Every business is successful until it’s not. What’s disconcerting, though, is how often top management is surprised when “not” happens.
Gary Hamel, The Future of Management
What limits innovation in established companies isn’t a lack of resources or a shortage of human creativity, but dearth of pro- innovation processes.
Few organizations seem capable of proactive change. How do we explain this? I think the answer lies, in part, with the difficulty we have in identifying our deeply engrained habits.
Gary Hamel, What Matters Now
We are feeling a little insecure these days.
I think this insecurity is somewhat warranted.
No matter what business you are in, there is a (possibly unknown) competitor planning right now to take your customers away from you. Someone, somewhere, is finding ways to do what you do cheaper, faster, more efficiently. And that someone is figuring out ways to do so with a more simple and captivating design, or more simple and easy to use (i.e. better designed) processes.
The pace is breathtaking. Hamel again: “are we changing as fast as the world around us?”
If you have a good idea, a good product, a good process, your job today is to ask “how do we make it even better?” Be asking it now; keep asking it every day, every week. In every meeting.
(And, have those meetings! You only accomplish what you meet about).
Because someone is asking that question right now. It’s much smarter for that someone to be you.
So, (courtesy of Slate: Sh*t Facebook Employees Say), here are five maxims/mantras of Facebook buried in their S-1 Filing:
Facebookism No. 1: “Done is better than perfect”
Facebookism No. 2: “Code wins arguments”
Facebookism No. 3: “Move fast and break things”
Facebookism No. 4: “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.”
Facebookism No. 5: “This journey is 1 percent finished.”
We have posted the phrase “this journey is 1% finished” across many of our office walls, to remind employees that we believe that we have only begun fulfilling our mission to make the world more open and connected.
(Read the article for full descriptives of each).
So here are a few clear lessons
1. Ship fast, then fix… Get it out there!
2. Keep trying new stuff. Constantly! Really — constantly!
3. It is mandatory to take risks!
4. You are nowhere near finished – ever!
You know, I think it will probably take the Coach and the best players of the Super Bowl Champion team about 2 days to get past celebrating and then ask, how do we get better for next year, so that we can win again? And it will take the Coach and the best players of the losing team about 3 days to wallow in the sting of the loss, and then they will ask how do we fix what was wrong, and then get better, so that we can win it all next year?
It is a constantly changing, gotta-get-better fast world out there.
Here are the last two lines from Farhad Manjoo’s article Why I Won’t Stop Writing About Apple and Google: They’re innovative, they’re fascinating, and they’re polarizing:
Nobody knows what the world will look like in 2015. But given their recent track records, my best guess is that Apple and Google are inventing it now.
Manjoo reminds us of the basics of the basics in this current business era – constant innovation is the name of the game. And what is being planned for, thought of, designed for tomorrow is underway today.
Are you behind, keeping up, or ahead? It’s not good to be behind!
1: the introduction of something new . 2: a new idea, method, or device: novelty.
Do you know the one indispensable business need of this era? Here it is: you’d best be really good at constant innovation, and a drive for constant, perpetual improvement. If you are not, you will be left behind – in the blink of an eye.
Here are two pieces worth reading to reinforce this one undeniable reality. The first is in the New York Times, about the constant improvement in dictation software. The other is about the advent of the Chevy Volt.
#1 – even with a virtual monopoly, you still need to constantly innovate. The customers demand it, expect it, and if you don’t someone else might come along and pass you by. That is the story of Nuance, the Dragon NaturallySpeaking company. In Reliable Dictation, Down to a ‘T’ by David Pogue, there are details about the way the company continues to refine its dictation software’s smarts. After a number of specifics, the article ends with this line:
Yes, Nuance has a near-monopoly in the speech-recognition game, but it’s nice to see it making steady improvements and price cuts as if it didn’t.
#2 – don’t panic about the pricetag of the Chevy Volt. Less expensive models will arrive in the blink of an eye.
In The Volt Jolt: Electric cars like Chevy’s new Volt are too expensive today, but they won’t be for long by Daniel Gross, we read about the hefty price (really, really hefty) for the very first automobiles, and then their steady move downward. The first cars cost four times the average household income of the day, whereas the Chevy Volt, though really pricey, is below the current average household income.
The article gives a quick summary of the march of price-lowering progress, including the first Macintosh which cost $2000, and had a floppy disk, very little memory, and a tiny, puny screen; and the success of the Model T, and its steadily decreasing price tag. Gross is convinced that history and our commitment to innovation promise a similar plummeting of price for the electric car in the months/years to come. Here are key excerpts:
Electric cars like Chevy’s new Volt are too expensive today, but they won’t be for long by Daniel Gross, we read about the hefty (really, really hefty) of the very first automobiles, and then their steady move downward. The first cars cost three to four times the average household income of the day, where as the Chevy Volt, though really pricey, is below the current average household income.
The article gives a quick summary of the march of price lowering progress, including the first Macintosh which cost $2000, and had a floppy disk, very little memory, and a tiny, puny screen, and the success of the Model T, and its steadily decreasing price tag, and promises a similar plummeting for the electric car in the months/years to come. Here’s a key paragraph:
Now, of course, Ford’s achievement with the Model T was one for the ages. His manufacturing advances were quantum leaps. But auto manufacturers have continued to innovate, develop efficiencies, and offer drivers more for less. The story of our modern age is better performance, better equipment, and better materials for less money. A few years ago, I went to buy a bicycle for the first time in a decade and was shocked to see how far my money could go. Compare the bicycle you can buy today for $300 with one you would have paid $300 for five or 10 years ago. By the same token, a $25,000 car today comes loaded with features that would have been unimaginable five or 10 years ago.
The key phrase in all of this: The story of our modern age is better performance, better equipment, and better materials for less money. In other words, innovation is constant, and making many things (every thing) better, and then better yet, again and again — for less money is the new normal.