|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 Out-of-date or irrelevant experiences are at best slightly helpful and at worst dangerously misleading.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.
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and containers together help companies achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, will review the current landscape of...
Oct. 9, 2015 02:00 PM EDT
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...
Oct. 9, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 228
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, al...
Oct. 9, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 181
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Oct. 9, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 295
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome,” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Oct. 9, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 125
The IoT is upon us, but today’s databases, built on 30-year-old math, require multiple platforms to create a single solution. Data demands of the IoT require Big Data systems that can handle ingest, transactions and analytics concurrently adapting to varied situations as they occur, with speed at scale. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, chief strategy officer at Deep Information Sciences, will look differently at IoT data so enterprises can fully leverage their IoT potential. He’ll sha...
Oct. 9, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 558
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, will explore the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driv...
Oct. 9, 2015 01:45 PM EDT
There are many considerations when moving applications from on-premise to cloud. It is critical to understand the benefits and also challenges of this migration. A successful migration will result in lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet offer the same or higher level of robustness. Migration to cloud shifts computing resources from your data center, which can yield significant advantages provided that the cloud vendor an offer enterprise-grade quality for your application.
Oct. 9, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 261
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, will explore HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
Oct. 9, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 166
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
Oct. 9, 2015 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 245
There will be 20 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet soon. What if we could control these devices with our voice, mind, or gestures? What if we could teach these devices how to talk to each other? What if these devices could learn how to interact with us (and each other) to make our lives better? What if Jarvis was real? How can I gain these super powers? In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, will show you!
Oct. 9, 2015 01:15 PM EDT
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 ability. Many are unable to effectively engage and inspire, creating forward momentum in the direction of desired change. Renowned for its approach to leadership and emphasis on their people, organizations increasingly look to our military for insight into these challenges.
Oct. 9, 2015 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 135
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
Oct. 9, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 593
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the...
Oct. 9, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 785
Recently announced Azure Data Lake addresses the big data 3V challenges; volume, velocity and variety. It is one more storage feature in addition to blobs and SQL Azure database. Azure Data Lake (should have been Azure Data Ocean IMHO) is really omnipotent. Just look at the key capabilities of Azure Data Lake:
Oct. 9, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 306