Archive for June, 2012

How to Avoid Being Netflixed

June 25th, 2012

My friend Dan Pink asked me 5 questions about my new book for this post which appeared here on The Pink Blog.

images-34My 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, 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

The Hardest Question Any Leader Can Ask

June 21st, 2012

This post appeared on the Fortune Magazine site here and is adapted from my new book, The Business Model Innovation Factory.

images-32211Is 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