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!
Innovation is rapidly moving up the agenda of CEOs throughout the global economy.
“Meeting the Innovation Imperative” is the key theme at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in the Chinese seaport city of Dalian.
With global competition fiercer than ever, leaders of countries and companies have no option but to employ an innovation-driven strategy: to harness technological, economic and social shifts and create an environment conducive to entrepreneurship and innovation.
Innovation, by definition, has the potential to ignite growth and boost performance. It is sought – and celebrated – here for good reason. In a recent BCG study of the world’s most innovative companies, 85 per cent of CEOs surveyed ranked innovation as a top priority. They understand, better than most people do, that in a world of rapid change, standing still means falling behind. The right idea, launched at the right time, can push a company far ahead of its peers.
Why Apple is #1?
Simply because Apple (Steve Jobs) is the most innovative (not inventive, not creative) company of the past 15 years.
Apple didn’t create the first MP3 player, the first smartphone, or the first tablet. And yet they, along with rival technology companies like Google, Blackberry and Microsoft have access to the same materials, the same bright minds, and the same funding. Nothing distinguished them structurally from other companies, so what’s the difference?
Why are more people buying iPods instead of Zunes, iPhones instead of Nokias, iPads instead of Samsung Galaxys?
This post isn’t just to rah-rah about Job’s marketing prowess. At Apple, they think, act, and communicate differently. Marketing is at the “core” of the company, i.e. the customer occupies center stage. Don’t think of Apple as having a single “marketing department” that controls all its advertising and design, rather, the whole company connected to its customers, are the marketing department.
The iMac’s biggest selling point was how easy it was to get onto the internet. Just plug in your phone line and go. That feature alone made it very enticing to new internet users.
With iTunes, Apple had completely reinvented the way we looked at music files. Suddenly, we could download just the songs we wanted, and we did not need to go and get/order CDs (and place them on a shelf).
So the takeaway lesson to remember from Apple Mac’s sudden surge in popularity is to discover what people really want (and not what you, in your office, think they want) and determine if they’d be willing to change and experience your idea in order to get that want fulfilled.