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Outside-In Equals Success

by Doug Davidoff | May 9, 2007 1:06:05 PM

The new book Hidden In Plain Sight: How To Find And Execute Your Company's Next Big Growth Strategy provides some useful insights. The book take an interesting look at the ways companies successfully innovate as well as the ways they fail. I've just started the book, so I can't speak to it completely - it's off to a great start. I'd like to share a couple of points that deserve an 'amen':

  • If a company is to truly hit the spot with innovation time and again with any consistency, it must:

    • Understand the people it is trying to serve as the individuals they are - apart from any connection or interaction with the company.

    • It must know how to go beyond its own perimeters of products,markets and competencies; let go of and challenge the assumptions, common practices and golden rules of doing business still held today; and go beyond what it has learned from consumers.

    • See itself "from the outside in" and formulate strategies around people's behaviors, not just seek to satisfy consumer needs and wants or customer requirements.

    • This is not easy. But it need not be terribly difficult.

  • As Henry Ford once acidly noted, "If I had asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me they wanted a faster horse.

While these two points focus on successfully innovating, anyone who doesn't think they are pertinent to their business needs to understand that the failure to successfully innovate condemns one to commoditization status - and that is not good for profitability or growth.