Innovate to Get Ahead of the Competition: The Sputnik Moment

What products and services will I need to develop and offer to stay ahead of my competition in the next five years?

On October 4, 1957, Russia launched a beach-ball-sized satellite named Sputnik, which orbited the Earth in just over ninety-six minutes. The previous frontrunner in the space race, the United States, was now the runner up. Our only competitor had trounced us, seemingly out of nowhere. A month later the Russians sent up Laika, a small […]

Sputnik

Innovate and Adapt to The Changing Customer Base

What sales approaches need to be developed to reach new customers?

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about the impending retirement surge caused by baby boomers finally leaving the workplace and how it will affect changes in the tech industry. The combined worth of this market segment is roughly in the $2 trillion bracket. That’s a lot of disposable income—and a lot of freed-up time for […]

Customer Base

How to Stay Relevant as an Innovator

Changing Nature of Products

Do you sell atoms or bytes? Do you think that your answer could change over the next five years? Think about Amazon and the Kindle. Jeff Bezos asked, What is my role going to be if the nature of books changes? He realized that to stay relevant and necessary his company needed to retain control […]

Stay Relevant

Finding Ways to Offer Underused Resources

What products could I create out of unused assets?

I’m an innovation guy. It may not say so on my business card, but that’s what I do. I encourage people, whether inside HP or in my meetings with customers around the world, to accept that they and their product are going to have to change. No matter how popular and successful your work is, […]

Underused Resources

The Zero-Tolerance Consumer

What is surprisingly inconvenient about my product?

The designers and engineers who work at HP face many challenges in getting their ideas signed off on. It’s a long process from an idea to a finished prototype. Before any product can hit the market, it faces one final test. I take the prototype home, give it to my wife, and say, “Tell me […]

zero-tolerance consumer

Education and Change

The Department of Education: A Case Study

About a year ago I got a call inviting me to participate in a meeting with the Department of Education because they were actively looking at ways to innovate how kids are educated. I agreed to participate in a meeting in San Francisco, and I was happy to have the opportunity to do so. My […]

Education

The Battle for Customers

What would happen if I realigned my industry relationships (i.e., partners, suppliers, etc.)?

Odds are that you and your competitors are actually competing in two distinct ways. The obvious battle is the one to win customers from each other. The less obvious, but equally important, one is the battle for the resources required to produce your product. We touched on the concept of unexpected jolts, and how the […]

battle

Pitch Timing and Selling Your Idea

Making Your Pitch Keep the pitch simple, and build it around the Guy Kawasaki Rule of 10/20/30: 10 slides, 20 minutes, nothing smaller than 30-point font. Remember that you are telling a story; you want a spokesperson who can bring the idea to life and get people excited. Practice pitching the idea before you take […]

Pitch

Free Shipping!

Can I reduce by half or double my distribution cost?

The other day my daughter Rachel ordered some shoes from Zappos. She’s used them a few times in the past, and the next morning she got an e-mail saying her shoes had been shipped overnight as a reward for being a good customer. Now, one of Zappos’ gimmicks is that shipping is always free, but […]

Shipping

Brainstorming Quality Ideas

Working the Workshop

I’ve given you my system for using the Killer Questions to generate the quality ideas that lead to great innovations. Now comes your challenge: getting this information out of the book and into your organization. In this chapter I’ll give you a few essential rules for running a successful innovation workshop, including how to select […]

quality ideas