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Microsoft is famous for its back story of a couple of nerds who changed personal computing for the entire world. They went from a few thousand dollars in revenue to$70 billion in revenue each year. They must have been innovative to accomplish such a feat and have $77 billion in the bank. They just spent $7 billion of that hard earned cash to buy Nokia's Devices & Services business.
READ MY LIPS - WE ARE INNOVATIVE
Then, why did they have to point out not once, but twice about innovation in their full page ad on the back page of Section A in the Wall Street Journal? Here are the two quotes with emphasis and commentary added by me.
"By bringing together these great teams together, Microsoft will be able to deliver more choices and faster innovation to consumers in phones and smart devices of all kinds"
I thought a couple of years ago that Microsoft gave billions of dollars to Nokia and its CEO Stephen Elop (a former Microsoft executive) to accomplish the task already. Microsoft and Nokia were already joined at the hip as partners when Nokia gave up its own operating system in favor of Windows.
Staples has the "Easy Button." Perhaps, Mr. Elop has the "Innovation Button."
"Together, we will create more unified development, manufacturing, and marketing efforts to bring innovation to market with greater efficiency and speed."
The market did not think so, and erased 4.6% of Microsoft's share price after the announcement. That decline in share price pretty much wiped out the nice bump in Microsoft shares after CEO Steve Ballmer indicated he would retire within 12 months.
A THIRD EXAMPLE OF PUTTING YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS
Ballmer went on to say in a Wall Street Journal story on the same day,"For us to really fulfill the vision for what we can do for our customers, we have evolved our thinking."
Very recently Ballmer announced the "devices and services" approach at Microsoft after a major reorganization of the 100,000 person company (now 132,000 after Nokia acquisition). Sounds like he is going all in for devices. Other than the X Box gaming device, Microsoft does not have a successful record creating hardware. See Surface Tablet and Microsoft's recent $900 million write off for unsold inventory.
You need an Innovation Engine to help create an ecosystem of innovation. You cannot decree it, you must work hard to create it.
Your turn. Tell me what you think. Please comment below.
- Does your business have a culture and climate of innovation?
- What is the most innovative new product or service your company has created in the last 5 years?
- Do you feel that Microsoft and Nokia can out innovate Google's Android platform and Apple's iPhone platform?
A place of inertia; indecision, inability to act or move forward, fear of the unknown, not enough information or knowledge, resistance, a lack of direction or clarity. We've all been there at some level, at some point, be it professional, organizational, health, investments, relationships or a major purchase.
Implementing sustainable innovation in your organization where there is resistance to change is a lot like changing your diet and adopting a regular exercise program for healthier lifestyle. It makes sense, everyone sees benefits, but implementation is frustrating - our habits may not be the healthiest, but we know them and have a comfort level. We live with them daily and the surprise factor is small, until they catch up with us and a crisis ensues. In hindsight our flawed thinking and outdated strategy become glaring, and the "fix" more difficult if not improbable.
To make any type of significant progress, first there must be intent to change. Resources must be found, and time committed. The principles are fairly basic and simple, but do they all apply to you? Change demands you let go of something or take a chance in order to effect a change, which may or may not ultimately prove beneficial if you choose carelessly or hastily - change always brings risk of injury or loss as well as possibility for great benefit; two sides of the same coin.
- The issue which requires change first needs to be clearly observed and defined - critically look in the mirror and acknowledge it's time to move beyond torpor and procrastination and become more flexible, nimble, defined and stronger.
- Strategy must be timely and align with existing structure and goals - be realistic about your resources and mindset.
- Assess your options, initially scrutinizing all seemingly viable avenues, seeking other opinions and recommendations from diverse conventional and unconventional sources.
- With intent, goal, and commitment in mind, begin to design your sustainable program for ongoing organizational health.
Organizationally speaking, present barriers, opportunities, quantity and quality of knowledge, choices, focus, and risks, will define future possibilities and vision. This Contextual Canvas, is the landscape that ultimately gives rise to innovations. Expand the size of the canvas - increase your knowledge and awareness base for growth - and the probability of finding answers as to how or what is next arises.
OPPORTUNITES ARE JUST AROUND THE CORNER
Opportunities are already present within our organizations, just waiting to be discovered. Clarity is often lacking. Yet, clarity is only one half of the equation to reduce risk and uncertainty. Speed is the other half. Letting fear of risk define your innovation efforts is like snacking large at midnight - the weight goes on and more inertia sets in. Instead of playing it safe, "Play" with worthy ideas, big or small - dip the toe, eat the kale, run the 5K, experiment more and build on your insights, growing useful context.
