Innovation Catch-22

Profitability is down because we are a commodity this means we are no different then our competition...however we can't innovate (to eliminate being a commodity) because our profits are down.

Think about it if you were leading innovation and found yourself in this situation what would you do?

When surveying management they have answered:

  • Manage the decline
  • Update my resume
  • Cost cut
  • Pray for a miracle
  • Reinvent the organization

The data shows that the right thing to do is reinvent the organization. This requires that you think more like a start up -- where you as a leader/manager could be talking to a customer directly about your new offering.

As a leader, your job is to decide where the organization is going. Sometimes this means leaving your current


commodity industry for new markets. Sometimes it means completely reinventing yourself.

As you explore potential new markets, consider using industry data published by the IRS. While the data is a few years old I find it to be a useful indicator of more profitable and growing industries. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to use industry data don't hesitate to email me at

In the comments below let me know what you would do if caught in an Innovation Catch-22.

Check out this article about a bolt company that left commodity behind: