Category Archives: 1 – Where To Play

Design Thinking

Indra Nooyi


Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo

When I first came to PepsiCo, every time we talked about products for women, people would just put it in a pink bag, or put on a pink label. And I thought: Whoa! We have a problem in how we think about innovation, not just in terms of form function—the package it’s going to be put into—but how it’s going to be used and all the way back to the early stages of the value chain. I believe deep consumer insights are really important.

So one day, I gave each of my direct reports an empty photo album and a camera. I asked them to take pictures of anything they thought represented good design

… after six weeks, only a few people returned the albums. Some had their wives take pictures. Many did nothing at all. They didn’t know what design was.

  1. design is not packaging (“should we go to a different blue?”)
  2. bring a designer into the company (Mauro Porcini, fmr. 3M)
  3. rethink the entire user experience (purpose generates margins)

Market growth alone doesn’t give you enough tailwind. You have to create your own. The way to do that is by designing products for consumers that wow them. Not just the way they look, but that every aspect of what they buy delights them.


Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer, PepsiCo

Indra and I are really on the same page when it comes to marketing research. In many corporations, marketing research is heavily used to validate rather than to generate insights to drive innovation.

Design is to create meaningful and relevant brand experiences for our customers any time they interact with our portfolio of products

Design is a strategic function that focuses on what people want and need

As for the return, look at consumer engagement, and brand equity.

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The up-front SWOT analysis… So What??

have you already completed a SWOT analysis and asked: “So What?”

have you already completed a SWOT analysis and asked: “So What?”

Perhaps the single most common way to kick off a strategy process is with a SWOT analysis. But how often have you and your colleagues completed a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and asked, “So what?”
What did you actually do with it?

Too often a SWOT analysis become a “check-the-box” exercise, adding little or no value to your business planning efforts.A strength is a strength only in the context of a particular Where-To-Play and How-To-Win choice, as is the case for any weakness, opportunity and threat. So attempting to analyze these features in advance of a potential WTP/HTW choice is a fool’s game. This is why SWOT analyses tend to be long, involved, and costly, but not compelling or valuable. Think of the last time you got a blinding insight on the business in question from an up-front SWOT analysis. I bet one doesn’t come to mind quickly. The up-front SWOT exercise tends to be an inch deep and a mile wide.

The time to do analyses of the sort that typically turn up in SWOT analyses is after you have reverse-engineered a WTP/HTW possibility. That will enable you to direct the analyses with precision at the real barriers to making a strategy choice — the exploration will then be a mile deep and an inch wide.


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Business Innovation & Skills

BIS logo 2013


En 2010, David Cameron, après avoir consulté des dirigeants d’entreprise, a réuni au sein d’un ministère les entreprises, la recherche, l’enseignement supérieur et la formation: BIS – Department for Business Innovation & Skills (20,000 fonctionnaires au total avec le Board Of Trade). Donc pas tout à fait Bercy aujourd’hui… (avec 160,000 fonctionnaires).

Résultat: 1 million d’emplois privés créés en deux ans – quand la France en détruisait plus de 500,000 dans le même temps.


The government is working to create the right conditions for companies to thrive and make it easier for people to start successful new businesses.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) is the department for economic growth. The department invests in skills and education to promote trade, boost innovation and help people to start and grow a business.

To boost the number of jobs and create a flexible labour market, the government is modernising employment law while protecting employee rights. To increase the number of people in employment, we need to support them into work through the benefits system and job search support.

The government aims to make sure that further education provides the skilled workforce employers need and helps individuals reach their full potential.

The government is working with universities and colleges so they can continue to provide high quality teaching and research and produce highly skilled graduates and post graduates.

The government funds and supports innovation in science, technology and engineering to help the UK’s high-tech industries to thrive.

Overseas trade and inward investment are vital for the UK’s prosperity. Through its trade and investment policies, the government aims to help UK businesses succeed internationally and encourage overseas companies to work with the UK.



