I’m deep into book writing … in the process going through a collection of files… a few quotes really struck me this morning.
Winning is pretty much the same in today’s business world as it has been for decades: Create new customers, new products, and new services that drive revenue growth and profits. What’s different is ʼhow to do it. The acceleration of change today is unprecedented. It creates opportunities as well as the threat of obsolescence.
The best way to win in this world is through innovation. But innovation has often been left to technical experts or perceived as serendipity or luck. Long geniuses working on their own have, indeed, created new industries or revolutionized existing ones. But there is a problem. You can’t wait for the lightbulb to go off in someone’s head. The fruits of innovation — sustained and ever-improving organic revenue growth and profits – have to become integral to the way you run your business. That means making innovation central to the goals, strategy, structure, systems, culture, leadership, and motivating purpose and values of your business.
I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I’ve done that sort of thing in my life.
Jeff Bezos interview for the web site Business Insider
One of my jobs is to encourage people to be bold. It’s incredibly hard. Experiments are, by their very nature, prone to failure. A few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work. Bold bets — Amazon Web Services, Kindle, Amazon Prime, our third-party seller business — all of those things are examples of bold bets that did work, and they pay for a lot of experiments.
I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com. Literally billions of dollars of failures. You might remember Pets.com or Kosmo.com. It was like getting a root canal with no anesthesia. None of those things are fun. But they also don’t matter.
What really matters is, companies that don’t continue to experiment, companies that don’t embrace failure, they eventually get in a desperate position where the only thing they can do is a Hail Mary bet at the very end of their corporate existence. Whereas companies that are making bets all along, even big bets, but not bet-the-company bets, prevail. I don’t believe in bet-the-company bets. That’s when you’re desperate. That’s the last thing you can do.
“”Deming was once asked, at one of his seminars, how he would summarize his message in a few words. “I’m not sure,” he replied, “but it would have something to do with variation.” Later he said, “I said earlier that my message, in a few words, had to do with variation. I’ve given it some more thought, and I would say it has to do with pride of work.”
If people aren’t calling you crazy, you aren’t thinking big enough.
In 2011, Jonathan Mildenhall, vice president of global advertising strategy and content excellence at the Coca-Cola Company, introduced his company’s new approach to investing in creative content. Coke is implementing a model they call the “70|20|10 investment principle,” an adaptation of the established 70|20|10 protocol for apportioning resources or investment.i Mildenhall explained that in its quest to double the size of its business by 2020, Coca-Cola would apportion its communications spend as follows:
• 70% would support low-risk, “bread-and-butter” content.
• 20% would be used to innovate based on what has worked in the past.
• 10% would fund high-risk content involving brand-new ideas.
We think this approach makes a lot of sense. It has worked for Google, where the company implemented it as a way to manage innovation, applying 70% of its workforce effort to core businesses, 20% to adjacent products, and 10% to highly experimental innovation for the long term.
“More than nine out of ten consumable products launched in the last ten years offered absolutely nothing new to the consumer. More than eight out of ten new products fail. You don’t need to be a statistician to relics there’s a correlation between the two numbers – Robert Mcmath
“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”
– Mark Twain