
Nov. 29, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 255
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Nov. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 488
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 29, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 358
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
Nov. 29, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 423
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Nov. 29, 2015 12:30 PM EST Reads: 427
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 29, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 529