“Catering To Past Patterns of Power”

What a great way to sum up one of the key roadblocks to successful innovation. I heard this term used by Robert Johnson while speaking with Bill Moyers about fixing the international banking crisis. (Johnson is currently serving on the U.N. Commission recommending reforms for the international monetary and financial system.)  It was a warning, a fear, an observation of how politics tends to work. And a reminder that the higher the stakes the more forcefully past patterns of power try to assert themselves – no matter what system is being re-engineered. Past Patterns Of Power have several things going for them that innovation does not –  Security – “Hey, It’s always worked this way before.” Money – Both money too lose and money to donate. Changing systems means changing fortunes. Momentum – If the herd is stampeding North, and you want to take a jog to the West – well, it … Continue reading

A Reminder Of Key Principles | Inside Drucker’s Brain

I’ve read a lot of Peter F. Drucker over the years, so it’s nice to find a great distillation of his ideas in one place.  Just finished Inside Drucker’s Brain by Jeffrey A. Krames and it is full of gems to remind us of Drucker’s no nonsense style. For business wonks who have never read Drucker directly, you will find the concepts he developed very familiar. For those of us who have – it is a great, short summary of his evergreen concepts. The management concepts he talks about can be eye-opening for you no matter where you live in an organization. Life and Death Decisions — For Drucker, the most important Life and Death decisions are people decisions. Who to promote, who to fire/demote, and each manager’s scope of responsibility. After people decisions came the priority decisions on resource allocation. Executive management likes to think that they control the really … Continue reading

Building Half A Bridge

Sometimes your product category faces foundational shifts that turn the Marketer’s Gap of Despair into a chasm. (The Gap is that uncomfortable place where consumers can not be motivated to action by any real feature of your product.) At this point the chasm is so easy to see that agreeing to build a bridge is simple. (Newspapers, combustion engines, pay phones, buggy whips…) Trouble starts about halfway across. That’s when your entire organization gets their most frightening view of what happens if you build the bridge poorly. The chasm is deep and unforgiving. So what happens?   We try to turn back. We sabotage innovation to keep old categories and cash flows alive, just a little bit longer. We grab ‘safety’ lines that pull us in all sorts of directions. (This being a bridge – direction counts) We stop. Then somebody else sets up shop where we were going. They push back … Continue reading

Successful Entrepreneurs – Bananas or Bouquets?

Bananas on my mind.  Sorry. In these trying times its always good to be reminded of the successful among us.  It will either inspire you or tick you off, either way it gets the blood flowing to those extremities that don’t appreciate the thermostat set to 65. Entrepreneur.com covers four well known rule breakers you should have already heard about.  So what’s the best way to create a successful company? Break a paradigm, nudge it, or simply copy it?  We hear a lot about the innovators who change the world. But the majority of transactions are done by companies that are in the business of copying existing business models.  Life’s safer that way.  Because we all know that for every inspiring story of success there are hundreds of failure that provide a chuckle or a lesson — because who could possibly imagine THAT idea would work? (It’s always stupid, till it’s not.) We’re back … Continue reading