This post was co-authored by Angela Maiers, founder of Choose2Matter, and originally appeared on The Huffington Post here.
Beware of random collisions with unusual suspects.
Unless, that is, you want to learn something new. In that case, seek out innovators from across every imaginable silo and listen, really listen, to their stories. New ideas, perspectives, and opportunities await in the gray areas between the unusual suspects.
It seems so obvious and yet we spend most of our time with the usual suspects in our respective silos. One of the most important silos we need to break down is the one between generations. Read more
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama made a big deal about manufacturing jobs as a central part of his economic vision for the country. “Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs in manufacturing”, he proclaimed. I support the president’s aim and passion to revive manufacturing, but to accomplish it we first have to jettison industrial era thinking. The industrial era and the 7.1 million manufacturing jobs lost in the U.S. from 1979 to 2012 aren’t coming back. We must create new 21st century manufacturing jobs that leverage what America is great at, creativity and innovation. Manufacturing will grow in the U.S. when we accelerate the use of technology to increase productivity, enable new business models designed for mass customization and unleash the manufacturers in all of us.
To begin, we need to recognize that manufacturing isn’t an industry sector, it’s a capability with plenty of opportunity for innovation. We take industry sector definitions for granted. As if industries were clubs with exclusive admission criteria and secret handshakes only revealed to companies that agree to play by understood rules. The industrial era was defined by clearly delineated industries, making it easy to identify which sector every company was competing in. It was all so gentlemanly really, as if competition was governed, like boxing, by a code of generally accepted Marquess of Queensberry rules. Companies were all assigned a numerical Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code (now North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS) identifying which industry sector they fit in to. Read more
Companies fail at business model innovation because they’re so busy pedalling the bicycle of current business models they leave no time or resource to design new ones.
Most companies focus innovation efforts on new products and on driving efficiencies into current models. These are important activities, but not sufficient in the 21st century when business models don’t last as long and face disruption. This means business model innovation is the new strategic imperative. In this post I outline the top 10 reasons why businesses fail to innovate.
CEOs don’t really want a new business model
The most obvious reason companies fail at business model innovation is because CEOs don’t want to explore new business models. They are content with the current one and want everyone in the organisation focused on how to improve its performance. The clearest indication is when any discussion about emerging business models is viewed and treated solely as a competitive threat. Read more
Dear Avis: If you want to win big with the Zipcar acquisition you will have to try harder. Resist the temptation to impose your core car rental business model on the upstart transformer. Zipcar is your sandbox to scale a car-sharing model with potential to disrupt the automotive and car rental industry. Stop with the number two shtick, Zipcar can help Avis become a market maker instead of a share taker. Your main competitor, Hertz, is a share-taker demonstrated by its recent acquisition of Dollar Thrifty. Your opportunity is tremendous but throw away the classic post-merger integration playbook. Here are five ways to do that: Read more
I can’t wait for BIF-8. I am embarrassed and humbled by my profile written for the BIF-8 program book by Maureen Tuthill. Maureen writes storyteller profiles for our summit program book every year. This is the first year she has written one about me! She gets us and beautifully captures the essence of what BIF and I are all about. I can’t resist sharing it with you. I’m proud to be associated with such an incredible team at BIF. Let the random collisions of BIF-8 begin.
For many BIF storytellers, the BIF Collaborative Innovation Summit boils down to one thing: Saul.
They speak of him with reverence and a deep appreciation for the way he “gets it.” His is the governing spirit that draws them to Rhode Island for a chance to luxuriate in the space of possibility he and Team BIF creates for them every year.
Saul Kaplan, Chief Catalyst of the Business Innovation Factory and engaging host of the BIF-8 Summit, has a superior reputation as a noted facilitator of meaningful conversations about community and transformation, broadly defined. But Kaplan himself is quick to credit his BIF colleagues for consistently killing it with an incredible slate of storytellers that makes him “crazy proud” of each Summit. Read more
My friend Dan Pink asked me 5 questions about my new book for this post which appeared here on The Pink Blog.
My pal Saul Kaplan is a self-confessed innovation junkie. That’s all he seems to think, talk, and tweet about (with occasional detour for Boston sports teams.) He’s the founder and chief catalyst of the Business Innovation Factory in Providence and the proprietor of the most excellent annual conference of the same name.
Now he’s taken the wisdom he’s acquired over the years and turned it into a book about an urgent, but often overlooked, topic: Business models. In The Business Model Innovation Factory: How to Stay Relevant When the World is Changing (Buy it at Amazon, BN.com, or IndieBound), Kaplan outlines a set of principles that individuals and organizations can enlist to avoid getting steamrollered by competitors who do somewhat similar things but in distinctly different ways.
Because the book is so relevant to the issues many of us confront, I asked Saul to answer a few questions for Pink Blog readers:
You start off your book by saying “The goal for all leaders is to avoid being netflixed.” Could you explain a little bit about what it means to be “netflixed”?
Being netflixed means the way you do business today is disrupted, displaced, or destroyed by a competitor who plays by an entirely new set of rules. Blockbuster was netflixed. It was stuck in a bricks and mortar business model and was obliterated by the upstart Netflix. Today all companies, even Netflix, are vulnerable to being netflixed. Business models don’t last as long as they used to. The imperative for all leaders is to experiment with new business models even the disruptive ones. Read more
This post appeared on the Fortune Magazine site here and is adapted from my new book, The Business Model Innovation Factory.
