We develop strategies for the enterprise or business cases for major initiatives; strategies that set your business apart and put you on the path to industry-leading results.
We develop strategies for the enterprise or business cases for major initiatives; strategies that set your business apart and put you on the path to industry-leading results.
Get ideas to market faster and drive innovation across the value chain to be more efficient and effective. Innovation that releases trapped value and delivers industry-leading results.
From purpose to performance, align the business to work that matters. Simplify processes, release passion, innovation and value creation to drive industry-leading results.
News & Featured Items
May 8, 2013 - Talk That Matters Beyond Just Taxes
Honestly, I just don't like to do it. Pay taxes. Nobody does. Except, of course, those few ultra rich who think they aren't quite paying enough. But they don't count. As for the rest of us in business or in our personal lives, we don't like paying taxes. I have no idea what you pay personally but businesses pay an average total tax rate of around 47% annually...
May 7, 2013 - Why Process Doesn't Matter
Imagine what it took for Leonardo da Vinci to produce just one painting. Really. Imagine it. Leonardo lived from 1452 to 1519, long before there were convenient painter supply stores a short walk or car ride away. Getting a canvas or panel ready for painting would have been a huge job considering sourcing, stretching, mounting, grounding and many other tasks only real painters know about...
April, 2013 - New Website Coming Soon!
We'll get back to blogging soon. We're working on a new website and it should be up and running shortly!
March 8, 2013 - Creating New Value at Mattel
Four of us from ThinkWay just completed an engagement with Mattel. We were able to create a lot of new value for them and help them change things to get better results. What a great, fun company to work with. Still a lot for them to do but they made great strides in a short amount of time.
October 22, 2012 - E2E™ Productivity Innovation Executive Summary
E2E™ productivity innovation is a proprietary methodology for filling your pipeline with an array of qualified savings opportunities above and beyond what you’re already doing. As businesses mature and processes become more entrenched, traditional continuous improvement approaches like lean and six sigma can start to dry up. E2E™ yields significant new opportunities...
October 19, 2012 - Four Forces Trapping Value & Blocking Innovation
I used to think it was just the company I worked for that had the problems but when I left and started my own agency, I found clients regardless of industry suffer the same problems. Things should be running more smoothly, but they’re not. Department leaders should be collaborating more, but they don’t. Results should be better, but they aren’t. And why can’t we be more innovative internally? Often it boils down to four common obstacles that trap value and block innovation.
October 2, 2012 - Small Business and the Coming Fiscal Cliff
Here’s a bleak but likely reality. It appears we’ll all be headed over the coming fiscal cliff regardless of the outcome of the upcoming elections. That means, according to the CBO, a 4% hit on the GDP, lower taxable incomes and higher unemployment. As a result, many including the CBO are predicting a recession in 2013...
September 26, 2012 - When To Change The Business Model
So, when should a senior leader consider changing their business model? Obvious answer: before it’s too late. See Blockbuster, Circuit City, Hostess and scores of others in the past few years. More realistic answer: it depends. The business model is the integrated system of people, process and resources all designed to create and deliver value for your customers and your business. Here are three things leaders need to look for to determine if the business model, or a part of the business model, needs change...
September 18, 2012 - Strategies for Driving Growth - Accelerate the Process
Most business leaders subscribe to the theory of first mover advantage: being first to market results in competitive advantages in sales and market share (#2 loses 25% of sales to #1), earnings (late to market cuts 5-year profitability by a third) and others. Just ask Samsung how it feels to be #2 behind the iPad or try going head to head with Lunchables in the kids carried lunch category that continues to bolster their #1 position with cool new product introductions...
September 14, 2012 - Ode To Those In Business In Tough Times
The economy and many other factors have taken their toll but take heart, all you in business working so hard to make a go of it. Check out these words from former President Teddy Roosevelt...
September 13, 2012 - Win Over Shoppers Through Low Risk Experimentation
Everyone (except your spell-check system) is probably aware by now of the astounding explosive growth of Pinterest (they’ve gone from around 600K unique visitors in June of 2011 to over 20M a little more than a year later). But are you there? Your target market probably is. Especially if your target market is higher than average income women age 25-54 with kids… exactly the demographic for Kraft Foods for example...
September 11, 2012 - Strategies for Driving Growth - Align the Portfolio
Businesses need to grow and when it comes to growth, new products are essential. Campbell Soup is hoping their new product portfolio will help them turn around a sagging soup category. However, as P&G is finding out, it takes more than line extensions or product reformulations. Most consumers don’t want more product features. It takes a steady stream of big innovations too. But research shows there are a great many companies struggling to align their portfolio to achieve growth...
