Customer Driven Innovation Purpose/Vision/Culture

Gary Hamel and Innovation

The third in our blog series on “influencers” of PGS and our products features a slightly more controversial management “guru”, Gary Hamel. We enthusiastically read about and integrated Hamel‘s work on innovation in his book Leading the Revolution, published in 2000.

Unfortunately, shortly after its publication, Mr. Hamel’s star dimmed a bit. He had used Enron’s innovative work as a key example in his book, only to have the company disintegrate into bankruptcy a year later. However, we chose not to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”. Leading the Revolution had some excellent tools and insights that became and have stayed an integral part of our Vision Navigation® (VN) strategic planning process.

innovation sign

During the first phase of VN, we ask clients to view their strategic environment through the lens of innovation. What is happening with your customers and competitors? What are changes in the political, economic or demographic picture? Where are the up and coming technological advances? Answer those questions, then ask, how can we look at these differently, i.e., innovatively, to create new customer demand, expand our product line, differentiate ourselves from our competition, etc.? I.e., how can we innovate to make the most of a changing situation?

The answers, we found, provided a much richer strategic assessment from which an organization can develop its projects to grow the organization and build a solid strategic plan. Therefore, we have continued to incorporate Gary Hamel’s ideas on innovation as a piece of our Vision Navigation® process. We also focus on innovation, and apply some of his concepts, in our process improvement work with clients – specifically, when teams are tasked to develop a breakthrough concept in their process.

How can you use Gary Hamel’s work in your organization? We suggest you read his book Leading the Revolution to get the full scope of how innovation can build your organization. In the meantime, you can ask some questions that get at innovation and how you can integrate it into your organization. Here are just a few of the many he covers in his book.

  • Do we have a business mission that is sufficiently distinguished from the missions of others companies in our industry?
  • What do we know that is a) unique, b) valuable to customers, and c) transferable to new opportunities (to grow our organization)?
  • What are our critical processes, those that create the most value for customers and are competitively unique? Are we improving these processes?
  • Could we offer customers something closer to a “total solution” to their needs by expanding our definition of product scope?
  • Are there types of customers that have been generally ignored by companies in our industry?

Thoughts? Drop us an e-mail with your questions and/or experiences with innovation. As always, we would enjoy getting in conversation with you. And if you missed our first two blog posts on “Who Gave you that Idea?”, you can find them in our blog archives.

Bill Dann