Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Customers Determine Innovation

A tiny item in the April 3 WSJ on Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn offers a big insight on the future of vehicles and the current 'green energy' movement. Asked about how Nissan plans to compete with the diesel, gas/electric hybrid or or hydrogen-powered engines -- especially given Toyota and Honda's leadership -- Ghosn replied "At the end, we don't decide, the customers decide."

Despite all the technology promise, if the buyer doesn't buy it, there's a fundamental problem. The lesson is that consumer education (marketing) and plenty of other 'things' have to change for innovation to succeed over the status quo. Some are external and beyond your control (in this case gasoline prices, ecological concerns) but the window of opportunity has to be open. Then you can create the right circumstances and be ready to capitalize.

What are you driving at? And what sort of engine does it have?

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