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This week, we convened innovation heads from places like Chubb Insurance, Estee Lauder and Macmillan and mixed them with a world-renowned innovation expert (Professor George Day from Wharton) and one of the leaders of GE’s Crotonville leadership training center (Bob Cancalosi). Over four hours, they teased apart our shared challenge: how to unlock innovativeness, entrepreneurship, and growth trapped inside organizations.

While the conversation generated more questions than answers, one key became clear – if you want your organization to grow through internal innovation, you need discipline.

We are not talking about the rigorous, centralized processes, the funnels of ideas and sequences of filters, that corporate innovation groups apply in an attempt to manufacture growth ideas. We are talking about the kind of discipline great musicians and artists practice. The individual who can explore aimlessly on one end and yet be rigorously selective on the other, ensuring each piece qualifies as a masterpiece. We are talking about Beethoven obsessing over exactly which notes to allow onto his score and Shakespeare ruthlessly removing every extraneous word from his prose.

Having lots of ideas leads to spreading yourself too thin, as the Lego Group found painfully true in 2005. Its revenue went from flat to declining, even though it was building an impressive lineup of new businesses – LEGO-branded clothing, education centers, amusement parks, video games – and even though it had tripled its number of stores. More innovation does not lead to more growth.

Unless your idea engine is also matched with a disciplined selection process that enables you to de-root the weeds to give light to the more precious species, your innovation engine will not bear fruit.

In 2005, the Lego Group changed its approach. It applied discipline to its innovation capacity. It maintained, perhaps even turned up, its idea-generation capability but directed it with a clear growth strategy, fueled it with resources, and cultivated it with a rigorous selection process.

The result? Revenue quintupled in eight years, to more than 25b Danish krone in 2013 from just 5b in 2005.

You too can introduce such discipline, the discipline of great artists. You just need to ask three questions of your ideas:

  1. Is it real?
  2. Will we win?
  3. Is it worth it?
“8Ps” of StrategyOpportunity
for Disruption
Recommended Leverage Points
Position- The farmers, individual and corporate, that you are targeting.

- The need of the agricultural industry that you seek to fill.
3- What technologies do you control that can help you tap into market
segments that you previously thought unreachable?

- What are the potential business alliances you could think about with key players in the segment to serve your customers with integrated solutions? (Serving customers with more integrated solutions example: serving farmers with fertilizers, crop protection and other).
Product- The products you offer, and the characteristics that affect their value to customers.

- The technology you develop for producing those products.
8- What moves are your organization taking to implement Big Data and analytics to your operations? What IoT and blockchain applications can you use?

- What tools and technology could you utilize or develop to improve food quality, traceability, and

- How can you develop a more sustainable production model to accommodate constraints on arable

- What is the future business model needed to serve new differentiated products to your customers?
Promotion- How you connect with farmers and consumers across a variety of locations and industries.
- How to make consumers, producers, and other stakeholders aware of your products and services.
8- How are you connecting your product with individual and corporate farms who could utilize it?
- How could you anticipate market and customer needs to make customers interested in accessing your differentiated products?
PriceHow consumers and other members of the agricultural supply chain pay for access to agricultural products.7- What elements of value comprise your pricing? How do each of those elements satisfy the varying needs of your customers?
Placement- How food products reach consumers. How the technologies, data, and services reach stakeholders in the supply chain.9- What new paths might exist for helping consumers access the food they desire?
- How are you adapting your operations and supply chain to accommodate consumers’ desire for proximity to the food they eat?
- How could you anticipate customer expectation to make products more
accessible to customers/agile supply chain?
- Have you considered urbanization as a part of your growth strategy?
- How your food satisfies the needs and desires of your customer.
- How the services you provide to agribusiness fulfill their needs.
9- Where does your food rate on a taste, appearance, and freshness
- Could the services you provide to companies and farms in the agriculture industry be expanded to meet more needs?
- What senses does your food affect besides hunger? How does your
customer extract value from your food in addition to consumption?
Processes- Guiding your food production operations in a manner cognizant of social pressure.8- How can you manage the supply chain differently to improve traceability and reduce waste?
- How can you innovate systems in production, processing, storing, shipping, retailing, etc.?
- What are new capabilities to increase sustainability (impact on the environment, or ESG) components?
People- The choices you make regarding hiring, organizing, and incentivizing your people and your culture.- How are you leveraging the agricultural experience of your staff bottom-up to achieve your vision?
- How do you anticipate new organizational capabilities needed to perform your future strategy (innovation, exponential technologies needed, agile customer relationship, innovative supply chain)?
- How do you manage your talents to assure suitable development with exposure in the agrifood main challenges/allowing a more sustainable view of the opportunities/cross-sectors?