“94% of executives are unsatisfied with innovation performance”. Yet “84% see innovation as important to growth”! Whilst “54% of companies struggle to bridge the gap between innovation and business”. Worse; “very few executives know what the problem is and how to fix it”!
This is the innovation problem.
And we have forgotten the basics. Firstly that “the firm has two, and only two activities: marketing and innovation”. As well as that “people don’t want to buy a 1/4 inch drill; they want a 1/4 inch hole”.
Worse. We cling to old, one-sided, views of value. Where only manufacturers can create value, and users destroy it. The whole focus is the point where value is exchanged for cold hard cash.
And our innovation theories, as well as approaches, developed from the same manufacturing observations.
We can fix the innovation problem. We just need to think differently
We need to become innovation-first organisations - no more bolt-on approaches. We need different definitions of value and innovation; driven by taking a service view of the world - helping beneficiaries make progress - and where goods are ways to distribute (frozen) service.
Our different view of value reflects an ability to help a beneficiary make progress (get jobs done) and minimise hassles; rather than the amount something can be sold for. It recognises value is co-generated during use and so only value propositions can be made. And that beneficiaries alone determine value based on their lived and living experiences.
From there, we can evolve the definition of innovation to one where enabling beneficiaries to make progress in new/better ways than before is the aim. And where innovation resistance, often missed, is minimised.
We remove the stumbling block of goods vs services, and decades of thinking that goods are good, services bad. Instead, we evolve our thinking to recognise goods as a means to distribute services that have been frozen (where service is the application of skills and competence for the benefit of another (or self)).
The ways of thinking, actions and approaches I base my work on are wrapped up under the name service-dominant logic.
And embracing a service perspective gives a natural home to Jobs-to-be-done theory and Blue Ocean strategy. Consequently our solution space becomes much wider. As well as explaining Agile and lean approaches. And, not least, our evolved view of value opens up the application of the circular economy as an obvious and natural part of value proposal.
I've been a Chief Innovation Officer on the front line and experienced first hand the challenges of creating and setting up an innovation initiative in a global account. I have suffered the highs of getting 20+ innovations into an innovation pipeline; only to find getting traction and tangible results a challenge.
So I took some time out, went to the fantastic Business School at Imperial College London to study this innovation problem more. And I started getting introduced to service innovation and the service dominant logic
And now I am now exploring those thoughts more through this site
What's the best way to navigate the articles on this site? Go through the latest articles, or better still: take a journey!
I've organised the articles into journeys, such as "Innovation Essentials" and "Making Service-Dominant Logic more approachable". Flick through the journey's below, or see them collected together in one place.
"Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection"