The Guru’s Have it All Wrong: Scott Anthony on Innovating On A Shoestring

I have noticed that many companies sourced as noble examples of innovation or greatness in some realm by guru’s seldom measure up. A year or so later we discover their successes were built upon unsustainable premises. Certainly, Lehman Brothers, Worldom and Enron come to mind. But there are countless others. For example, look at the companies listed in Jim Collins “Good to Great.” or alternative those in this Scott Anthony video. Does that imply there aren’t good examples? Yes and no. What it does imply is that many companies haven’t a clue. Nor do the gurus. Perhaps that is why they essentially say the same things year after year, book after book. Also why 85% of people never get beyond the 15th page of the books they claim to read.

Moreover, darn it, innovation as become a science when all it is, is as Dilbert put it, “Making stuff people want and not making stuff they don’t.” Nokia spent a great deal of money and time on innovation. They did not fare well. Also Motorola and Blackberry. Proctor and Gamble noted in the video is having their problems.

The point is there is no such thing as sustainable advantages in a world of perpetual uncertainty and immense complexity. The moment an innovation becomes innovative it is copied. Which is silly to benchmark an innovation. Doing so to obsolesce your competitor is one thing. To measure your companies resources on this is absurd.

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Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website

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Posted in Leadership, Small Business

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