September 6, 2012 - The Leadership Agenda for Shopper Marketing
Michael Porter, the famed professor of strategy at Harvard Business School, says strategy is deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value. To see this in action, one need look no further than Burberry who has completely remade themselves and is seeing double digit earnings growth. But how do you do this when it comes to shopper marketing? And will you do it? Here’s your agenda...
August 29, 2012 - Burberry-ize Campbell Soup?
Angela Ahrendts, CEO at Burberry, has led the reinvention of their 150-year-old brand through three core business design principles that drive everything. As a result, they are experiencing the rate of revenue and earnings growth you’d expect from an industry leader. Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company essentially wants to do a similar thing with their 140-year-old brand. Do the same business design principles apply?
August 22, 2012 - Burberry & The Digitization of Shopper Marketing
Think you can't take a stodgy, 150 year old brand and make it cool again? You'd be wrong. Take a look at what Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry has accomplished with her team. Driven by five strategies that have three core principles interwoven into everything they do. Remarkable...
August 20, 2012 - Doing Productivity Innovation: Conducting an E2E™ Assessment
As I’ve mentioned before, for many companies continuous improvement programs simply won’t be enough to handle the growing squeeze on margins. But what are companies to do? Well, stop paving the cow path. Instead, companies need to approach innovation in how they do business similar to the way they approach new product innovation. They need to...
August 15, 2012 - Innovators Like SnowShoe are Changing Shopper Marketing
I've written before about how CPG manufacturers and retailers need to redesign their approach to in-store marketing because they’re wasting millions of dollars. But many of them just don’t get it. And I understand. People running large corporations often hesitate to embrace innovation for a variety of both personal and business reasons even when CEO’s are looking for innovative leaders now more than ever before. But consumers are changing their shopping habits at the speed of… well, Moore’s Law...
August 14, 2012 - Cool Video about Toymaker Lego's Founding Entrepreneur
Lego put out a short animated video about it's 80 year history. Very interesting and worth the 17 minutes it takes to view it. Especially, interesting to see the tenacious, entrepreneurial spirit of the founder Ole Kirk Chritiansen.
August 13, 2012 - Is Your Business Just a Super H?
If you want to get better results today and be able to meet the challenges of tomorrow, then you can't depend on a business that was designed for yesterday. Yet that's the way many businesses operate...
August 10, 2012 - Productivity Beyond the Cow Path
I’ve spoken of the growing need for productivity innovation before. And with the drought’s impact on food commodity prices, the languishing economic indicators and the high likelihood of a recession beginning in early 2014, most businesses are going to be competing for share of wallet in a low growth environment. Let me reiterate another point: the traditional approach to continuous improvement (CI) is already insufficient and will be even more anemic going forward. Unfortunately, many companies don’t get this point...
August 10, 2012 - Hope for Helping the Homeless
I guess it's not surprising given the troubled condition of our economy that the number of homeless has grown so rapidly. This past summer, I conducted a needs assessment for The Salvation Army of La Crosse (WI). They provide temporary emergency food and shelter for the homeless and help them with transition resources. They're the only ones providing these services in northwest Wisconsin and the adjacent Minnesota area. Last year this small organization provided over 26,300 shelter nights...
August 9, 2012 - Turning Likes to Loans
As I mentioned in my last few email newsletters, I'm pretty skeptical about the value of having a Facebook page for my business. I have no idea how to monetize a "Like" for ThinkWay. But I have figured out a way to monetize a ThinkWay "Like" for someone else!
August 8, 2012 - The (Still) Coming Taxmegeddon
That's what David Leonhardt of the New York Times calls it. It's likely what's going to happen to us all while both political parties continue their dueling campaign obstinacy strategies. Here's the chart again from Business Insider...
August 8, 2012 - Newsflash: The Shopper Doesn't Even See Your Display
"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." So says Henry David Thoreau, American writer and philosopher. If Henry's got it right, what are the implications for the hundreds of millions, billions, of dollars spent on in store displays? Turns out the answer is: abysmal.
August 7, 2012 - Strategies for Driving Growth - Activate the Gates
As economic pressures build, leaders are increasingly dependent on their innovation process to drive growth and close revenue and earnings gaps. So, they climb into the driver's seat only to find there are no gauges on the instrument panel, the gas and brake pedals don't work and the steering wheel spins like it's not even attached to the wheels. To take control and drive growth, leaders...
