In the 20th century corporate skunk works® were used to develop disruptive innovation separate from the rest of the company. They were the hallmark of innovative corporations.
By the middle of the 21st century the only companies with skunk works will be the ones that have failed to master continuous innovation. Skunk works will be the signposts of companies that will be left behind.
Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, “Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage.” Entrepreneurs seek out problems then design innovative, profitable solutions.
Founded by two Harvard Business School grads, Bundle Organics offers a line of organic prenatal juices made specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding women. I got a chance to ask the founders how they identified and built such a fast-growing business in this unusual “white space.” What they shared can help you find your next big growth opportunity.
It may sound boring, operational, and tactical, but your distribution plan is perhaps your greatest opportunity to magnify the potential of your business. If strategy is the answer to who, what, and how, we spend too much time debating our “who” and “what,” and we give the “how” insufficient credit.
Putting Strategic back into Strategic Planning
In the last article of this series, we started covering the shortcomings of the strategic planning process (SPP). We said that a fast-changing environment, often referred to as strategic acceleration or heightened rate of competition, is detrimental to the strategic aspects of the typical SPP.
The FIFA World Cup is a great example of best-in-class brands who are trying to make an impression. This event is far more than a game that occurs every four years; it is a multi-layered event that attracts key advertisers vying for real estate on packaged items that range from Coca-Cola to Gillettte razors. The best of the best, sparing no efforts to gain the public’s attention.
Serial entrepreneur Bernee Strom has built a career thinking ahead in fast-moving markets, from electronics to television. She has served or is serving on the boards of companies like Benchmark Electronics, Hughes Electronics/ DirectTV, and Polaroid and is now the Chairman & CEO of WebTuner (www.webtuner.tv), a company that may transform how we access TV. So when we got chance to ask her how she does it, we jumped. Here is what she she had to say.
From a bright white conference room at Macmillan, we saw clouds forming. The tween romance book segment was expanding, creating an opportunity of enormous potential for Macmillan’s children’s publishing division. But self-published authors in this genre were growing in popularity, making it more difficult for traditional publishers to convince great writers to sign with them.
An entrepreneur who has launched 19 companies, and created over 50 million human life years as a result, shares his approach to recognizing opportunities.
It seems to me it all comes down to this moment: it’s 5:30a.m., and while I write, shivering in a still-cold house, my kids are warming my bed, which they stumbled into last night. When the world is calling you back to sleep, how do you know the opportunity you keep waking up for is the right one?
Call me crazy for asking, but is business model innovation really anything new? Hasn’t it always been that those willing to explore creative ways to create and collect value amassed more wealth than those who stuck to the obvious?