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Innovation can — sometimes, okay, maybe often — be a battle


Dr.-Ing. Norbert Reithofer, CEO of BMW AG:

Why BMW started the risky BMW-i3 project?

Because doing nothing was even a bigger risk”.


When is it last time you…
  • visited start-ups challenging your position.
  • invited a trend watcher to confront you with how quick the world is changing.
  • visited customers who just changed provider to an innovative substitute.
  • went to Tech Universities to see experiments with new technologies.
  • read articles on new successful business models.
  • visit young customers and asked what they think of your brand — and products.
  • visited customers … and simply talked to them while they are at it


If you are reading this, your organization is probably less innovative than you are. You have a game-changing role. Build awareness that your company needs to innovate. Top Management will only change their conservative views if they get fresh new insights.
Keep confronting them with signals that your market is changing rapidly: changing customer preferences, new substitutes, a small new Danish start-up, et cetera… until the urgency to innovate will be understood and is top-of-mind.

Present your innovative breakthroughs propositions (bring new business, not new ideas) not as something really extraordinary (and risky) but as the normal next thing to do for the company. Your chances to convince will increase dramatically.

The voice of the Customer (VoC) is your best friend, ever. Use Customer Insights results and enthusiast testimonials to get internal support.

And Oh, one last thing, of course they’ll say no to your innovation. What would you do if someone came up to you out of the blue, saying you have to do the things you do totally differently? Or do totally different things. Innovation is always provocative by definition. So when they say “no” to innovation, don’t take it personally. It is not the end of the battle. It’s only the beginning!




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What effective leaders do to lay the groundwork for innovation

effective leader1. They actively encourage entrepreneurship. Forward-looking companies continually reinvent their business models through experimentation and innovation. To let such a culture flourish, leaders have to be willing to share authority, challenge the status quo, encourage creativity and accept failure.

2. They set clear priorities. As important as entrepreneurship is, a leader ultimately has to lead. The person at the top frequently and sometimes uniquely enjoys an ideal vantage point for choosing between the short and the long term, and among markets and sectors. But no matter how clear their vision, leaders can’t manage innovation on their own. Companies need rigorous processes for assessing which ideas should move into development and which should not. Being able to say no is an essential driver of innovation productivity.

3. They strike a balance between efficiency and innovation. Some companies may be under pressure to cut costs and drive efficiencies, but the increasing pace of change means they also need to emphasise innovation. Resolving this contradiction requires the ability to both explore new avenues and fully leverage existing ones.

Combined with a healthy appetite for innovation, these leadership qualities have the potential to unleash a new wave of business creativity – and with it, perhaps, a new generation of global competitors.

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Lessons from Angela Ahrendts, Burberry’s CEO


After our strategy meeting in 2006, we designed our website to speak to our consumers through emotive brand content: music, movies, heritage, storytelling. Today, more people visit our platform every week than walk into one of our stores. The majority of our employees at corporate headquarters in London are under 30 – just like our core customers. They understand who we are trying to reach.
Our salespeople had become accustomed to selling what was easy—relatively inexpensive items such as polo shirts. Our trench coats are not just raincoats anymore. They are the foundation of a great brand and a great company. We have been innovating around it.  We equipped our sales associates with iPads and our stores with audiovisual technology to show videos. We knew that beautiful, compelling content would connect customers to the brand and our iconic trench.
Actually, Thomas Burberry founded the company at the age of 21. He was young. He was innovative.

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A.G. Lafley :: How Strategy Really Works

A.G. Lafley
Former CEO of Procter & Gamble (2000-2009)
“Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works”
The biggest shortcoming among today’s CEOs is that they don’t think they need a strategy. They think they have a hot product or hot service. They think benchmarking, best practices and copying what the rest of the industry does is a strategy. They try to be all things to all people.
If you’re not clear about which customers you’re going to serve, how to serve them in a unique and better way that creates real value for them, and your core competencies, you’re just not going to have as much of a chance to win. You cannot grow if you don’t end up making a meaningful difference in consumers’ lives.

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