Opportunities for a business to become more innovative abound, if you know where to look and what questions to ask. Here is a list of some of those questions, organized by the fifteen attributes of your business you can innovate (innovation isn’t limited to products, you know):

Business Mission & Model
     Is your mission relevant to your customers and  different from your competitors??
Customer & Market Scope
     Are some potential customer segments being ignored by your industry?

Enterprise Structure
     Does your structure support experimentation, incubation and scaling of innovations?
Core Competencies
     Are they relevant to emerging markets, customers, products and business lines?
Strategic Assets
     Do you have too much cash tied up in obsolete & unproductive assets?

Customer Relationships
     Do your customers see you the way you’d like them to?
     Who are your customers? favorite suppliers, and why?
Customer Knowledge & Insight
     How can you help your customers serve their customers better?
     How well do you understand your customers’ evolving businesses?

Pricing & Branding
     What does your name/brand stand for in the eyes of customers? 
     How could you break the existing pricing models in use in your industry, to tie price more to value?

Delivery Experience
     How could your customers’ buying experience be made simpler, faster, more valuable?

Core & Enabling Processes
     How could you radically change your customer-facing processes to deliver more value for less?
     How could you make your core processes radically faster, cheaper or better?

Go-To-Market Channels & Approach
     How can you connect better to your best customers, and to new customers?
     How can you make it easier for customers to buy from you?
     Are there other buying channels used by your major customers that you haven?t exploited?
     Do your offerings provide the real end-to-end solutions customers now demand?
     How can you extend and enhance the life cycle of your current offerings?
     Should you co-develop promising new businesses with your clients?

Offering Systems & Tools
     Do the systems and tools you use to provide offerings enhance the offering, or get in the way?

     Are your suppliers helping you innovate your supply chain processes?
     Are there non-core activities that you should sell to your suppliers or business partners?

Partners & Coalitions
     Do you use coalitions of customers, suppliers, competitors and others to spread risk in new ventures? 

If you’re intrigued by CSFB’s innovation process graphic above, you can read more about it in my paper A Prescription for Business Innovation .

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  1. Rayne says:

    I do love that graphic, Dave! Nice roadmap for the Build-A-Meme Project! Think we’re working between ideation and synthesis yet.p.s. You’re awfully quiet today!

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    You don’t miss a thing, Rayne. I was up at 5am to fly to Cleveland for an all-day “flaps-down” meeting. Just got back. What’s annoying is that I posted this at 5:30am (see timestamp) before I left but it just showed up on my blog this evening. Suspect Republican neocon sabotage ;-)

  3. Rob Paterson says:

    DaveYou always have such great graphics – As a techno idiot (me) how do you insert them so neatly with your text?I have defaulted to FM Radio where all I do is to open the picture – but I can’t contol it. Any tips for the dumb?

  4. Dave Pollard says:

    Rob. It’s mostly trial and error, but what works for me is:1. When using pictures grabbed off the net, I use a graphics package to reduce them to no more than 200×200 pixels and then use my text editor (I use Netscape Composer, don’t ask me why) to wrap the text around the picture, with a minimum 3x3pixel space ‘buffer’ around the picture. Saves space and looks nice, usually.2. I’m ambivalent about borders around pictures — depends on my mood.3. When I’m doing my own graphics, I develop them on MS PowerPoint, maximum 200 pixels wide if it’s just a simple one I can wrap text around, or maximum 500 pixels wide if it sits at the top of the post. I then copy the grouped PPT object to a software that converts cleanly to .gif format (I use MS Image Composer because it’s free, powerful, and as a MS product doesn’t mess up PPT graphics).4. When I’m trying to do something that doesn’t look right, I go to the Radio Userland “Documents” (help) folder, which includes several users’ ideas on how to put graphics in your posts. It’s really not bad.

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