It’s not so long since my thinking about innovation – in the business context – was focused on technology innovation, the invention of new machines, or whizbang software. Now I understand a lot better that innovation in business process is not only important but can provide small or big or huge business opportunities.
Starbucks’ Howard Schultz didn’t invent coffee, or coffee machines, or coffee shops. His innovation was in the way of doing business:
The truth is we had no money to advertise, so we had to figure out a different way.
I was prompted to these thoughts and some discovery today by reading an interview with Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School Professor, on The Importance of Innovation:
Christensen: I believe and advocate that innovation is the mechanism by which strategy is implemented and change occurs. Innovation is not just about technological change or development. In fact, innovations that sustain competitive advantage are more often found in business models and processes; it is in the innovation of business models where the greatest opportunities for business lie. Those that continue to believe and invest in the idea that technology is the only way to innovate are engaging in a temporary solution that will be a temporary competitive advantage. The global marketplace has repeatedly demonstrated how easy it is to copy innovative technology and compete on price.
via my LinkedIn Bloggers colleague Laura Ricci’s excellent blog, Laura’s Winning Ideas.
I have to wonder, how many people are there who are now leaving, or thinking of leaving the corporate or government world – the world of organizations – and contemplating what kind of a business they will set up or run, assuming they don’t want to just go fishin’ or vegetate?
And surely many of those people have great ideas about how different business process could run, or be developed and of that group surely there are many who would be more happily engaged and hopefully more financially rewarded by turning their ideas into models and real business opportunities for themselves and others than by say buying into a fast chicken franchise or becoming yet another ‘consultant’ (been there, done that).
A home business dedicated to innovative thinking? Now that could be a business to watch.