I had the opportunity this week to hear Alex Osterwalder and Tendayi Viki speak about how they coach leaders about innovation and dealing with uncertainty.
You may have heard about Dr. Alex Osterwalder before. He is one of the co-developers of the Business Model Canvas, an effective one-page business plan.
In this talk Alex and Tendayi were giving an overview of how they coach leaders on building innovation into their companies. It was the kind of thing that I really get into because innovation is a passion of mine. Rather than go into the whole talk here, I want to pull out for us one of the questions that were pondered. It was:
>>> How much of their time does the CEO of your company spend on innovation?
The answer is a barometer of how resilient a company is to disruption, uncertainty, and failure. The question speaks directly to how much leadership support there is for innovation in a company. How vulnerable they are to risk and uncertainty. And how prepared they are to face it.
They advocate companies having a mix of projects in their portfolios, some focused on new innovation and some on established business. A portion of projects focus on exploring and trying new things, looking for the next big thing. Other projects put energy into expanding and getting the most out of established business. Hopefully before that established business is disrupted.
It resonated with me because it is the basis of my thoughts that Marketing should have a similar mix. That there are some marketing programs that are purely about innovation. Searching for new markets. Launching new products. Testing new channels. While we also have regular established programs, with predictable levels of success.
I think we can ask the question of everyone in the company, not just at the CEO level. So, I recommend you ponder it as well.
>>> How much of your marketing efforts are spent on innovation? In terms of time, people, and money. Do you measure it? Is it a mix you want to change?