Posts Tagged ‘Crossing Chasm’

Innovation sucks!!

June 17, 2010

Innovation is extremely alluring to companies and startups. It offers so much potential. However innovation  takes mountains of time. You just can’t come up with a Facebook, Dyson or Ford in 5 minutes!! It’s simply not a light bulb moment. It can take 1000’s of  attempts. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 1000 ways that won’t work”Thomas A Edison. Innovation is a gradual internal company and external market process.  This makes innovation very frustrating for the entrepreneur because the one thing they have in short supply is time! Innovation is awesome but it also sucks!!

Innovation has to build-up momentum and be developed over several or many iterations. This evolution of ideas can be within the same team, company or marketplace. It can even be ideas shared between different markets or countries. That’s the great thing about our modern economy, its survival of the fittest ideas. The key to unlock innovation is for the idea to be at the right time and in the right place.

I’m sorry, but time and time again I hear startups saving we are the next Facebook, Twitter, etc. In reality you need to know where are you in the innovation cycle – that ranges from innovation to commoditisation. Geoff Moore ‘Crossing the chasm’ is always a good book to read on this subject. The position in this innovation cycle dictates your actions, growth and timescales.

The challenge with innovation is that it takes eduction, thus the need for time. The educating of potential customers is difficult because people don’t really like change and risk. Companies, especially big ones, definitely don’t like change and risk. Education costs an awful lot of money whether with mass market consumer items or niche corporate b2b products. The marketing message needs repeating over and over and over again. First mover advantage is great but second mover can be better. Just look at Google (2nd to market) and Yahoo (1st to market) and who came of on top.

The trick is to get into a market niche on an upward curve, get running with the pack (competition) and then gradually innovate. As always it is easier to say than do!! Apple is a great example. The success they enjoy today with the iPhone popularity goes way back to 1993 with the failure of the Apple Newton. Apples’ iTunes which is intrinsically linked to the iPod and therefore the iPhone originally benefited from the downfall of Napster. These innovations have been brewing for many years and between many competitors.

The great thing about innovation is that it has unlimited possibilities. It’s brings the combination of creativity and exciting growth potential. Innovation is awesome but it takes time, money, careful listening to the market and mountains of persistence. One hit innovation wonders are rare and not the norm. All of this can be frustrating for startups because no one is in a rush except the startup and the one things startups are most short of is time.

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Surfs-up startups: Where to be on the innovation wave?

April 15, 2009

A friend recently reminded me of Gartner’s Hype cycle. It got me thinking which part of the curve should  a Tech startup aim play in?

gartner-hype-cycle-july-2008Gartner 2008 Hype Cycle

Note Gartner  predominately focuses on the Enterprise business market. Although their right on the money in the consumer space with Microblogging i.e. Twitter’s rise to fame during the past year. The Gartner graph reminds me of  Geoffrey A. Moore‘s great startup book Cross in the Chasm and Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle graph. If your a tech startup and haven’t read it – read it now!

moores-chasmtechnology-adoption-lifecycleGeoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm adapted Technology
 Adoption Lifecycle graph

I think startups should try to take advantage of Gartners ‘Visability’ curve growth.  PR opportunities can be maximised with everyone listening/talking about what’s new/what’s hot. However funds may run dry if a startup is completely reliant on the hype growth and doesn’t reach a healthy exit before the wave crests. Ideally, startups also need to be selling beyond Moore’s “Chasm” into the ‘Late Adaptors/Early & Late Majority’ which is where the higher revenues lie. All this is easier said than done.

Where’s your startup on the wave?

Unlearning the technology bible to find transformation innovation

April 21, 2008

Last week I was challenged by a blog reader as over using Geoffrey Moore’s technology innovation curve. In 2006 Crossing the chasm was described by, Tom Byers of Stanford, as “still the bible for entrepreneurial marketing 15 years later” and only last month AIMM produced a  thorough 90 page report that uses the innovation curve categories to track the progress of Enterprise 2.0 technologies:

This report aimed to define Enterprise2.0 and uncover firms perceptions and positions on this emerging technology. Rather than summarize the report you can find views on Niall Cook blog post or CMS Wire ‘Organizations Still Don’t Get Enterprise 2.0’.

Moore’s technology innovation curve acts as a guide to past patterns of innovation and can shed some light of possible future patterns. The innovation curve has become so engrained for such a long period of time, in the timescape of the technology market, the real value is to be drawn from predicting the behaviour and actions of industry groups, who have faith in and play by the rules of a industry standard ‘bible’. I therefore think it is fundamentally important to understand the rules laid down by a gospel of technology innovation, before the patterns generated by these rules can be broken and transformational innovation realised.

By transformational I refer to a changing of the rules of the game as Google has achieved with their run away success ad generating model, much to the annoyance of Microsoft’s Ballmer referring to Google’s as a ‘one trick pony’ in 2007 and Microsoft’s change in strategy the same year, ‘We are ‘hell-bent on succeeding in ads’, Ballmer .   

