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Dealing_with_Darwin



business competitiveness in the 21st century with a focus on managing innovation and inertia



Published: 2008-11-22T07:57:35-08:00

 



Darwin has moved!

2008-11-22T07:57:35-08:00

Nothing like a global recession to create Darwinian effects! One consequence is that my partners and I have started a new blog called Conversations with TCG Advisors http://tcgthinking.typepad.com/. It is about all the same kind of topics as this blog,...



Information Technology, Telecommunications, and Media & Entertainment: Three Industries Separated by a Common Language

2007-01-27T05:55:28-08:00

As the underlying technologies of IT, telecom, and media converge, the executives of the leading firms in each industry have more and more reason to communicate with one another. Alas, sometimes the best of intentions lead to unintended outcomes, not...



Dateline Davos: The Shifting Power Equation

2007-01-25T01:46:34-08:00

Dealing with shifts in power is the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, and it makes a very good platform to discuss a wide range of issues, including the following power shift vectors, all bubbled up...



Platform Innovation: Watch Your Step!

2006-12-04T05:19:06-08:00

There are few things more seductive to a tech-sector management team than the thought of becoming the next industry-enabling platform. Virtually every major corporation has a platform strategy, not to mention an equally elaborate set of plans to prevent any...



Apple, Sony, and the Signal-to-Noise Ratio

2006-11-07T19:57:00-08:00

For innovative offers to create competitive advantage in mature markets, they must clearly and cleanly separate themselves from the crowd. Otherwise customers and consumers are unmotivated to seek out a specific vendor, and commoditization wins out. Engineers call this type...



Catch and Release: Good for Fishing, Bad for IP

2006-10-29T17:10:01-08:00

As markets mature, customers give preference to types of innovation that leverage experience and know-how. In the consumer sector, for example, marketing innovation and experiential innovation come to the fore—the sort of thing that separates Apple, Startbuck’s and Nike from...



Coins in the Couch

2006-09-16T17:58:04-07:00

One of the harsh realities in the coming of age of an economic sector is the loss of external funding for growth. Growth capital is typically attracted by Cumulative Average Growth Rates (CAGRs) of 20% and above—that’s what makes for...



SOX and the Law of Unintended Consequences

2006-08-28T16:28:05-07:00

Sarbanes Oxley, Year 4. The Big 4 cannot hire enough people to administer audit projects, so quality is at record lows, and asininity of compliance rulings is at an all time high. To paraphrase Jack Nicholson from As Good as...



Brand: Unclear on the Concept

2006-08-16T15:24:05-07:00

God love BusinessWeek and Interbrand for their Top 100 Brands survey. It is absolutely critical that brand be valued as a strategic asset, and the Interbrand approach, while subject to debate, is as good a place to tart as any....



You, Me, and Dupree, but can I have the ads on the side?

2006-08-14T15:07:34-07:00

Responding to Robert Young's blog on socially integrated media empires, I, like everyone else on the planet, am fascinated by the self-organized emergence of social media a la YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook, et al. Who knew? How much is fad...



Fortune: “The New Rules of Business”

2006-08-14T14:58:25-07:00

Fortune's “story” here is that Jack Welch’s rules are wrong, but the writer from Fortune has seven new ones that are right. Let me say from the outset, this sort of thing drives me nuts. I would call it “autonomic...



Kawasaki and the Wrong Tale

2006-08-14T14:48:44-07:00

Reading Guy’s column makes obvious that Chris Anderson's The Long Tail is a the basis for marketing and distribution company, not a product company. Indeed, the key idea is that failed products in aggregate make valuable inventory provided that the...



Top Ten Truths About the Digital Ecosystem

2006-06-09T01:39:10-07:00

This piece follows up a request from the World Economic Forum for thoughts about the Digital Ecosystem, in preparation for framing the 2007 agenda at Davos. I would really appreciate any comments that would expand, improve, or correct these lines...



Intel: Meet Darwin

2006-04-29T09:45:44-07:00

This past week Intel surprised analysts with the latest in a set of uncharacteristically weak performances, especially in comparison with AMD. This has led some analysts to question Paul Otellini’s suitability to lead the company, falling prey to an over-fixation...



Strategic Acts of Generosity

2006-04-24T06:29:59-07:00

As more and more leading corporations in developed economies butt their heads against the demands for top-line growth, they are finding that their “Defend and Grow” strategies are spending most of their time defending rather than growing. Much of the...



Competing for Market Share—Maybe

2006-04-10T10:35:36-07:00

Competing for market share drives some of the best—and some of the worst—management decisions in business. Companies are particularly susceptible to going astray at the end of the quarter when they seek to use market share impact to justify horrendous...



