Monday, June 18, 2007

Yahoo CEO Terry Semel Resigns

A little disruptive consumer intelligence could go a long way to helping Yahoo tackle and topple google. Unfortunately, incumbent resources are wed to "specially designed" methods of gathering and measuring data. No one told them that you can't measure or "quantify" success into existence.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

New on Heads Up! On Organizational Innovation

Joyce Wycoff an innovation igniter ignited me (no pun intended) to think about a conversation I had with the head of HR at Adidas - the running shoe company - the other day. Read Joyces piece. Here were my thoughts to her.

"Bottle Neck" is an interesting term. Where does it begin and how does it snuff out innovation?
I was in an interesting conversation with the head of HR at Adidas the other day. He'd just returned from a conference of HR professionals discussing how to innovate in HR. The net net conclusion was that there is no recruiting innovation because all of these companies sort and sift talent the same way. When you get right down to it (for example) a vice president in marketing puts in a request for a marketing director to be hired who has very similar credentials as the requestor. Intellectual incest insues and innovation in the company grinds to a halt. Like a trend that starts on the east or west coast - what's "new" takes 20 years to emerge in the midwest.
Genetically speaking, hiring someone completely different would strengthen the genetic gene and innovation pool because a quant-jock can't measure innovation, creativity or invention into existance. It takes a gregarious process, not someone professing writing some ideas in a box, and others outside the box.

Yet, insanity prevails. What's the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Certainly (in a Matrix - Keannu Reeves sort of way) companies can claim to innovate. But in reality (what the don't or don't want to see), they more often converge on the same positions as rivals saying and executing essentially the same things their own ways with the slices of difference so small as to be measurably inconsequential in the business world. You can redesign a running shoe, you can turn a mop into a Swiffer, but at the end of the day, you have not sold an incrementally greater number of mops or running shoes. So what innovation was there? Making the old look new takes a lot of effort for sure. Pat yourself on the back for putting an old product through plastic surgery. But don't give yourself a reward. Since neither increased margins (GMROI) or market share there were no gains. So this innovation was a toothless tiger.

People over use the word innovation. Like Clara Peller said in the old Wendy's Hamburger ads, "Where's the beef?"