Mulling innovation

I have been really mulling over the idea of innovation, ever since Jeremy at Ensight posted his “Innovation is Useless” entry on Monday. Jennifer at Brand Mantra actually started with the wheels turning with a great Drucker quote on Saturday.

I went back and read the Fast Company article (that seems to belittle Apple for never being truly successful). Their argument is the real money is made when companies innovate business models (i.e. Dell and their supply chain, Amazon and consumer sales, etc.). The argument continues that since Apple controls everything they have never been able to leverage their products to produce a more successful business model.

I don’t know what the alternative to innovation is. I guess it would be live off the products you have. Seth Godin calls it “milking the cow”. That leaves me with the question – “How did you create the products in the first place?” Did you just copy what someone else was doing and convince some customers that yours what better or cheaper? It is plausible and is a business model that has been used over and over.

Let’s get back Apple. Their only weapon is innovation. They are pushing form and function in personal computing and now in other areas. Because it was inevitable iTunes would end up with competition, does that mean Apple should never have created that business?

I think it is more important than ever that companies be innovative. Customers are changing, whether its their tastes, their attitudes, or their attention span. Our knowledge of the universe grows every day. How can you offer the same things you always have?

The alternative seems awfully boring.

3 thoughts on “Mulling innovation

  1. Definitely innovate, just do so not as an end unto itself. Do it as part of a concerted effort to refine or grow your business… Not as the end.

    But yes, I’d hate the world without innovation!

  2. Great post! Have you read Innovators Solution?

    “What Customers Really Want Is for You to Do Their Jobs – To make innovative products that drive growth, companies must forget about demographics, product attributes and market size data, and focus on the specific jobs customers need to get done. ”

    There are two nice summary/excerpts available. The first one is on CIO Magazine:

    There is a great line in that one:

    “Specifically, customers—people and companies—have “jobs” that arise regularly and need to get done. When customers become aware of a job that they need to get done in their lives, they look around for a product or service that they can “hire” to get the job done.”

    The second is from Optimize Magazine:

    Both articles are very good, and talk about Innovation from a slightly different angle. Good stuff.


  3. You assert that Apple’s ONLY marketing weapon is innovation…

    Perhaps that’s not an accurate description of their brand equity, which includes customer satisfaction, snob appeal, alpha-allure, marketing savvy and Steve Jobs.

    Apple innovates, misses sometimes, but has had MANY hits, in truth…

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