“Best in Class” is a Sucker Bet

2006-03-22T04:04:08-08:00

As my colleagues and I developed our model for Return on Innovation, we saw three sources of attractive returns. They are: 1. Differentiation leading to sustainable competitive advantage. The return comes from customers preferring your offer over the competitor’s (more...



Paper or Plastic? It Really Matters When Your Are Buying a Company

2006-03-03T07:25:07-08:00

I was thinking about the Skype acquisition by eBay the other day—some $2 to $4 billion dollars, depending on earn-outs—and how shocking that sum sounds, especially for a company with very small revenues. But management and investors both make a...



Values-Based Performance and Performance-Based Values

2006-03-03T06:46:07-08:00

Values-based performance characterizes collaboration cultures who commit to altruistic ideals, live these values in their work, and earn thereby the trust of customers and partners . Performance-based values characterize competition cultures who continually hold themselves accountable to objective metrics of...



What do we mean by Innovate?

2006-02-08T16:26:35-08:00

This blog entry is in reply to Tom Foremski's challenge to one of the points in the previous blog. Before proceding further, please do read that piece (see below) and then his piece. Now I could just agree with Tom,...



Top Ten Myths about Business Innovation

2006-02-08T16:03:43-08:00

NOTE; I wrote this piece for Sandhill.com. I am reprinting it here a) for your convenience, and b) because Tom Forenski is taking issue with a key point I am making, and I want to be able to reference that...



Dateline Davos: Technology Pioneers

2006-01-28T07:05:40-08:00

My favorite thing to do at Davos is to help facilitate the Technology Pioneers program. Each year the Forum invites two to three dozen technology entrepreneurs to come to the Davos meeting, to share their visions and participate in the...



Dateline Davos: The Future of the Technology Sector

2006-01-28T06:38:17-08:00

Yesterday I had the good fortune to moderate a Davos session on the future of technology where the panelists were Bill Gates, John Chambers, Eric Schmidt, and Niklas Zennstrom. For those interested in the full record, there is a podcast...



Dateline Davos: Dealing with Darwin—or Not

2006-01-28T04:58:18-08:00

One of the things I love about coming to Davos is that the perspective is Euro-centric, not US-centic, and everything looks different when you change the lens. This time I had not even got to the hotel before I had...



Business Analytics: Friend or Foe?

2006-01-21T17:47:02-08:00

Ever since I got involved in the information technology sector back in the 1970s, the promise of business analytics has been a siren song. Mine the transaction data under your management to detect trends and extract insights that will give...



Intel: From Product to Platform Innovation

2006-01-16T15:54:50-08:00

Intel’s shift from product focus to platform focus has been well chronicled, both in the cover article of the January 9 BusinessWeek and elsewhere. As described, it is completely consistent with the innovation models set forth in Dealing with Darwin...



VC Money, Yes or No?

2006-01-08T17:20:23-08:00

Greg Gianforte, CEO of RightNow Technologies, wrote a piece for Tom Foremski’s Silicon Valley Watcher called “Most startups should avoid venture funding, not pursue it.” At Tom’s request, here is my rebuttal, heavily influenced, to be sure, by my ongoing...



Home Depot: New Innovation Vector Required

2006-01-02T11:44:24-08:00

The last Sudnay paper of 2005 ran a nice piece by Renee DeGross of Cox News, “Home Depot Improves Under Nardelli.” Basically, she reports that ex-GE executive Bob Darnelli has successfully applied organizational discipline and six-sigma methods to right a...



Very Small Businesses: Stuck in the Middle (with Mossberg)

2005-12-29T09:38:56-08:00

It’s so much more fun to read The Wall Street Journal on vacation because you get to linger over pieces that you only have time to scan otherwise. Case in point: a 12/29 column by Walt Mossberg entitled “Computer Makers...



Movies: From Product to Platform Innovation

2005-12-29T09:02:04-08:00

Good op ed piece by Edward Epstein in 12/29 Wall Street Journal explaining why box office receipts are no longer the keys to the moviemakers’ kingdom. Makes all kinds of sense financially, but it could be misleading strategically. Here’s why....



Education and Health Care: Complex Systems Dreams, Volume Operations Budgets

2005-12-22T08:54:48-08:00

While different in many ways, education and health care share a common predicament. The receivers of these services—parents and students on the one hand, patients and advocates on the other—are cultured to expect superior, personalized attention, the sort of thing...



Southwest: Darwin Calling, Again

2005-12-19T17:59:03-08:00

WSJ for December 19 has an interview with Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines, which recaps the points made in an earlier interview (see "Southwest, Meet Darwin" entry below). What is it that Kelly is missing? Well, let's be fair....



