Larry Keeley is quoted in this article in the New York Times, in which columnist Joe Nocera wonders if the Cupertino-based technology giant is heading for a fall. One of the issues, explains Larry, is that business models become a “gilded cage,” hampering continued success by getting in the way of the constant evolution needed for ongoing innovation. It’s a super interesting read.
If Steve Jobs were still alive, would the new map application on the iPhone 5 be such an unmitigated disaster? Interesting question, isn’t it?
Apple’s chief executive, Jobs was a perfectionist. He had no tolerance for corner-cutting or mediocre products. The last time Apple released a truly substandard product — MobileMe, in 2008 — Jobs gathered the team into an auditorium, berated them mercilessly and then got rid of the team leader in front of everybody, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs. The three devices that made Apple the most valuable company in America — the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad — were all genuine innovations that forced every other technology company to play catch-up.
[Read the rest of the article here.]
Alex Kinnebrew will be leading a discussion around Doblin’s Ten Types of Innovation framework at a meeting organized by the Northern California chapter of MENG. The event takes place on Wednesday, September 19th at the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel in San Francisco. Here’s the blurb about what’s on the docket: register for the event here.
Today, innovation is core to most corporate strategies and plays a major role in how companies drive growth and manage risk. However, the definition of what innovation is and how it is undertaken is not always clear. For many years, executives equated innovation with the development of new products. But creating new products is only one way to innovate, and on its own, provides the lowest return on investment and the least competitive advantage, say our speakers. First developed in 1998 by Doblin, the Ten Types of Innovation talk describes ten distinct innovation types; each alone can help companies create new value, but in combination can yield results more difficult to copy, generating higher returns.
In the past 15 years, the Ten Types framework has evolved to reflect how businesses navigate macro forces like globalization, commoditization, complexity, and social business by developing sophisticated innovations that go far beyond product. By viewing innovation activity as a coordinated effort directly linked to a firm’s strategy, organizations can develop an innovation ambition matrix that enables them to balance near- and long-term growth and develop sustained differentiation.
by Helen Walters
published as an essay in The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules For Winning In The Age Of Excess Everything by Matthew E May, to be published by McGraw-Hill in October.
The first time I saw Twitter being used in the wild was a strange experience. It was 2007. I sat next to a guy I knew in the auditorium of a conference and watched, confused, as he tapped into his laptop: “Sitting with Helen Walters from BusinessWeek.” Why is that interesting? I asked him. “It’s not, really,” he answered, shrugging. So I gave him what I hoped was my most withering look and then turned my attention to the stage to focus on writing and reporting in the traditional way I had long understood.
Since then I’ve come to appreciate the 140-character medium. Twitter seems to embody the essence of subtraction. The brevity forces you to focus on what’s truly important and to harness the restrictions as a challenge. The exercise of paring down meaning and insight into its purest form, formerly the purview of headline writers and the copy desk, is an invaluable one for anyone looking to communicate in the modern world. Such focused, clear thinking feeds back into the writing and thinking of a longer article, too.
Doblin’s Matt Locsin spoke at a recent event organized by IDSA/NYC. Sharing the stage with Allan Chochinov, editor-in-chief of Core77 and founding chair of the new MFA in Products of Design at SVA, Matt chose to follow Allan’s presentation with his own description of how design can be used to develop big, platform level solutions. “By design, innovation in areas other than just products can have dramatic effect,” he said, echoing a key theme of Doblin’s practice.
Doblin’s own Melissa Quinn will be taking part in a session at the IDSA’s international conference, taking place in Boston on August 15th. Here’s the blurb for the session, which takes place in the “Business of Design” track and which promises to be lively and thought-provoking. If you’re there, be sure to say hello!
The definition and practice of design has never been more dynamic. Now wholeheartedly embraced by the business, nonprofit and government communities as a critical success factor, more scope and integration is being demanded of design and its managers than ever before. How is this trend playing out in the far corners of the profession? A set of panelists who sit at some of the furthest edges of where design is being applied will discuss the important trends they are seeing as well as the biggest challenges they face in moving forward in the environments they serve. Melissa Quinn will talk about Doblin/Monitor’s unique approach to design/business integration; Steve Kaneko will talk about the broad range of talent and skills that are required to produce compelling hardware and software products; Jeneanne Rae will talk about what is uniquely required in service design; and Heather Boesch will talk about using design thinking in NGO and government settings.
Doblin associate partner Brian Quinn is quoted in this Chicago Business article on design world darling, Threadless. Explaining the real-world pressures of community-driven businesses, Brian provides an objective voice of reason looking at a company reportedly shifting 10,000 orders ever day.
Years before “Chicago” and “startup scene” became frequently strung-together words, local apparel retailer Threadless embraced an entrepreneurial, creative ethos—and turned its scrappy vision into piles of cash.
Now, the 12-year-old company, which has seen sales of its independently designed T-shirts grow from $6.2 million in 2005 to somewhere north of $30 million this year, is moving beyond tees and expanding into large-scale design with corporate partners, including Gap Inc. and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.
[Read the rest of the article, including Brian’s take on Threadless and the challenges that lie ahead as the company continues to expand.]
“We hear all the time from folks that their company has tried to pursue transformational innovation but either they got stuck thinking about great and lofty things that they can never bring to market or they gave up when they realized how risky the bets might be. It doesn’t have to be that way,” said Geoff Tuff at the After Five @ 111 event held in our Chicago office on June 27th. ‘We teach companies to develop transformational innovation regularly. But they also shouldn’t forget there is that vast “middle space” of adjacent innovations, where a lot of untapped opportunities exist which will feel a lot closer to home.”
Geoff, a partner at Monitor + Doblin and co-author of the recent Harvard Business Review feature on total innovation, Managing Your Innovation Portfolio, spoke to a gathering of about 30 professionals and leaders in business and design. Drawing on examples and experiences from real companies, the discussion centered on the challenges of innovating across different ambition levels—core, adjacent and transformational—and how best to apply this theory in practice.