Executive with a Track Record in Developing Growth Strategies and Solutions: I have devised and implemented winning strategies that have opened up new markets and business opportunities. I have developed strategies that address customer/market needs, secured buy-in from executives/board, motivated the functional organizations to deliver and launched successful products & business models.

 

Family Man: I enjoy spending time with my beautiful wife and two lovely kids. As a family we are a good mix of outdoors and indoors. My son and I are pretty much outdoors and sports oriented while my daughter and my wife like the indoors. This diversity of interests helps us maintain good balance in our lives.

Why? What? How? and Who? of Innovation

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Many of us are often amazed by  Innovative companies. We often read about their successes, and then aspire to do the same. But often we do not know the answers to the following questions:
  1. Why is Innovation important?
  2. What is Innovation?
  3. How do you go about Innovating?
  4. Who can drive innovation at your company?

Here are the links to few interesting blogs that answer these questions. Here is a link to my profile.
Why Innovation

Why do we need Innovation? Why can’t we just stick to our knitting?

Top 5 reasons Successful Companies Focus on Innovation” is a blog that addresses these questions.

 

What is Innovation

What is Innovation? What are the different types of Innovations?

Innovation is about connecting some known and unknown dots to build something that has never been build before. It is serendipitous, as you connect some dots that you came across many months ago with some dots that you came across just now to create new products, services, business models and processes. Here is a great article from FastCompany on “What is Innovation?”. Inc magazine article provides a tactical definition here.

There are many different types of innovations. I believe in customer experience driven innovations as discussed in my Innovation focused on Customer Experience. The example discussed in this blog is “Business Model” innovation. There are more examples of product, service, brand, disruptive innovations across my blogs.

 

How Innovation

How to Achieve Innovation?

This is a loaded question. This requires building the right culture, developing right processes, hiring good talent, ensuring good execution and practicing persistence. A lot goes into being successful with Innovation. Here are few blogs on various aspects of achieving innovation.

Following a repeatable process that helps in thoroughly evaluating an idea is essential. Here is a blog on innovation process.

Strategy Frameworks for Innovation helps in devising the right strategy for innovation.

5 Steps for Setting Innovation Goals discusses the steps for setting the right goals focused on customer experience driven innovation.

Here is a blog on a need for separate Innovation metrics.

Soon, I will  blog about the need for Innovation Culture and post a link here.

 

Who Innovation

Who should lead Innovation?

This is a tough job, and you need someone who is not only visionary but possesses other essential characteristics to successfully innovate. Top 10 characteristics of Innovation Leaders highlights the leadership qualities required for successful innovation.

Having a good leader is not enough. As discussed in this blog, Innovation influencers play a key role in successful innovation.

Last but not the least, Innovation needs the support of the CEO without which it will not foster. CEO’s need to invest equally in running the current business as well as innovation, as discussed in the blog about ambidextrous CEO. The head of innovation at a company needs to report to the CEO.

Before you get on the Innovation bandwagon, ask all the questions and see if you have everything needed. Let me know if you have any other burning questions about innovation.

Please contact me if you need to discuss any of these topics.

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Top 5 Reasons Successful Companies Focus on Innovation

Ever wonder why companies like Google, Amazon continue to launch new products and business models. These companies focus on innovation as part of their culture. Here are the top 5 reasons why these successful companies focus on innovation. more

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Customer Experience: Nine factors that impact customer experience

The above slide show gives you a brief overview of this topic, while the blog below gives longer narrative. Download a free chapter from my book for even more details.

Many of us have had customer experience horror stories, either that of your cellphone not working when you have a flat tire, or that of being stuck at an airport for hours or many other such situations. After each of these situations we wonder if the company cares about us as a customer and do they really need our business.

On the other hand, companies are trying to solve the puzzle related to delivering best-in-class customer experience. They have leadership roles focused on “Customer Experience” and have it as part of their core strategy. They are hoping to solve this puzzle and become a brand loved by customers.

So how should a company solve the customer experience puzzle in a way that is easy to understand, some way that would help them differentiate themselves against the competition.

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Improving Customer Experience in a Connected World

Happy New Year 2015

After a long hiatus from blogging I am back as I see some very interesting developments that have prompted me to blog.

In November 2014 issue of HBR, an article by Michael E Porter and James E Heppelmann on the topic of “How Smart, Connected Products Are Transforming Competition” got me excited. In summary, that article talked about the third wave of IT transformation where IT is becoming part of the product itself through the additions of sensors, processors, software, connectivity and analytics. Companies like Cisco, Bosch and others have talked about this concept as “Internet of Everything”, which in itself is a big challenge and huge opportunity. more

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5 Steps for Setting Innovation Goals

Innovation Challenges

Innovation is not easy, as it usually involves developing something that has not been done before with the hope that the target audiences like the end results. Not only that, throughout this journey many variables need to managed, like executive sponsorship for innovation, funding, employee motivation, customer interest, product development and marketing, supporters and naysayers, just to name a few. It is challenging to make sure that these forces align. This is done by having a clear innovation goals well before you start the journey.
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Don’t Be Surprised By Your Customers – Maker’s Mark Case Study

I wrote this post for Jeffrey Baumgartner and it was posted in his 103 report on 7/3/2013

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makers-mark-bourbon-290x290Mid February 2013, CEO of Maker’s Mark, Rob Samuels was preparing to reverse the biggest marketing blunder in the history of this company. Their decision to water down their bourbon from 45% alcohol content to 42% alcohol content was not received well by the market. This resulted in a backlash from their loyal customer base and gave competitors an opportunity to attack them. more

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Better Customer Experience Delivers Better Value to the Customers

Long ago, when I was interviewing for a consulting job, I had to learn the consulting speak. And one of the cliché in that consulting speak was “delivering value to clients”, which when used would signal to my potential employer that I am “client ready” and ready for the job.

“Delivering Value to Clients” is part of the core strategy for many consulting companies, it was the core theme of most meetings, it was even part of employee evaluations.

But what does it really mean? Can we measure it easily and consistently? Is there a metric that indicates if we have delivered value? more

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Fab.com : Customer Experience Success Story

This is an updated blog post on the customer experience driven innovation story of Fab.com.

In January 2010, Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shellhammer launched Fabulis.com, a social networking website for gay people. The initial vision of the founders was to become Yelp, Groupon and Facebook for gay people. Jason Goldberg was a successful serial entrepreneur who had successfully exited a couple of ventures before and Bradford Shellhammer was good with design. They both launched this social networking website which managed to attract 110,000 total customers and about 30,000 active users. Though they built a good website, Fabulis.com did not deliver a differentiated customer experience compared to Yelp, Groupon or Facebook, so gay people did not feel the need to use this website.

By early 2011, the founders realized that they need to do something different. So they shut down the site in order to develop a newer, un-served niche where they could be much more successful — one based on design. In June 2011, they launched Fab.com, a flash sales website (i.e. a site that offers products at deep discounts for a limited time) for the fashion-oriented customer segment. more

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