Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

Innovation Man – Not!

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Innovation Man – Not?
By Roger La Salle

A New Year is upon us. Perhaps this may be the ideal time to take a breath and look at your strategy for growth!

Check this out
If innovation is one of your strategic pillars then remember that it’s outcomes that matter, not inputs. Indeed there is an old but must see IBM video that speaks a lot to innovation endeavors. The link is at

Note, the intent is brilliant but unfortunately the outcomes are still a work in progress – will it ever be done?

The fact is, innovation does not happen even with deeply inspired people sitting in a darkened room singing the “What if I”….” hymn. “What if I … what……”? We may well ask?

Have a process
There is nowhere to go with such an open ended question. The secret to having outcomes is to finish the sentence with a full body of stimulus words each of which demands a specific answer. In fact properly done there are over 100 stimulus words that can finish the “What if I…” sentence. If you use these you can guarantee innovations will flow, literally as a river of opportunity.

So too in exploring your customer. The key to success in innovation is to understand what your customer wants. One approach is to simply ask. But this is not without its issues, including the one we so often encounter where in many cases customers seldom really know what they really want.

The secret to satisfying your customers’ needs lies in observation, what we refer to as “opportunity capture” with more than 40 ways to observe your customer. But it should not stop there, you also may need to be exploring your customer’s customer to get to the real source of true opportunity.

Finding new opportunities with which to explore and grow your business is the easy part. The real skill comes in evaluating these opportunities underpinned by the simple “technology diffusion model” – a numerical score card for new initiatives to be used as a precursor to your commercialization strategy.

None of this is difficult but your endeavors must be backed by sound judgement and proper risk management. This needs to be coupled with the clear understanding of the single biggest reason for failed innovations, the customer or perhaps better said, Market Risk.

What’s the message?
Now’s the time to review your business strategy and don’t be fooled into thinking that innovation is reserved for the gifted. We are all users of products and services. Engineers, scientist, accountants, lawyers, children, indeed everybody and anybody may be your customer. Use the right tools and outcomes are guaranteed.


Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and Business Development, is the author of four books, and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies, both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast

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Over the Horizon

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Over the Horizon vision
Roger La Salle
Which Horizon?

McKinsey’s sometime ago defined what they referred to as the three horizons of growth in business. In summary we may call these Horizon 1, or what we are doing now and in the very near term.
Horizon 2 refers to what are going to be our actions for the medium term and Horizon 3 refers to the long term future. This is what I prefer to call “over the horizon” activities.

Although the first two horizons occupy most of our time in many businesses, Horizon 1 gets by far the greatest attention.

The Facts

Indeed recent studies have shown that in fact Horizon 3 attracts less than three percent of executive time. In many businesses of course one wonders if Horizon 3 gets any attention at all, especially in these days of tight economies with many businesses literally fighting for survival.

Of course embracing innovation is one way to work to continually move your customers products and services to a better place and the formation of innovation teams is the best way to implement this. However such teams usually focus on Horizon 2, that is what we can be doing in the short to medium term.

Horizon 3

Horizon 3 is the one that the senior executives of a business need to pay more attention to; but like it or not the distractions of the office environment are not conducive to Horizon 3 development.

Most businesses of course from time to time have off site executive retreats. In most cases these focus on reports from business units and discussion of the issues and problems of the day and what can be done in the short to medium term to enhance the business and overcome any immediate issues at hand.

Perhaps had KODAK being looking to the longer term several years ago its ongoing business demise may have been somewhat different.

So too with the US auto industry that suffered in the wake of the Japanese attention to quality and cars more appropriate to the times than the oversized, overpowered all too heavy typical US built autos. Of course the list goes on of businesses that have failed to see the longer term big picture and have subsequently gone to the wall or been forced to take emergency corrective action to avoid catastrophe.

Exploration of over the horizon activities at such retreats is however where much of this valuable executive time should be spent. If you are in fact doing this it is quite unlikely your competition will be doing the same.
Use proper tools

There are several tools that can be employed to good effect to explore long term predictions. These are not the abstraction of the so called “Futurist” but deliver quite a rigorous process that can be plotted on a graph and used to good effect to anticipate the future and allow you to best position yourself to be at the right place at the right time.

What now?

The bottom line is to recognise that too little attention is paid to over the horizon planning with day to day reactive tasks taking most executive time.

Put your executive team to work and look at the longer term, few business are doing that.

To do so will put you in a commanding position.

**** END ****
Roger La Salle, is the creator of the “Matrix Thinking”™ technique and is widely sought after as an international speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development. He is the author of four books, Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australian and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panellist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. Matrix Thinking is now used in more than 26 countries and licensed to one of the world’s largest consulting firms.

Roger La Salle
Innovation – Opportunity – Inspiration
Conferences – Key Notes – Workshops – Facilitation
Twitter @rogerlasalle
Mobile 0418 370 828
Office + 613 9842 7267
Fax + 613 9842 2260
Sponsor – INNOVIC Next Big Thing Award

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