Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Faster Innovation and the "Google-ization of Business"

The Wall Street Journal had a fascinating piece yesterday call "The New, Faster Face of Innovation". MIT scholars Michael Schrage and Erik Bryn Jolfsson have traced the implications of the faster and more iterative approach to innovation that we are seeing from companies in today's market.

We have referred to this trend in past blog posts as "the Google-ization of business". Yesterday's article does a great job of describing the trend and cites excellent examples of its implications.

We think about the implications of faster innovation specifically from the perspective of what does it means to communications in today's world; when you combine this rapid pace of innovation and change with an "architectural" view of communications which we have discussed at other places in this blog, it has vast implications. To keep things simple, following are two of the key changes.

1. While having an idea of what image you are trying to create and a hypothesis of how you will get there is more important than ever (because of the transparency of communications), today it is no longer necessary to feel that your first communications stake-in-the-ground is indelible.

2. This new iterative approach to innovation means that you can communicate more frequently and with more trial balloons to help educate the market. Ultimately, when used well, it is likely to enable reaching your communications goals both more effectively and perhaps even more efficiently.

This new flexibility is quite liberating. When communicating, you no longer have to worry about whether every point is the "perfect" point. And you can learn along the way in order to make your communications better.

Please don't misinterpret this flexibility as a recommendation to just throw material into the communications chain and pay no attention. As referenced above, we still feel it's very important to have a clear hypothesis of what you want to communicate over the long term and how you think you might get there (this is what we call the "communications architecture").

The big difference now is that you can course-correct much more easily.

At the end of the day, we believe this new world means you should communicate more than ever before.


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