Don’t Mistake Innovation For Strategy

Al Reis wrote an excellent article in Advertising Age that captures its thesis in the title: Innovation Should Be Seen as a Tactic, Not a Business Strategy. Here are a few excerpts:

What makes a powerful automobile brand today is not innovation, but a narrow focus on an attribute or a segment of the market…

Innovations outside of a brand’s core position can undermine a brand…

Most brands don’t need innovations; they need focus. They need to figure out what they stand for (or what they could stand for) and then what they need to sacrifice to get there.

My take: I applaud Reis for introducing restraint in a really hot topic area (Look at my posts Customer Experience Innovation: As Simple As 1-2-3 and Trend Watch #4: Business Week “Innovation Predictions 2008.”) Executives get so enamored with “innovation” that they lose sight of the fact that it’s just a tool, not the ultimate objective. Don’t get me wrong, it can be a very powerful tool, but it needs to be used to support the brand strategy. 

As I was thinking about where innovation can help the most, I thought about this Venn diagram that I used in a previous post


Innovation works best in the overlapping areas on the diagram!

The bottom line: Get more from innovation by obsessing less about it.

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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