Innovation for (a) Change

I am working with a stealth start up at the moment, and innovation is what it is all about.  Their product is neither ground breaking or market creating but it is innovating in areas where the competition are not.  In these challenging times it’s more than a little refreshing to see great brains working on problems that can be “re-solved” to business advantage.   So I was pleased to see McKinsey have published their interviews with Judy Estrin, veteran guru of Silicone Valley on “how to fix the innovation gap” – well worth 10 minutes of your time to get you thinking about how you can innovate for change.

Two innovations that caught my attention yesterday that  I want to mention:

The first is leadership innovation.  Behemoth HP announce quarterly product revenues down 18%, the first bad quarter since Mark Hurd took over.  The response many expect is sweeping redundancies, in fact he implements a top down wage cutting programme.  In a company already in the midst of restructuring  this sends a steadying message and retains the skills necessary for recovery and growth. 

The second (and much smaller in the global mill pond) is UK mobile phone reseller Carphone Warehouse, who seem to have dipped there toes into revolution, with some senior support staff taking it upon themselves to initiate a new support model via Twitter.   Hmmm now that does make me think!

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2 responses to “Innovation for (a) Change

  1. The twitter ‘innovation’ looks to me like focusing on what’s important to the customer (quick response, keeping them in the loop on progress), which is a side effect of the technology. It could equally well be delivered thro’ other delivery channels.

    Most economic value in business (and best returns to shareholders) comes from process innovation, enabled by some technology change (eg using railways to reduce the cost of consumer products, using cheap energy to build a production line, using information availability to reduce supply chain working capital), rather than the technology products themselves.

    Like Hurd’s haircut, although it may be more of a cut further down the pecking order where the bonuses are smaller. I’m not sure that such an approach is legal in Europe.

  2. Hi Tim, I understand that HP are inviting managers to take a cut voluntarily, which one assumes is perfectly legal. Discuss…..

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