Talk of innovation is all the rage … buy why? 

Innovation is hard.  It’s costly and risky to execute.   Since the failure rate is high and disapointments are common, it would seem that most of us are not very good at it.  

So why the fixation on Innovation, both here (Big Picture Guy is a site obsessed with innovation) and in much of the business press?

Change That Demands Change

Welcome to the Idea Economy! Throughout 19th and 20th Century,  we constructed big long term institutions and then made slow steady improvements to them.   Capital was the necessary ingrediant for dreams, funding mass production and mass markets and delivering the advantages of economies of scale. 

That’s all in the last centurynow. 

We have crossed into a new economic age.   The priorities, strategies, and assets of the 20th Century are rapidly losing value.   We no longer work in a marketplaces beholden to huge capital investments and protected by long term barriers to entry. 

Why should we innovate?

Today, the new source of value is ideas and their elegant, agile execution.   Deep irreversalbe changes are driving the emergence of this new marketplace.  Accelerating Obsolescence, Hyper Competition, and Abundant Customer Choice define the future. 

This is a momentous shift.  The Idea Economy is already on its way toward dominating the 21st Century marketplace.  What we did in well in a 20th Century economy is dangerously outdated.  We need a new kind of skill.   

Repeatedly Create Original Customer Value

Set aside faith in proven assets, steady incremental investments, and annual cost reductions.  Those are 20th Century standbys. 

In the Idea Economy the one essential skill is

Repeatedly Create Original Customer Value.

This skill is at the foundation of future organizational success.  Just as an old line businessperson who mastered the elements of investment, management, and marketing could make a living in almost any field, practiced 21st Century Innovators who master this Essential Skill will thrive in the coming years. 

Challenging Terrain Ahead

The road head is challenging.  Innovators who would imagine and deliver meaningful creative change face the Three C’s … chaos, complexity, and collaboration … that are deeply imbedded in this work. 

These are challenges that must be confronted and mastered for innovation to become a repeatable part of an organization’s ongoing business strategy.

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