How to Inspire Transformation and Innovation

How do workers respond when they hear the announcement of a restructuring initiative (or any other major transformational effort for that matter) designed to “grow revenues through better innovation” or “cut costs by trimming the workforce” or “shuttering manufacturing plants to generate cash for reinvestment” or refocus on “creating value” by outsourcing “non-core” parts of […]

The Hidden Secret to Creating a Culture of Innovation

Mature businesses tend to suffer from the same issue when it comes to innovation: inertia. Said another way, they have a hard time breaking away from the status quo. Consequently they continue to orbit around their core product portfolio developing little more than the equivalent of the next flavor of Jell-O. Which means results continue […]


Restructuring, Innovation, & The Problem of Agreement

Restructuring has become a common practice in business across the globe. In 2014 alone, dozens and dozens of companies in the Fortune 500 announced restructurings and major layoffs. Most will fall victim to hidden flawed restructuring assumptions that will cost them the very things they need to stimulate growth and get back on track. But […]


Designers, PLM, and the Problem of Change

In only one brief interview with a new product creative designer, it became clear the consumer products company was going to have significant problems with a strategic transformation. Hearing the reactions of senior leaders to the anonymous interview results only confirmed suspicions: they were on track for failure. It was a high priority strategic initiative […]


Eliminating A Bias to Failure in Innovation and Strategic Initiatives

It doesn’t really matter what it is: innovation and bringing ideas to market, buying and integrating an acquisition, IT initiatives, restructuring, new marketing programs, reinventing the supply chain, or you name it. From the get-go, large and small initiatives are almost all biased to fail and will not achieve their original objectives. And that’s a […]


What To Do With Mediocre Innovation

Several of the businesses in two of my favorite industries had disappointing earnings releases over the past couple of weeks. They did pretty well in emerging markets, where their portfolio of products are “new”, but most of them struggled to grow in developed countries. And although they have plans to go after additional cost reductions […]


Work That Matters for Innovation

Most everyone is familiar with the Pareto Principle named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian engineer and economist. Basically the Pareto principle states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. And this is especially true of the innovation process. But unfortunately, most CPGs haven’t taken the time to sort through their […]


Google, Three Forces Blocking Innovation, & What To Do About It

A  Forbes article talks about the new rules in place for Google’s 20% Time; the time they give employees every week to work on new innovations. And I agree they needed to put some structure around it to align with strategy. Makes sense. Everyone knows the success rate of new products is extremely low. Businesses […]

Driving Innovation & Industry Leadership in CPG with IT Strategy

Strategy isn’t just about being better than the competition. It’s about being different; something that eludes most consumer products businesses. I’ll come right out and say it so you can decide if you want to read on: It’s high time for IT and CIOs to play a major strategic role in differentiating consumer products companies […]


CEOs, Innovation, and Risk-Aversion

Innovation is the lifeblood of every business. Yet, one of the most common excuses a CEO hears when people try to explain why the company isn’t coming up with any significant innovations is, “We’re just too risk-averse.” To which, the most common response from a CEO is, “Tell me which big idea I didn’t fund.” […]

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