Posts Tagged 'strategic innovation'

Innovation through Fusionomics

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One avenue to strategic innovation is to slam together separate technologies or methodologies and see what you get. I call this “Fusionomics.” Think about Tex-Mex food and the mobile phone. Fusionomics is about to happen again. Get ready to have your iPod or iPhone be your game controller. One will be able to wave their iPod or iPhone like a motion controller for game consoles, similar to the Nintendo Wii technology. Social Gaming Network (SGN) has risen in visibility as a result of its iPhone and Facebook games. Now they are fusing web gaming and the iPhone in the iFun technology, and releasing its first free cross-platform game, iGolf. SGN CEO Shervin Pishevar describes their innovation as “the first time the mobile world, the Web world and social gaming have united liked this. This is like having a Wii on the go or a Wii in your hand.”

In my book, Corporate Imagination—Plus, published by The Free Press imprint of Simon & Schuster, I explained several strategic innovation techniques. One method I detailed was “seeking combinations.” Fusion is a classic approach to creativity; things that already exist are linked together, in a marriage of thoughts.

In the food industry, in which I do extensive work, consider the examples of wine coolers, toaster waffles, milkshake breakfasts, chunky soups, and all of the “lite” foods. Additionally, years ago Procter & Gamble created an innovative new laundry product from two existing but separate products, a combination of detergent and fabric softener, named Bold 3. The products were commonly used together when washing clothes already, but required the purchase of two separate products; they just combined them in one product for a compelling marketing hook. How did the rest of their competitors miss this obvious combination?

Seeking effective combinations of existing products, yields innovative concepts and  powerful marketing niches; think cross-promotion sales and merchandising, retailer branded credit cards, and cross-over vehicles.

Examples abound. From a technological perspective, the key to relational databases, the fastest growing segment of the software industry, is the power of the programs to relate two different files of data, so long as they have some element in common.  Ever hear of a company that broke ground seeking combinations in this area named Oracle? Larry Ellison, the company’s driven CEO, is a remarkable breakthrough leader.

On a personal note, my thirteen year old twin boys, Eric and Ryan, and their two friends conceived the germ of the Wii concept six years ago in our family room when they were seven years old. I walked in one day and found them lined up watching Star Wars and in unison replicating the laser sword battle scenes with their toy light sabers. I asked them if they’d like to do this with their Sony Playstation, and they asked how. I said it would take a few years. In my next leadership development training session at the largest computer game publisher in the world, I offered the idea for free, and I recommended they partner with Sony and develop it. I repeatedly voiced the idea in each annual session with this company. For whatever reason, no action was taken on the idea and three years later, near-dead Nintendo launched the Wii, and subsequently screamed to the top of the computer game console industry, right past Sony. It broke my strategic heart.


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Barack Obama is a Breakthrough Leader!

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Congratulations President-Elect Barack Obama! You have unquoed the status, as I call it, and ushered in a new era of leadership. And just in time.

America is awash in nearly paralyzing uncertainty and desperately sought a leader who can reverse the tide and restore the hopes and prosperity of our country. Barack Obama heard this desperation and saw an opening that would cross all previous boundaries of race, gender, class, age, and political affiliation. He crafted a campaign that resonated with Americans, and judging from the reaction here in Tokyo where I am currently delivering a workshop, as well as media reports from around the globe, it is also striking a chord with the rest of the world as well.

President-Elect Obama’s actions and statements thus far indicate that he holds a philosophy built on the principles of breakthrough leadership, innovation, and inclusion, with a mandate to drive change. His leadership style separated him from Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin, and arguably from all of his predecessors, enabling him to deliver an improbable victory that has fundamentally altered the electoral landscape, and he stands poised to alter the world stage as well.

He is a transformative leader. He recognizes that his role as a strong executive is crucial, and he has marshaled his inner leadership strengths to be equal to the task. Importantly, he also acknowledges that he as a singular leader can not do it on his own. He has begun surrounding himself with a strong team and called for partisan partnership. But he also knows that Washington isn’t good enough.

America itself urgently needs to discover its own inner strength. We individually and collectively need to take up the mantle of leadership, as he alluded to in his speech in Chicago as the new President-Elect on election night.

In that stirring speech he spoke of the challenges we face and will face, and prepared the public for the rough road ahead. He knows that it is critical to look our problems in the face, name them, and employ deep leadership amplitude, digging into their root causes-what I call the “dark-side.” But he also spoke of America’s promise, of the goals to be achieved, the changes on the horizon, and the possibilities of what can be accomplished together. I call this the “light-side.”

Barack Obama assessed what America was, is, and can be, and he has repeatedly done this throughout his long march to this day. He has a masterful ability to incorporate both the light and dark sides, and factor them into a compelling vision, with a reasoned strategic action plan, employing a strong, disciplined, and consistent message of intent throughout the duration. This ability is the key to unlocking his breakthrough leadership approach. There is much to learn from his example for leaders in all facets of society.

It’s fitting that I kick off my blog at this moment, as this remarkable leader ascends. Because what the country and the world are seeing in this President-Elect’s leadership ability is something I have identified in exceptional leaders throughout the world, and throughout history.

It took years of research to crystallize it, but as a global keynote speaker, trainer, and leadership development consultant, I have concluded that there is One Thing that separates great leaders from good leaders. I identify it as amplitude. Leaders who operate with amplitude dig deep into the dark-side, to diagnose world or industry problems, which are breakthrough opportunities, and then leap and soar to the light-side, to find ideal solutions others can’t even begin to imagine, or are fearful and hesitant to entertain.

Breakaway Leaders, as I call them, know what others don’t-the impossible isn’t. And, while they are strategic innovators with a compelling vision, they are relentlessly pragmatic and know how to make their strategies an enduring reality.

I have spent the last fifteen years searching for and refining what I believe to be the essence of remarkable leaders. In presenting my findings to over 10,000 CEOs, executives, managers, and professionals around the globe, and asking for their candid feedback, I have received an astounding 99.9% confirmation that this one thing-amplitude-is it.

In future blog postings and books, I look forward to sharing with you how amplitude is the core competency of great leaders, so that you can learn how to harness yours effectively, and put yourself and your organization on the road to remarkable results.

In future postings I will reveal hundreds of insights about how world-changing leaders employ amplitude to accomplish breakthrough results, as well as practical applications. My objective is to enable every one of you to discover your inner strength, and use it maximally to prosper.

If we all work together it will help fulfill the mandate that our new President-Elect has set before us as a nation, and around the globe to make the world a better place.

Stay tuned to amp up.