July 31, 2012 - The Power of Occasion Based Shopper Marketing
People love a good reason to celebrate. Nearly 60% of Americans say they plan to watch a "great deal" or "fair amount" of the Olympics. Australians say they'll spend $2.7 billion (USD) on Olympic parties. Add in 6 or 7 annual occasions and you have the makings of retail opportunity...
July 30, 2012 - Battling the Squeeze on Margins
Will businesses be able to depend on traditional formulas for success in these margin-squeezing times: price up to cover rising input costs, spend back in marketing to manage elasticities, roll out new products to fill the leaky revenue bucket and drive some top-line growth, and lean on the operations group for even greater productivity to close the gaps in the P&L? Without a change somewhere in the system, why would this formula produce a different answer?
July 20, 2012 - Live Blogging Day 3 From Shopper Insights in Action Conference
July 19, 2012 - Live Blogging Day 2 From Shopper Insights in Action Conference
July 18, 2012 - Live Blogging Day 1 From Shopper Insights in Action Conference
July 13, 2012 - Feeling the Pain - More Reasons for I2M
This infographic confirms what I've been saying and also confirms the efficacy of the three I2M strategies. Notice the pain points: too many projects, not getting to market fast enough, poor decisioning, balancing priorities...
July 10, 2012 - Getting Ideas to Market
Regardless of who you are, if you don’t have a rich pipeline of ideas to create new value to grow your business and the wherewithal to bring them to market effectively, efficiently and fast, you’re headed for trouble. Yet, many companies haven’t taken the time or energy to design their process for strategic, holistic management to achieve competitive advantage, let alone achieve top quartile results from it. Here are three strategies that can yield industry-leading results.
July 9, 2012 - Shopper Insights in Action 2012
I'm very excited to once again be invited to attend and provide coverage for the 12th Annual Shopper Insights in Action conference sponsored by IIR USA next week in Chicago. And since I'm on the conference's Speaker Review Board I can tell you they have a terrific lineup including Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A's and subject of the cool movie Moneyball; Darren Marshall, VP Global Shopper Development at Coca Cola...
June 26, 2012 - AHF Part 3: Growth Comes When Leaders Differentiate
Differentiating a value proposition is different than differentiating a product. A value proposition is the promise of the whole bundle of benefits; not just the product attributes. It’s like those toothpaste commercials. They differentiate their product based on it’s whitening power, but what about the “sexy smile” stuff?...
June 19, 2012 - AHF Part 2: Successful Businesses Know the Consumer
All consumers buy benefits. There’s a hierarchy to the benefits as seen in the benefit ladder. If I buy a Rolex watch, I’m not just buying the functional, physical product attributes (e.g., watch face with numbers and hands, glass protective cover, silver and gold band, self-winding, date function, brand logo, etc.). I’m buying...
June 15, 2012 - Bigger, Better, Fewer, Faster - Getting Ideas to Market
I'm preparing another overview of Idea to Market (I2M™) to share with companies in the food industry. If you don't know what I2M™ is, it's the route ideas take to get through the value creation funnel and get monetized in the marketplace: New Product Development, Commercialization, Innovation, lots of names for it. In most companies, it's an expansive process with tentacles everywhere...
June 13, 2012 - Authentic Home Furnishings Part 1: Great Leaders Adapt
Last Monday night, June 11, I was honored to unveil the newly renamed and repositioned Authentic Home Furnishings Association (formerly Unfinished Furniture Association). This small segment of the furniture industry represents several hundred independent retailers and manufacturers across the country all of whom, along with the rest of the furniture industry, have had a rough go of it the last several years. The keynote provided...
May 30, 2012 - Positioning for Growth in the Furniture Industry
There have been some nice articles the last few days in Furniture Today® and Furniture World covering ThinkWay's work and the upcoming Unfinished Furniture Association trade show event in Orlando, FL June 11-13. I'll be there Monday night, June 11 to share the results of the industry analysis and repositioning recommendations...
May 25, 2012 - The First Annual McMasters
Check this out! Coming June 3!
May 24, 2012 - The Growing Need for Supply Chain Innovation
I've been saying this in my presentations to supply chain leaders: from mid-sized businesses to Fortune 100 companies and I've written about the insufficiency of continuous improvement here. Now Gartner releases data to confirm the growing concern.
May 24, 2012 - Crude vs. Pump Pricing Revisited
April 18, 2012 - ThinkWay Launches First YouTube Video
April 12, 2012 - Arnie's Good Choices, Tiger's Bad Choices and a Hero at The Masters
Lessons in leadership from the Masters...
April 11, 2012 - Apple: World's Best Value Creation Engine?
