Archive for May, 2009

Next Practices vs. Best Practices

May 30th, 2009

Everyone bows down to the all, important benchmark.  How many times have you heard someone say, “You only get what you measure”? Most organizations commit to identifying and measuring performance against industry best practice.  Many have recognized the value of looking outside of their industry for practices that might provide a source of competitive advantage.  Adopting existing best practice makes sense if you want to improve the performance of your current business model.  Going beyond the limits of your current business model requires a network-enabled capability to do R&D for new business models.  The imperative is to build on best practices to explore and develop next practices. Read more

Your Own Path

May 22nd, 2009

images1Is your path to success more like Mine That Bird or Rachel Alexandra?  Do you start out slow, figure out the game, and then sprint past the competition to win the race or do you come out of the gates strong, define the race, and than hold off contenders looking back as you cross the finish line?  Both paths can lead to the winner’s circle but the journey is completely different.   Read more

Innovation Hot Spot

May 17th, 2009

I was invited by Boston Globe innovation columnist Scott Kirsner to participate in a brainstorming session to answer the question: how do we better communicate New England’s innovative, creative, entrepreneurial spirit to the rest of the world?  The meeting took place at Flybridge Capital Partners in a conference room with a great panoramic view of Boston and was attended by an eclectic group of twenty five leaders from across New England all with a passion for strengthening our region’s innovation story and voice.  It was an energizing session and I left with many ideas and a refreshed enthusiasm for New England’s potential as a national innovation hot spot.

Here are a few observations from the session: Read more

Just a Twittering Fool

May 12th, 2009

imagesI got many congratulatory messages on my inaugural BusinessWeek column, Needed: A National Innovation Agenda.  What surprised me was how many of the well-wishers asked what advertising or public relations firm helped me land the gig.  I immediately responded, none, I don’t have one, and I am pretty sure that if I did the odds of being asked to write a regular column for BusinessWeek would have been lower.  Today all you need is a point of view, confidence, and access to social media tools. The truth is that the column resulted from being a twittering fool. Read more

Needed: A National Innovation Agenda

May 6th, 2009

bw_255x541This week my inaugural column appeared on  No sense in starting small so I called for a national innovation agenda.

In the coming months, our government is going to throw a lot of money at some very big problems. The amount is staggering-a $787 billion stimulus package combined with a proposed $3.6 trillion federal budget. That kind of market-making money should be able to drive the bold changes we need in health care and education.

I fear it will not.

It would be a shame if the nation’s palpable hunger for fresh ideas and approaches resulted only in incremental change. The problem I see is that most of the money is about to travel through existing pipes to sustain the way the health-care and education industries currently operate. This path simply maintains the status quo.

If we want bold change, we have to allocate more of the federal investment to the design and testing of new approaches that are not constrained by existing ones.

Continue reading the column

Law Of Large Numbers

May 1st, 2009

nestleImagine needing to add $5-6 billion in new revenue this year just to meet corporate growth expectations.   That’s about $16 million in new revenue every day including weekends.  It is also Nestle’s 2009 corporate revenue growth target.  Accorded to Helmut Traitler, Vice President for Innovation Partnerships, Nestle has about $100 billion in current total revenue and a growth plan calling for a 5-6% revenue increase.  Just the incremental growth revenue in Nestle’s plan would land a company on the Fortune 500 list.   Read more