Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Center for Simplified Strategic Planning - "The Easy way to Innovate is - the Hard way!" - by Robert W. Bradford is a pretty interesting piece. More on the business strategy side of the equation, Robert essentially says that you shouldn't just look at "easy" innovations in order to build up a competitive advantage. Easy innovation encourage the commoditization of the innovation as everyone strives to catch up and improve on it. The only time this won't happen is when competitors don't copy innovations. Why?
1) They are unable to copy it - barriers to entry in terms of lack of resources, vision, understanding, etc
2) They choose not to - maybe they don't see it paying off
3) They are prevented from copying it - patents, etc
4) The competitor copies the innovation weakly due to lack of focus

So he suggests the following guidelines when choosing which innovations to follow and how your innovation strategy should be directed:

1) Choose innovations wisely - look for stuff that your competitors cannot or would choose not to copy
2) Prefer complex, difficult innovations to easy ones
3) Play up the difficulties and play down the payoff of your innovations - at least publicly
4) Spend the time and money required to prevent imitations - secure IP rights, etc.

All interesting stuff - and certainly worth a read for those with a more strategical mindset to innovation.

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