Today I had lunch with four VERY smart people and one of them was Brian Sommers who was the longest running and most senior director of Accenture‘s Software Intelligence Unit. The credit for this blog post goes to Brian.
We all know how important it is to innovate in these tough times. Innovation is no longer a luxury. It is mandatory for enterprises to survive and thrive. However, there is another aspect that seems to get overlooked. It is a company or a person’s ability to exploit innovations. Xerox PARC was famous for innovating but not very good at exploiting their own innovations. Dell, on the other hand not only has many process innovations, it also is a fast follower exploiting innovations at a breathtaking speed. The biggest example will be of course Microsoft. They were not the first in many things but boy, when the followed – they followed fast and exploited innovations to the maximum.
If you think about it, there will be a physical limitation on how much you can innovate. However, there will be hundreds of innovations by others that you can exploit for your or your company’s benefit. What would it take for you to be ready to exploit innovations for your or your company’s benefit? Here are some things:
* Humility: If you think you already know everything that you need to know, you may not be open to learning. If there is no new inputs into your head, the outputs may not be very different from what it has been before
* Power to associate: Or in other words, the ability to connect things that are seemingly unconnected. The ability to making something
If your competitor is not innovating but is great at exploiting innovations you are still at a disadvantage.
What innovations could you exploit this year for your advantage this year?