By Fred Luddy - 2014-04-30
“Innovate or die.”
A strong statement to be sure, but without innovation we stagnate as a society and our economy stalls. And in some industries – take health care technology – we may not be able to survive, let alone thrive.
In the past decade, from 2003 – 2013, 70% of the Fortune 500 has turned over. But maybe this fact isn’t so shocking. It’s not a new phenomenon. On the 50th anniversary of IBM, Tom Watson told his audience that of the top 25 companies in 1900, only two remained on the list in 1961.
But there are some bright examples. Nestle, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Procter & Gamble and 3M. Each of these companies has continued to foster a strong culture of innovation.
In the technology industry we’ve seen many companies cling to the “Hedgehog” concept – do one thing and do it well. Grab share, dig in and defend the castle. The ability to innovate is seemingly lost in the trench warfare. They place focus on the market and lose sight of the changing customer needs. Palm is a great example of this. A company must reinvent itself.
So what’s the secret to innovation? No secret, really…
1. Identify problems, needs or opportunities
2. Generate ideas to address problems, needs or opportunities
3. Move the best ideas to completion; and
4. Generate value from those ideas
When Steve Jobs, who was a master at defining a clear product vision, set out to design the iPod, he framed the problem as, “1,000 songs in my pocket.” That simple phrase defined not only the technical specifications, but also the overall approach.
Timing and viability is yet another vector. One must consider the proper timing and need fulfillment, is the market ready and can the surrounding technology support the vision? As we’ve seen from numerous products such as the IBM Simon, Diamond RIO or Apple Newton, timing is everything. Call it innovative restraint. And I also believe strongly that for technology to really succeed, it can’t be looked at as technology.
This week at Knowledge14 I am so excited to show and demonstrate what we consider to be the dawn of a totally new era for ServiceNow. An era of innovation for the product you use now, and an era of disruption for the way we work. What is most exciting to me – we are simply productizing based on the phenomenal inspiration and demonstrated success of our customers.