The trouble with the future
Many organisations do some form of long term planning, and typically such plans are based on forecasts which extrapolate the present into the future (e.g., by talking a spreadsheet and adding a set percentage to key numbers!). Even when such plans include future ‘scenarios’ these typically reflect the best and worst cases which can be thought of at the time (i.e., the biggest and smallest percentages which can be imagined). Read more »
A flock of birds gives the appearance of being wonderfully synchronized. Most people assume the bird at the front is leading the flock. When you see a trail of ants it is tempting to think of the queen sending out her drones. In our immune systems, we think of armies of antibodies under the control of our surgeon general of wellbeing. Read more »
I talked in my first post about how emerging markets are changing innovation, and two publications this week focus attention on the same topic. The title of the latest edition of The Economist is “The new masters of management” and contains a 14 page special report on innovation in emerging markets. It points out that not only are companies from the developed world focusing increasingly on emerging markets for innovation, but also emerging market firms (eg Haier and Huawei from China) are moving in the other direction! They also talk about reverse innovation in terms of “frugal”, referencing the Tata Nano, the business model of Bharti Airtel and BYD’s ambition as not only a global supplier of batteries, but to be a global car company. Many of these innovations are not just about new products, but involve completely new business models.
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“You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” – Warren Buffet
London continues to be a great world city, leading others in terms of both it’s cultural vibrancy and as a linchpin of the world’s financial services. Both of these are reflected in current theatre listings and I was fortunate to catch both “The Power of Yes” by David Hare and “Enron” by Lucy Prebble. Both plays offered fascinating insights into the financial crisis, which also resonate in research and innovation,.
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A great way to start this learning log is to discuss how innovation practice is being disrupted by the emergence of new markets in Asia and other developing regions of the world. Truly disruptive innovation has always been based on finding new uses and new markets for new products rather than developing better and better delivery of existing products to existing customers (read Clayton Christensen for a detailed introduction to disruptive innovation). As emerging markets develop, they present huge new markets for products, but with consumers whose needs can be very different from those in existing developed markets. That is, they present a huge opportunity for disruptive innovation.
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“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” – W Edwards Deming