Firms need to compete in two time periods: the present and the future. How does one balance this dual, or ambidextrous, orientation? How do we fuel necessary innovation in the present, while investing in disruptive technologies, business models, partnerships, and customer experiences that set the course for the future? How do we foster innovation beyond the product—to the organization, networks, financial models, distribution channels and other forms of innovation—that can accelerate competing for the future? Can we and should we balance over time by sequentially switching our focus from radical to incremental (e.g., behave like a tech business and build new “platforms,” then add “modules”) rather than trying to do both at once?

▶  HOW DO I SUCCESSFULLY INCORPORATE DESIGN PRINCIPLES INTO MY ORGANIZATION?

Pepsi and other firms have done a wonderful job of incorporating design principles into their organization, not just to redesign products but also to look at systems, processes and workflow. What can we learn from Pepsi and other firms that have successfully deployed design thinking? What is the dark side of design thinking? What does it create in terms of unintended problems for the firm?

▶  HOW SHOULD WE THINK ABOUT CREATING “PLATFORM” PRODUCTS?

It is not enough to have successful products. Successful firms think in terms of platforms, franchises and ecosystems. Think about American Girl. They are not simply products, but an entire ecosystem of products, information, brands and retail experiences. What are the lessons learned?

▶  WHAT ARE GOOD WAYS TO BUILD PROTOTYPES AND “FAIL FAST”?

What do great firms do in this area? Can large firms like GE practice lean-start up models, or is it almost impossible for large firms to implement? Do large firms need to implement things differently?

▶  HOW DO I MAKE SURE WE LEARN THE RIGHT LESSONS FROM MARKET TESTS?

How can I conduct such tests in a “fail-fast” way and still keep my intentions below the rivals’ radar?

▶  WHAT ARE GOOD INNOVATION METRICS AND HOW DO I INTEGRATE THEM?

How do you differentiate between number and quality of innovations? Which, if any, innovation metrics should I build into reward and evaluation systems? For whom? Which innovation metrics may have unintended consequences? What are they? How can such negative outcomes best be avoided?

▶  HOW SHOULD I ORGANIZE TO ENHANCE INNOVATION OUTCOMES IN MY FIRM?

What determines when I should make vs. buy? Is there a viable business model in which I can effectively outsource innovation and just buy the ones I see as successful? Can I still “win” financially by making such purchases and acquisitions? If so, how?

▶  FIRMS LIKE NETFLIX, OR EVEN PERSONAL BRANDS SUCH AS MADONNA AND JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MANAGED ACROSS TWO TIME PERIODS.

In effect, they have re-invented themselves to “fit” into a new competitive space. What can we learn from these firms or brands?

Read the original article at AMA.org

This spring, we’re unveiling the AMA’s first ever intellectual agenda in our almost 80-year history that features what we believe are the “seven big problems” confronting marketing. The seven big problems will drive content for the entire AMA community: a multi-faceted and diverse group of professionals in marketing and sales, academic researchers and educators, and collegiate marketing hopefuls.

The AMA’s intellectual agenda seeks to serve as a big tent source of guidance and inspiration that includes both theoretical and applied knowledge that will ultimately provide actionable insights, frameworks, tools and resources for the AMA community. We’ve created a living document that can evolve along with the AMA community and the discipline of marketing itself.

–Russ Klein, AMA CEO

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