Monday, March 19, 2012

Making a Revolutionary company Look Evolutionary

This past weekend, I read Om Malik's wonderful guidance about which seven stories to read this weekend. As always, this weekly list was provocative. One article that particularly caught my eye was "Why are we so Afraid of Creativity?". In short, creativity leads to uncertainty and "As a general rule, we dislike uncertainty. It makes us uneasy. A certain world is a much friendlier place."

This is a topic about which I am passionate because we live in an age of evolutionary innovation, to a large degree and those who are willing to think orthogonally are often accused of being dreamers. But that orthogonal thinking is what makes real movement in the market.

So what's a company to do when it has an (often technical) innovation that looks like an evolutionary innovation, but really has the potential to lead to an orthogonal market shift? Since we at Roeder-Johnson often work with companies that fit this description, it's a topic about which I think often.

Going back to the story about why we are afraid of creativity, the answer is:

-Understand what you really have (the "high concept").
-Build a communication and market strategy that first makes your breakthrough look and feel evolutionary.
-Then, when you have credibility, build the new, orthogonal trajectory on the foundation of the first stage success.

In some ways, you are building in your own "innovators' dilemma." That is, you know eventually, you will have to obsolete the perceptions you may have started out building. So why not just start with the big idea? Because in many more traditional markets with established perceptions (enterprise technology, vertical markets, etc.), the revolutionary idea can scare people and you won't build your base business before you move into the new realm.

Yes. We are back to the fact that creativity scares people.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home