Does Your Idea Still Work?

We live in the age of ideas. It's ideas that make jeans worth $300 and water no longer available for free. The idea to brand relationships are fairly obvious. If not to all of us, at least to savvy marketers who use them to their advantage everyday.

Obviously, some ideas have a longer shelf life than others. The question is, do you know when yours is expiring?

-Grameen Bank had a brilliant idea of empowering bangladeshi women out of poverty as mobile rental providers at a time when mobile phones were expensive. Now mobiles are more available and affordable than ever in Bangladesh. Is it still wise to reinvest in the program or is it time to retire the idea or keep feeding the path to obsolescence?

-The idea of "walled content" saved universities like Harvard Business School from declining enrollments. More professionals and entrepreneurs (myself included) contribute to their bottom line than all of their students combined. But in the emerging age of Free Content, will the "premium content" model still hold up?

-Ever since Google was up for IPO, everyone and their cousin tried their hand in the search game. From A9 to Chacha, cool technologies sit by the curb like the homeless begging for visitors to elevate them to "The Next Google". Do you really think that's going to happen, or did the destination site boat already sail?

-Wired recently had a post about the lamest social networks. Do I need to elaborate further about starting your own? Is it really about yet another community, or offering value wherever people may be connecting to each other?

-Even investing in The Internet as is might prove dangerous with increasing security threats as we migrate offline infrastructure systems online. Not to mention the inherent inefficiencies of distributing bandwidth hogging content like HD video that Bittorrent and others are trying to address.

See, in the current flux, the rate of change is faster than ever before. The moving parts intersecting cultural vibe, technical possibilities and the current geopolitical influence is exactly that: MOVING!

If you don't understand what moves and when, your brilliant idea might easily become the black hole of organizational and personal energy suck because the premise under which your idea originally bloomed no longer exists!

Does Your Agenda Follow Network Rules?

The human network is more than a brand position for Cisco. It's real. We experience it everyday.

It should be obvious because "The nature of information is biological".

Drucker said it, and so have numerous others who see the obvious connection.

Irving recently posted this thoughtful piece on the nature of networks and changes emerging in the IT industry.

That's a vision some of us can see and work towards, and we try with our respective thoughts and innovations.

Unfortunately however, the myopic focus on next quarter's earnings is still the prevalent mantra in the business world.

Industry changing innovations that honor the network dynamic often don't make it (I know that all too well 1st hand).

-The kind of frenzy that results in moves like this for advertisers do.

-So does the hype around the Ethanol bandwagon over real green changes like Electric Cars or rebuilding Chinese cities.

-The oil company agenda still continues despite the occasional dissenting exposé.

Why they do is obvious.

With constant change, short term profitability seems a surer bet than long term sustainability.

But does it have to be?

Won't sustainable innovations give better return for energy spent in times of constant change?

or better yet, do you really think you can control a system to your benefit for long? See vid below:

Can You Outsource Leadership?

The cheesy and ignorant Indian stereotypes notwithstanding, the sentiment for outsourcing is funny because it's true. But while the outsourcing of labor is obvious, there is another outsourcing movement that often goes unnoticed.

It's the outsourcing of leadership. In other words, what happens when you pass the "vision and passion" baton from the founders of your business to the C-level people who will run it without suffering loss in translation?

The obvious answer is your Brand Mantra (the driving principles that transcend specific leadership), but is making it stick really that simple?

What's Your Competitive Attitude?

When facing the competition, do you work to:

a) Improve your service and/or features relative to the competitor's?

b) Outspend your competition's marketing efforts?

c) Reinvent the category/change the playing field?

Guess which one moves your brand to market leadership?

Hint: It's the same principle that keeps Apple innovating way ahead of the personal electronics game, Wallmart ahead of the retail game, and (sadly) Al Qaeda staying alive while bleeding U.S. government resources trying to fight an "understood" enemy...

So why is it that emerging brands mimic the organizational behavior of industry Goliaths with fewer resources? How do you think their stories will end? Just think about that the next time you see a Startup more concerned with "appearing" like industry giants rather than being clever enough to actually change the game.

© 2006 GROW |