“Innovation and Technology: The Path to Market Leaders” was the topic of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs meeting on October 26 in Chicago. Kudos to an amazing panel of experts who spoke on the compelling need for innovation to compete in today’s global marketplace as well as ways to be innovative. The key take-away -- a challenge to business leaders to think about innovation outside of the new product development box and foster innovation in distribution platforms, promotional tactics, processes of current products and services and customer experiences. It’s apparent that like marketing, innovation has gone holistic.
Farhan Yasin, Chief Operating Officer, International at Groupon, outlined how they took the age-old promotional pull tool - the coupon - and through innovation at the intermediary level developed a service that delivers customers to businesses in local markets. Here’s how it works. Groupon partners with businesses in the local market to deliver a “groupon,” a coupon provided via the Internet to a collective group within that market, to motivate the consumer to visit the business and take advantage of the promotional offer. Groupon serves as an intermediary for the business in a very novel and unique way.
So where to begin? Using Blue Ocean Strategy’s Four Actions Framework can establish a customer-driven starting point for an innovation effort. Through the Four Actions Framework, managers look at their industry to determine:
· Which factors are taken for granted and can be eliminated?
· Which factors should be reduced well below the standard?
· Which factors should be raised well above the standard?
· Which factors could be created that have never been offered?
As businesses research the marketplace to answer theses four questions, they build a comprehensive base on all the major marketing activities open to innovation. Is your company innovative? What is the framework you use to BE innovative? Isn’t it worth it to look at innovation as more than new product development?