Chapter 13. Innovation Counts

"Through innovation, what you are in fact saying is that what you do produces differentiation and real business value."

The essence of strategy lies in creating tomorrow's competitive advantages faster than anyone can mimic today's. To do this consistently, you must embrace innovation as a core competency. Core competencies are different for every person and occupation, but the one that we all need to make count is innovation.

The basis of competitive advantage has shifted at least five obvious times over the last few decades: from price and volume to quality, then to speed, over to mass customization, and finally on demand. Each shift has incorporated the innovative attributes of its predecessors, and then added new and progressively more challenging requirements. Innovation is the creation of new value and new satisfaction for the customer. The three tests of innovation are: does it create value for the customer; does the customer want the innovation; and, will the customer pay for it?

The genesis of innovation is an idea, which is somewhat like a baby—born small, immature, and shapeless. They initially offer more promise and hope than fulfillment. The creation of ideas is often driven by needs, yet to describe the need is not to satisfy it. But describing it does give a specification for the desirable results you seek, which in turn sparks the actual idea. Whether they are likely to be obtained can be decided in due time.

Innovation is essential in finding ...

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