i need a reality check

That’s Mr. Innovation To You

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 15, 2008


Money Quote from Clayton M. Christensen in today’s WSJ on how hard times can drive innovation:

So, if you give people a lot of money, it gives them the privilege of pursuing the wrong strategy for a very long time……The breakthrough innovations come when the tension is greatest and the resources are most limited.

Clayton M.  has literally written the book (s) on innovation so arguing with him is like disagreeing with with Alex Trebec on Jeopardy.  The next to impossible part here is “how?”.

In my experience, the step that most companies miss most is developing a process around innovation.  At some point times will get tough and there will be a call for more innovation.  Then consultants will be called in, brainstorming will ensue, and tons of power point will be created (and after a few executive reviews, discarded).

Since most innovative ideas are half baked, it takes time to craft and mature these ideas into a full fledged business case.  Without the proper steps in place to help nurture these emergent ideas, they will die a slow internal death as champions give up or more on to other things.

Clayton M. Christensen has a whole chapter dedicated to this topic in his book “The Innovator’s Solution” that I would highly recommend reading.

4 Lessons From the Failure of Bill Miller

Posted in resources by josh duncan on December 11, 2008


Bill Miller is a “legendary” mutual fund manager that beat the S&P 500 for 15 consecutive years (a monumental accomplishment).  The WSJ had a play-by-play article today about his spectacular implosion (check out the cool WSJ interactive graph showing his performance here) and it got me thinking about what can be learned from this meltdown.  Here are the top four things that came to mind:

  1. Always due your due diligence.  Just because you are getting advice from a proven expert does not mean that the expert is mistake proof.
  2. Never stop learning and asking, “what has changed?”.  Your playbook may work over and over again but don’t let the rules of the game change while you are not paying attention.
  3. Beware of “Escalation of Commitment“.  You can fool yourself into thinking that you have no choice but to continue down a path (throwing good money after bad seems to the theme for Bill during 2008).
  4. All it takes is one mistake and no matter how “legendary” you are, you will be out on your butt.

Any more to add?