Is it worth daring to be great? No buzzwords, no ambiguity, just a simple question that couldn’t matter more. Business model innovation starts by realizing you are contributing to a movement that is bigger than you. It’s global, self-organizing, and transformative. Lead by letting go. The first and most important step in the business model innovation process requires a change in perspective for both you and your organization. Looking through the lens of your current business model will most likely result in incremental changes at best. Business model innovation requires a different perspective. It requires a different set of lenses to examine new opportunities. It starts by realizing transformational opportunities are bigger than you and your organization. Business model innovation must be treated like an epoch journey with all the wide-eyed enthusiasm of a young child exploring new territory for the first time.
Business model innovation must be a strategic objective or it won’t happen. One of my biggest pet peeves is setting strategy one tactic at a time. It drives me crazy to be surrounded by people and organizations that think if they just work hard enough and do more things that a strategic direction and destination will emerge. It seems that most of the world works this way. It is terribly inefficient. How many people and organizations do you know that pedal the bicycle like crazy but never seem to arrive anywhere. They just keep pedaling harder hoping that something will eventually stick. It is exhausting watching them. Why not establish business model innovation as a strategic objective, a specific destination, and work hard on those things that help you get there. It seems so simple. Setting a strategic direction provides a way to know which tactics are aligned and contribute to reaching the destination. The destination may change along the way requiring different tactics, and that is OK, but not having a destination at all is a ticket to nowhere. Read more
This post appeared on the Fortune Magazine site here and was adapted from my new book, The Business Model Innovation Factory.
Sometimes tweaks aren’t enough. Sometimes nothing short of reinventing yourself, your organization, or your community is called for. The start of the 21st century is one of those times. If anything is certain about the new millennium it’s the pace of change. New technology relentlessly hurdles into our lives. Ideas and practices travel around the world at Internet speed. Social media enables individuals to self organize and reorganize in ways unimaginable in the 20th century. We also live in anxious times marked by economic uncertainty but one thing is clear, relevancy is more fleeting than ever. How to stay relevant in a changing and uncertain world is one of the most important questions of our time.
Thriving in the midst of today’s frenetic pace of change requires a new set of approaches and tools. Incremental change may have been enough at the end of an industrial era marked by me-too products and services, process re-engineering, best practices, benchmarks, and continuous improvement. We have built institutions that are far better at share taking than at market making. We have become really good at tweaks. There are tons of books, experts, and tools to help us make marginal improvements in the way things work today and to fight it out with existing competitors for one more share point. But how do we become market makers? Incremental change may be necessary but it isn’t sufficient for the 21st century defined by next practices, disruptive technologies, market making, and transformation. Read more
This post appeared on the Fortune Magazine Site here and was adapted from my new book, The Business Model Innovation Factory.
Collaborators are everywhere. You will find them in the gray areas between silos. Just look up from your current business model. Seek out difference and gather often across boundaries, disciplines, and sectors. Be open and be curious. Beware of random collisions with unusual suspects. Unless, of course, if you want to learn something new. In that case seek out innovators from across every imaginable silo and listen, really listen, to their stories. New ideas, perspectives, and the value creating opportunities are in the gray areas between the unusual suspects. And yet we spend most of our time with the usual suspects in our respective silos. We need to get out of our silos more.
It is human nature to surround ourselves with people who are exactly like us. We connect and spend time with people who share a common world-view, look the same, enjoy the same activities, and speak the same language. We join clubs to be with others like us. The club most worth belonging to is the non-club club. The most valuable tribe is a tribe of unusual suspects who can challenge your world-view, expose you to new ideas, and teach you something new. A tribe of unusual suspects can change the world if it is connected in purposeful ways.
It is easy to see the potential from enabling random collisions of unusual suspects. Just check out any social media platform. Read more
This post appeared on the Fortune Magazine site here and was adapted from my new book, The Business Model Innovation Factory.
Believe in the power of design. Through it, we will chart the landscape of possibility – designing, testing and prototyping new terrain. Be a market maker rather than a share taker.
Business model innovators are always seeking out places and events with a strong design vibe. They love to hang around really smart design thinkers and the places they hang out in hopes that some of it will rub off. I am convinced that design thinking and process is a key enabler of business model innovation so I have been hanging out with lots of design types. If you hang around enough designers you immediately get pulled into their active conversation about design’s place in the innovation narrative. After participating in many of these conversations I am left with a strong sense that the design community needs to move on from the incessant argument over the importance of design thinking and process. It is time to claim victory. Get over it. The argument is boring. Design is important. We stipulate that design is about more than sexy products. We get that design is about delivering a compelling customer experience. We know that business model innovation is fundamentally about designing new ways to create, deliver and capture value. Now, can we get on with putting design thinking and process to work to enable business model innovation?
No more books are needed to convince us that design thinking and process are a priority. They are important tools. If you want to convince us, stop talking about design thinking, and start putting it to work to mobilize new business models, transform customer experiences and enable real systems change. Business model innovation requires a strong design vibe that leads to trying more stuff and putting the tools to work rather than the navel gazing of today’s design thinking debate. It is time to move the design conversation to a new, actionable, place. Read more