Strategic innovation tip: Forget, Borrow and Learn


“To turn a powerful idea into a successful business – Forget, Borrow, and Learn.”  [Bolds are  mine] Authors Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Timble in the Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution.


“Forget assumptions, mind-sets, and biases from the traditional core business, because a new business (as opposed to a business extension) must be fundamentally different from a company’s traditional core business. Borrow assets like existing customer relationships, distribution channels, supply networks, brands, credibility, manufacturing capacity, and technological expertise from the core business, because those assets confer a significant advantage over entrepreneurial startups. Learn to make ideas — some of which may not be new — work together in ways that are fresh to your industry. And learning quickly minimizes the time to profitability, lowers risk exposure, and maximizes the chance to overwhelm the competition.


Very well said.  There is always a hangover from an earlier something that we unconsciously inherit and implant.  So long as it is a perfect overlay (say accounting method, inventory control or even a security system), it doesn’t matter. But mostly we inherit a lot of practises from the past unrelated business that is ill-suited to the new outfit. 


I have experienced it.  I was working for a family owned full service media & advertising outfit where the management consisted of two sons and the father.  The sons had developed the business along the modern methods and practises.  But the father, coming from sugar industry took charge of HR and Administration and started running it like he did the blue collar workers in a rural sugar mill.  Soon the geezer became the butt of all jokes in the office (even the chauffers ribbed him). But the major downside was that the agency lost quite a few good people that found him way too meddlesome – including a few top dogs. 


Have you had similar run-ins with such dim stereotypes?



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