The Internet has caused a Crisis for businesses - new competition, price / value transparency and more power to customers/consumers. Or said simply, "If you're not meaningfully unique you better be cheap."
On Saturday night I learned that the CRISIS is about to get even more significant for CEO's of publicly held companies.
At a play in the West End, I happened to sit next to the COO of a company that specializes in helping Wall Street and The City as they call it over here, identify where a company's brands are on the life cycle curve.
Their mission is to help investors know when a company's business is going to decline before it happens! They do it with some very, very smart quantitative future mining of innovators measuring momentum, performance versus ideas, etc.. They have proof of concept success in some industries and are in a race with others to tell investors the truth about where companies are headed.
OUCH. This will totally change how public companies are managed. As our fiends in Louisiana say... Innovation will not longer be optional!
CEO's will no longer be able to wait till business slows to innovate. They will need to innovate before their businesses hit the top of the lifecycle. They will need to be proactive not reactive leaders.
CEO's will no longer be able to simply cut costs and lay off people to make the business look good... if they do - and the underlying business is in decline, Wall Street will soon know the truth and will hammer their stock.
CEO's will be begging for innovation, Boards of Directors will soon be asking questions on what is in the innovation pipeline and when will it be in the market...
Importantly, the Future Mining COO said it's not enough to do just "marketing changes"... you need to do the entire offering - product, package, positioning and sometimes even pricing. They are finding that especially leading edge customers are not "stupid" -- they see through marketing or design "noise" that is not meaningfully unique as we call it.
The internet is making it possible to find, measure and model this data. To those who innovate - it means great things. To those who don't believe in innovation it's going to get really ugly.
In the end this is a good thing. A very good thing for those who really care about their company and their customers.
To quote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow from the Christmas carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."
The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail...
Innovation Pioneers - Onward to 2015!
The future is bright... innovation is right for you, your department, your organization, your community, your country and the world!