In short, no matter the focus of your innovation, make innovation itself a core focus, with fast experimentation on a number of fronts. This will yield clarity about functional elements of your prospective solution.
Innovation requires strategic planning, alignment with core values and stakeholders, sufficient investment, continuous idea generation, continuity of effort, sustainability and above all, taking charge. Leadership commitment and skills are essential - to pursue your vision you must become proactive leaving passive acceptance of status quo behind, jumping into the lake with both feet, yet with awareness of where the shores lie, and swim like crazy.
Need more information, help or guidance? Visit our downloads page for great articles, videos and podcasts, or About Us for easy access to Strategy Development, Training & Workshops, and Customer-Centered Innovation.
Leadership role? Visit Innovation Tools.
Cathal Garvey’s home laboratory in Cork, Ireland, is filled with makeshift equipment. His incubator for bacteria is an old Styrofoam shipping box with a heating mat and thermometer that he has modified into a thermostat. He uses a pressure cooker to sterilize instead of an autoclave. Some instruments are fashioned from coffee cans.
One of the movement’s rallying points is Genspace, a nonprofit laboratory in Brooklyn that is open to members of the public, regardless of scientific background. Since it opened in 2010, on the seventh floor of an old bank building, similar labs have sprouted in Boston and San Francisco.
Genspace has roughly a dozen members, and each pays $100 a month to cover rent and what laboratory people call consumables: chemical agents, disposable tubes and other paraphernalia that need to be replaced regularly.
Source: New York Times
RAVENS have a bad reputation. Medieval monks, who liked to give names to everything (even things that did not need them), came up with “an unkindness” as the collective noun for these corvids. Blake Hannaford and his colleagues at the University of Washington, in Seattle, however, hope to change the impression engendered by the word. They are about to release a flock of medical robots with wing-like arms, called Ravens, in the hope of stimulating innovation in the nascent field of robotic surgery.
Robot-assisted surgery today is dominated by the da Vinci Surgical System, a device that scales down a surgeon’s hand movements in order to allow him to perform operations using tiny incisions. That leads to less tissue damage, and thus a quicker recovery for patients. Thousands of da Vincis have been made, and they are reckoned to be used in over 200,000 operations a year around the world, most commonly hysterectomies and prostate removals.
Source: The Economist
Google's YouTube plans to invest $100 million in professional production companies producing YouTube-only content beginning this month. Premiering Monday, Young Hollywood takes place on the ninth floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. The show's creators will produce programming for viewing on mobile devices, computers and Internet-connected TVs.
YouTube VP of Global Content Robert Kyncl announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) the first wave of YouTube channels from artists like CSI creator Anthony Zuiker and Deepak Chopra.
Within a few years, online video will contribute 90% to all online traffic; and by 2020, the Web will give birth to 75% of all media channels, Kyncl said, calling the Web a vehicle for distribution.
Source: MediaPost News - Online Media Daily
Twenty years ago, Zhongguancun was but farming fields and small houses, far from the city center of Beijing. The ‘cun’ at the end of Zhongguancun literally means “village.” As with much else in China, the change has come lightening fast.
Today, Zhongguancun is China’s closest equivalent to Silicon Valley. It’s host to electronics super malls, research centers, publicly-listed tech giants, and hundreds of startups. During my walk to work between twenty-story office towers, it’s hard to imagine this land was farmed but one short generation ago.
Here are three reasons why Zhongguancun (or the larger Haidian district) has grown into China’s top tech hub:
- Academic Hub
- Government and Media
- A Virtuous Cycle
The McKinsey Institute published the results of their fifth annual survey on how organizations use social technologies, it surveyed 4,200 executives to understand the developments and progress throughout the years and benefits of these social technology applications. They are being deployed for the purpose of process enhancements and operations. Secondly they’re being used to find new growth opportunities. Surprisingly, a large percentage of organizations did not maintain the benefits of using social technologies that they had achieved earlier.
Companies use social technologies to drive innovation and knowledge-sharing, but often do not sustain the momentum, according to a McKinsey survey. "Management needs to facilitate bottom-up ownership in order to let the organization innovate on processes with the multitude of available social technologies," Gianluigi Cuccureddu writes.
Source: InnovationManagement.se (Sweden)