Every entry filed under "Innovating"

The impossible fight


If you try building a full service proposition in a stack ‘em high sell ‘em cheap box shifter, or discounting out the back of a premium front end, or any kind of product where customers buy attention … expect it to fail.

You can dream the impossible dream, and fight the impossible fight.

You will lose.

Any time you come up against your business model – around which your entire business is moulded – the weight of every previous investment pushes you to fit in or ship out.

The problems really start when you do go against the business model and get an early win. Filled with We Can Do This enthusiasm, you ride on the wave, commit time, cash and emotional capital in really making a splash – and all the while, business-as-usual is readying to beach you like flotsam on the next receding tide.

Don’t try to outmanoeuvre an existing business model – find (or build) a home that wants it to float.

Skippy strategy: If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit. Change the proposition or change the ocean that buoys it.

Neatly filed under Innovating on September 23, 2015

Grow your own?


Smart people can do things on their own.

They invent systems and build products and create components and close gaps. Intelligence mixed with hard work and a pinch of innovation, stirred well with elbow grease. Miracles happen.

Which is handy as most projects start without money at the table. There’s no choice; you just have to get on with making do. Teams become self-reliant and confident of their abilities.

Later on, despite better funding, it’s tempting to keep building everything from scratch … you can do it, so why not?

Is that the best use of the talents?

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Skippy strategy: Make active grow-your-own/buy-theirs decisions – be sure to weight perfectionism against hubris, and time against money.

Neatly filed under Innovating on September 8, 2015

Good ideas are the ones that work


First ideas are often clear, direct, and right on the money. You immediately see how the foot bone is connected to the head bone. Not all the details, but the pieces that build the whole. A joint, a connecting rod, some flexibility here and a pivot there.

Working the problem exposes the details. The colour, the position, the context, the properties, the exact specification. You’re on your way.

First ideas are just as often dead wrong. What seemed real is a mirage. The obvious route is a dead end. What looked like a pivot turns into an anchor.

One reaction: take out the dynamite, blast it through, stay on course by force of will and spend of budget. Hope momentum will carry you through. Save face.

Another: take one step back, re-view, re-imagine, re-work, re-think. Focus on the end game.

Don’t be swayed by the first idea just because it was number one. Look again. Be swayed by the certainty of how things are, on the ground, in reality.

Skippy Strategy: However sparkling the first idea, work the details, deal with reality. Good idea are the ones that work.

Neatly filed under Innovating on August 22, 2015

Never quite landing


Taking new products to market or new ideas to management, there comes a moment.

Exciting and a little scary.




Tentative, qualified, “let’s set up a pilot and see how it goes.”

But we got a Yes, and it feeeeels gooooood.

The first job of a pilot it prove the technical efficacy – that it works. And that should be the end of the game. But it rarely is.

Pilots have a habit of never quite landing.

One month, three, six months, two years later: a tweak and a tuck, you’re on the seventh go-round. It looks good, but not how they’d like it.

If this was public sector, you’d say the Politicians were getting in the way. If this is the private sector, they probably still are, just spelt with a small p.

Pilots have two jobs: to prove the thing works, and to give you a chance to learn the organisation.

Skippy Strategy: When you get asked for a pilot, don’t imagine it’s only about the product.

Neatly filed under Innovating on August 11, 2015

Experiments that work


By the time you’ve been doing things for a while is likely you’ve got some things down pat, you know what works.

It’s also possible that you settled into doing things that way because, one time, you tried something, and it worked. You experimented, the thing span around pretty well and without too much noise, so huh, do it the same way next time. And the next.

Experiments that work can turn into the way we do thing around here. Without questions. And quick.

What if there was another way? What if someone suggested something that might be faster, leaner, smarter, cheaper? What about slower but more cohesive? Or using partners?

Would you embrace it as another experiment, or – you know what you know – grunt and keep on keepin’ on?

Change can look a lot like the kind of experiments that got you here in the first place. And most experiments that work, could work better.

Skippy Strategy: You make things up. Some of them work. Don’t get stuck. Keep experimenting.

Neatly filed under Innovating on August 1, 2015