Another New Year with a great deal to ponder... the economic outlook is challenging. Two shops in my local town of Knutsford have shut their doors for the last time and we are only into week 2! "Marks and Sparks" were a bit of a damp squid as they announced their 3rd quarter results today...
However, Robert Peston said (here) there were still reasons for hope at M&S despite latest results.
"Marks hasn't yet resorted to the kind of savage price-discounting we are seeing from its rivals. So it has ammunition in reserve".
Peston also commented on the dire market conditions and how M&S might weather it.
Sir Stuart Rose the CEO, replied that M&S were obsessive about product whether fantastic new products in the pipeline, obsessive about service and are investing in retail stores.. which will enable them to weather the storm.
Jeffrey Phillips has blogged his Innovation Resolutions list reproduced below
- Our innovation team will ensure our work is aligned with and supported by the senior management team.
- We resolve to take bigger risks and disrupt at least one product or market this year
- We'll incorporate innovation as a regular component of our strategy and treat it as a standard operating procedure, rather than something we "bolt on" to existing operations
- In 2008, we'll move from purely product innovation to seek opportunities for innovation in processes, services, business models and other intangible solutions
- As our innovation capability improves, we'll seek ideas and inputs from our business partners and customers on a regular basis
- We will implement a more consistent, sustainable innovation approach across our organization
- Innovation will take on a customer focus. We'll eliminate technology led innovation and seek instead unmet or undermet customer wants and needs
- We'll spend more time understanding trends and looking over the horizon to ascertain what's happening so we can respond more effectively or alter the course of what happens
- We'll provide the necessary resources for innovation to flourish. After all, if innovation is so important, then we should provide the people and dollars necessary for it to work effectively
- We'll stop worrying about making it perfect and just do something radical.
I'd done recently looking at barriers, needs and exemplars of innovative teams and institutions summarised as
If we map one on the other my feeling is that to a first approximation resolution:
1 is about lack of clear strategic direction and stronger links between innovation and strategy
2 is about better handling of risk (more risk taking); lack of tools to manage and mitigate risk
3 is about stronger links between innovation and strategy
4 is about lack of clear strategic direction, better measurement of what is going on and poor visibility of success and failure indicators
5 is about lack of ideas and access to potential products
6 is about better processes for innovation work
7 is about lack of commercialisation process and methods to manage and mitigate risk
8 is about lack of clear strategic direction
9 is about limited spare capacity and resources to reassign
10 is about lack of entrepreneurial skills
The exemplars in the list are Insight, especially about our consumers, clients, customers and users, internally and externally. Strategic direction is about knowing what we want to be known for internally as a group and externally as an institution. A True Team Approach is about genuinely collaborative behaviour that can be regarded as the activity of an every day team, not an every meeting team. The exploitation of a Disciplined design process ensures that the benefits from the above are maximised.
So how do we get started?
Well, the answer is, depending on your position in the organisation, start anywhere and everywhere... which sounds like a recipe for chaos.. but then innovation and change are a rather chaotic activity.
One place to start is with an innovation framework.. at its simplest this is asking "What is our strategy?" and how does each project we are undertaking contribute to achieving it? And by each project I mean each and every one! The personnel database that Human Resources are looking for? the restroom redecoration? the new product development activity? etc, etc.
Or we could start by surveying our overall capabilities and skill levels. If we have new product development activities getting under way then we can look at ways of using a better innovation process around a team approach, better matching assigned resources to the project goal. If as expected resources are tight and may get tighter then we need to understand how we might release resources by better ways of working.
What is clear though is that we need to look for high leverage opportunities that will maximise impact. Doing stuff that has little perceived benefit is a recipe for losing rather than gaining momentum!
So back to resolution : what does the word mean: The visual thesaurus reveals this
The word has many connotations ... if we mouse over the map we will find
Our leadership team will get people's attention if they resolve to change behaviour "the way we do things round here is no longer enough to survive and thrive..."
"And we are embarking on a challenging journey so we need to discuss and agree on what and how we are going to change."
and a key question for all leaders and managers is
I will come back to this question shortly.....
Picture uploaded on by Francois Schnell. Used with thanks under CC.