Frustration. Irritation. Twenty-five grand. Blowing a hundred grand. Two hundred. A million or three. Have you, your firm tossed this kind of cash at innovation? Classes. Training. Workshops. Books. Articles. It just never ends. The worst part? Nothing changes but your bank account and your time lost trying. It’s like folks seek a magic bullet, something to show the analysts or to simply engage the staff. Yet for the most part nothing changes. Innovation it seems is the most bastardized, abused word of the century. We all want it, to know how to do it, to transform our companies, our lives or at least create one winning product or solve one major crisis. What’s the deal? Why doesn’t it work? I’ve spoken to hundreds wanting success, wanting affect and it seems so many have had enough. The fact is most of these programs succeed at nothing but enriching consultants, from sole proprietors to the big boys. It’s not that these folks do not for the most part want to help – it’s simply that they cannot and likely never will. Here are the reasons why and indeed what you should look for in a great innovation offering… They’ve never truly innovated anything All too often, especially at the more granular level below simple strategy, most consultants, especially the smaller firms and indeed many of the brand or design firms actually have not innovated. You ask the products created, the sales, the incumbents destroyed, reduced and the economic impact and you get a blank stare, obfuscation and or utterly put of context information. No one cares about anything but the line, the impact and if these folks cannot prove it, demonstrate it, display it, then why did you talk to them to begin with? One must ask these very simple, upfront questions:
- How much in annual sales have you generated for clients?
- What margins and market share relative to the before?
- What specific products have you launched commercially and quantifiably?
- What specific role did you play in these efforts?
- What were your historic roles? P&L? Marketing? R&D?