Comments to George Colony on “My View: The Google Future”

2005-12-18T15:34:27-08:00

I love the thesis of your argument and find myself about 75% in agreement with what you say about Google’s significance to the IT industry. That said, let me outline what the remaining 25% consists of and get your thoughts...



G.E., Viacom, and the DreamWorks Deal

2005-12-18T15:25:12-08:00

The Wall Street Journal did a front-page piece recently (December 12) on Viacom snatching DreamWorks from G.E., its expected acquirer. The article contrasted G.E’s methodical analytics-driven approach to M&A negotiations with Viacom’s Hollywood-style go-with-your-gut deal making, the implication being that...



Google—What’s the big idea?

2005-12-07T14:09:34-08:00

Everybody gets that there must be a big idea behind Google’s googoolian market valuation, but what exactly do we think it is? Not product innovation, although arguably their original claim to fame, Google Search, was just that. Not acquisition innovation,...



Southwest, Meet Darwin

2005-11-30T05:16:55-08:00

In an earlier post, "Dell, Meet Darwin," we looked at how a great pioneer of process innovation was coming to the end of a great run of competitive advantage. A similar case in point, Southwest Airlines, made the front page...



Cisco, Linksys One, and Scientific Atlanta: Gorilla At Work

2005-11-21T09:31:51-08:00

In Dealing with Darwin, the discussion of platform innovation focuses on how it is a natural strategy for any gorilla company that has achieved ubiquity with a proprietary technology—with particular attention to Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, EMC, and SAP. Cisco’s...



Renovating

2005-11-19T05:14:46-08:00

Maybe it’s age, but I am getting increasingly attracted to the notion of renovation as opposed to innovation. Renovation is simply innovation adapted to mature markets. Mostly we think of it as a tame undertaking, like painting a back bedroom,...



Beyond “Innovation”

2005-11-13T12:56:06-08:00

Tim Brown and Tom Kelley run IDEO, one of the best innovation consulting companies around. Tom has a new book out, The Ten Faces of Innovation , and the company is getting a lot of play in the business press....



Microsoft, Meet Darwin—Again

2005-11-09T10:31:58-08:00

Once again Microsoft is being asked to reinvent itself in the face of a competitor coming from an unexpected direction. This time it is Google, and the challenge is nothing less than the reinvention of the software business model in...



Amazon: Bad Idea

2005-11-09T07:29:53-08:00

When Amazon announced it was enabling the sale of portions of books as well as on-line access to books, it was clearly intended as a positional move relative to Google’s “information wants to be free” approach to the market. The...



Unbalanced Scorecards, Please

2005-11-07T06:23:15-08:00

I recently had an opportunity to address the attendees at a Balanced Scorecard conference, and I was once again reminded of how important the right metrics are to driving effective execution and, specifically, how distorting a purely financial set of...



Dell, Meet Darwin

2005-11-06T09:30:51-08:00

One of the prime tenets of Dealing with Darwin is that established enterprises must pursuer a single vector of innovation so intently as to leave their competitors behind. No company better exemplifies this strategy than Dell in the 90s and...



Product, System, Solution? Not Exactly.

2005-11-01T09:51:39-08:00

Large engineering-driven product enterprises like Cisco, Intel, and Microsoft are all struggling these days with the competing demands of three business models—product, system, and solution. All three rose to economic prominence on the back of a core set of products...



Misusing Product Innovation?

2005-11-01T09:49:52-08:00

In the innovation types model we make a big deal of selecting an innovation that is appropriate to the maturity of the market category you are addressing. Product innovation, as opposed to enhancement innovation, is called out as a high-risk,...



Line Extension Innovation on Broadway

2005-11-01T09:48:51-08:00

Recently The Wall Street Journal had a nice piece on "How 'Wicked' Cast Its Spell,” showing how the Broadway musical business is taking a page out of Hollywood’s business playbook by using line extensions to monetize a media asset. The...



Rethinking innovation

2005-11-01T09:47:17-08:00

One of the more annoying aspects of intellectual life is when a good idea gets so popular it becomes over-invoked to the point that you want to ban it from public use. Such is the current fate of innovation. Most...



Enter Darwin

2005-11-01T09:46:11-08:00

have a new book coming out in January about the themes in this blog. Its full title is Dealing with Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate At Every Phase of Their Evolution When people hear about it, the first question they...



Why This Blog?

2005-11-01T09:44:18-08:00

This is a blog about what it will take for American businesses to be successful in the 21st century. In my view, global competitive dynamics, for the first time in my memory, no longer favor U.S. enterprises. The favored economies...