March 12, 2012 - Five Reasons to Attend Chick-fil-A Leadercast-Madison
We're hosting a live simulcast of Chick-fil-A Leadercast on May 4, 2012 at the auditorium of American Family Insurance. You can get more information here but in the meantime, here are five good reasons you need to attend.
March 8, 2012 - Oreo Turns 100
So, the leading brand of cookie on the planet has a birthday. Woohoo! Happy birthday, Oreo! 100 years of twist, lick and dunk... lots of great memories for us and great brand equity for Kraft.
March 2, 2012 - Lady Garmin, The Furniture Industry & Leadership
We have one of those GPS units for our car that tells you every turn you need to make to get where you’re going. We call the voice “Lady Garmin”. And she works great until you get to a place where the roads have changed and the maps haven’t been updated. Then you get totally annoyed by Lady Garmin’s incessant “recalculating”. Business has gotten a lot like this. A great many of the roadmaps that have been used in the past no longer apply. And repeatedly “recalculating” doesn’t work either.
January 30, 2012 - Press Release: ScheduleSoft® Announces Platinum Sponsorship of CFA Madison
Madison, WI, January 30, 2012 - ScheduleSoft® is pleased to be a sponsor of the 2012 Chick-fil-A® Leadercast®, one of the largest events of its kind broadcasting world-renowned content to hundreds of locations around the world. This one of a kind...
January 26, 2012 - Press Release: World-Renowned Leaders Simulcast to Madison
MADISON, WI—Community business leaders can access the knowledge and experience of world‐renowned leaders by attending Chick‐fil‐A® Leadercast® at American Family headquarters in Madison on May 4, 2012.
January 11, 2012 - Revisiting Positioning
Clearly the game of business has changed. Sellers are experiencing heightened sensitivity about what constitutes value in the minds of buyers… any buyers, whether you’re selling B2B or B2C. So, positioning your value proposition in the minds of those buyers, your customers, has become even more important than ever before
December 21, 2011 - One More Strategy for a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
November 17, 2011 - Lady Gaga, Business Models & Disruptive Innovation
October 12, 2011 - The Insufficiency of Continuous Improvement & Most Innovation
September 20, 2011 - Design Attracts, Story Connects
September 20, 2011 - New Thinking, Outstanding Execution and the Awesome Power of Influence
September 14, 2011 - Revisiting the Great Twinkie Spill of '67
September 8, 2011 - Aligning to the Path to Purchase Satisfaction
September 1, 2011 - Conferences & Curing the Emotional Vacuity of Brands
August 25, 2011 - Paths, Moments & Strategies to Satisfy Consumers
August 22, 2011 - The Squire of Gothos: Why Change Management Fails
August 18, 2011 - The New Disruptive Strategies of Private Brands
August 9, 2011 - Industry-Level Redesign: Will They Ever Reinvent the Dairy Aisle?
August 3, 2011 - Private Brands & The Recession Opportunity
July 29, 2011 - ThinkWay in New Relationship with ReWiring Business
July 20, 2011 - Wisconsin's Leaky Jobs Bucket
July 13, 2011 - Forging a New Ring of Power in Shopper Marketing
July 12, 2011 - Conquering Marketing's Troublesome Triad
July 12, 2011 - Campbell's and Influential Moments
July 11, 2011 - Insights for More Growth at Red Bull
July 11, 2011 - Special Forces, Business Design and Best Buy
July 11, 2011 - GameStop, Call of Duty, Loyalty and Business Transformation
July 8, 2011 - Scariest Jobs Chart Revisited
July 7, 2011 - Learning and Success
June 29, 2011 - Working Harder But Going Slower
June 22, 2011 - The Other Side of Consumer Loyalty
June 16, 2011 - Thinner Wallets = New Behaviors: Adjust or Lose
June 6, 2011 - Lessons From Angry Birds
I’m still on the first level (not a big-time gamer) and I’m not really much further into Level 1 than my 3-year old granddaughter... but... There’s a lot that can be learned from a few Angry Birds.
June 1, 2011 - Continued Slow Growth for Consumer Products Companies?
June 1, 2011 - Design to Speak to the A.D.D. Consumer
May 25, 2011 - Making In-Store Marketing Dollars Go Further
May 18, 2011 - The Sounds of Peak Performance
May 17, 2011 - Tune-Ups, Overhauls and Peak Performance
May 12, 2011 - The Odd Trap of Incremental Growth and Productivity
May 5, 2011 - Crude Pricing vs. Price at the Pump
May 4, 2011 - Technology, Social Media and New Moments of Truth
May 3, 2011 - GMCC Business Expo: Creating Opportunities for Growth