Ballmer punching air

 

Naturally the ideas from Crossing the Chasm are not without there weaknesses and the book could do with updating as highlighted in an article in 2007 by Alex Iskold of Read Write Web, however it does offer us an platform from which to predict the cause and effect patterns of both customers and industry players. Players such as Microsoft and Oracle who hold the gateway to the convensional route of the mainstream market. My point is that to find truly significant innovative possiblities we need to understand how a market thinks and then unlearn all we have learnt to really innovate. As Einstein put it, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”

Turning 2.0 potential into mainstream reality

April 15, 2008

Andrew McAfee of Harvard University provides an excellent example of effective blogging to a target audience. In 2006 McAfee coined the phase ‘Enterprise2.0’ when he published an article which ring fenced Web2.0 technologies adapted for business to bring real organisational value. Tools such as Wiki’s, Blogs, RSS, Tagging and Search enable users to Search, Link, Author, Tag, Extend, Signal collective information and knowledge. Since 2006 McAfee has taken the mantel of these new business tools and work methods to spread the word of a better way of work together in business.

Being an evangelist you would expect McAfee to be a good Blogging example, however I’m astounded by the sheer volume of hits on his site (6.5m) for such as niche area and the position the site has propelled him to. Ziff Davis Enterprise has ranked McAfee at 38th in their list of ‘the 100 Most Influential People in IT.‘ ,to which McAfee attributes his blog as the ‘main reason I made the list’.

Two years since McAfee’s report Enterprise 2.0 tools remain in the mainstream sidings only offering the potential to bring value and benefits to firms. The most important party in this equation, The Customer, sees the potential but many remain hesitant, unsure and in some cases unconvinced. Here are some thoughts on E2.0 from US CIO’s in February 2008 (CIO Magazine):

Industry consultants and market researchers have found objections to implementing E2.0 tools include: resistance organisational cultural change; the need for an integrated set of E2.0 tools; integration with existing applications and cost. Many E2.0 tools originated from technical innovators, for example Wiki’s (Wiki, Wiki means very quick in Hawaiian) was originally used by software developers for easier documentation and has evolved into business use overtime. These tools have now moved beyond innovators to visionary users who can see the potential business benefits. Reflecting on Geoffrey Moore’s book ‘Crossing the Chasm’ the point of change from the Early adopter (Visionary) to the Early Majority (mainstream), Moore describes the early majorities need for industry specific references, experiences from know relationships, a competitive market and low risk decisions to buy from a reliable provider with a quality, integrated and well supported product set.

Innovation does not stand still and these current E2.0 tools will evolve and change to meet customer needs and problems. As the big boys of the software industry such as IBM, Microsoft and Oracle start to sit up and take notice of the user interest these tools are generating they will start to introduce new offerings. The hyper activity on McAfee blog is perhaps evidence of the potential business users see from E2.0 tools, with suppliers following the potential demand, keen not to miss out on a new wave of innovation.

It remains to be seen which of these tools in their current form will go mainstream and what exactly they will evolve to become over time. One thing we can be sure of is that the underlying problems E2.0 products are helping to solve such as effective team working and information / Knowledge management will not go away. It is highly likely that current problems, such as our increasingly overflowing in-boxes, will continue to scale the priority list until the problems become totally unmanageable and solutions must be found.

White lines that lead to Innovation adoption

March 28, 2008

winnersdontusedrugsimage.png
I would like to thank you, even though I don’t know exactly who is listening, for putting my blog on the Goggle map. My Nickpoint site is 4th on the list of 2150 hits with Wikipedia’s definition of Nickpoint holding the number one slot. What addictive fun this Internet stuff is..

nickpointin4th2.jpg

Teenagers, part of ‘The Y Generation’ and to be our future leaders, started heavily using SMS texting when it first came out. Do you remember the days when we did not have mobiles…email…..fax machines…………our own computers……………………..land line phones? Or the Internet, how did we survive without it! There are some parallels to be drawn between technology innovations, teenagers and the rest of us in this brave new world of Social Media. Enter twitter, another of the new wave of web technologies, which seems to have been adopted by the technology geeks for a coke max effect IM (Instant Messaging) on web enabled devices including new generation mobiles. Twitter sits somewhere in between frequent SMS texting and group emailing on a micro blogging platform and it is reputedly ‘one of the fastest-growing apps in the history of the Internet.’ says the influential Robert Scoble.

If we take a look at Rogers 1960’s innovation curve we can see how technologies such as SMS texting and the other technologies have moved through into the mainstream. In fact SMS texting has become so ‘ubiquitous‘, as our very clever friend Simon Wardly would say who writes alot about innovation and commoditization, that it is used and relied upon by many mainstream businesses for customer communication. For example, we now receive Texts from our credit card companies, gyms, couriers, etc. Twitter and some of the other new Social Media technologies have the poetical to move through into the majority just as SMS texting has.

rogerinnovationcurve.jpg

Yes I know this is a dusty old graph but it is still considered by many to be classic. I am reading Geoffrey Moore’s 1999 ‘Crossing The Chasm’  which is a classic book all about marketing software within the innovation curve and very useful for technology start-ups like ours.

Tom Davenport of Harvard University referred to the mob effect of Twitter at a seminar on his blog. Davenport generally questions the value to business of some of these Social Media technologies, however remains interested and optimistic. Web2.0 has certainly created an innovative testing ground based on free usage, ad funded and attracting users by making the application enticing, even bordering on addictive. However I do not know which, if any, of these new technologies will go mainstream and mainstream in business, I only ask the question. As Socrates said “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”.

So, in the words of Grandmaster Melle Mel’ White Lines…Visiondreams of passion….Blowin through my mind….And all the while I think of you….A very strange reaction…..For us to unwind..The more I see the more I do. ‘, for all those 80’s teenagers and Internet addicts.