Awkward Reality #202

Most B2B commercial risk is avoidable. Risk-takers should get their thrills elsewhere.

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When do most producers resolve commercial risk? After product launch, when they learn if their product is a success or failure. You can build a “certainty time machine” and remove most commercial risk in the front-end of innovation. But only if you’re serving B2B customers, who can explain nearly all that you need to know.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 5).

Awkward Reality #201

Your “future you” will thank you.

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Don’t let your future be “that time you’ll wish you’d done what you’re not doing now.” You’ll be thankful later if you recalibrate your time horizon now… diverting some of your short-term attention to the future of your business. Besides, what you do this quarter is largely a spectator sport. The prices, profits and margins we wring our hands about during financial reviews were determined years ago by the new products created then for customers.

More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth (Lesson 7).

Awkward Reality #200

Don’t get lulled into complacency by “inherited growth.”

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Long ago, clever employees at your company developed industry-leading products. Most of your growth and profits today probably come from these sturdy product platforms. Don’t count on inherited growth continuing: Every year, purchasing agents and competitors are working diligently to commoditize your specialty products. Glad I could cheer you up on this.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 14).

How much work is “too much” in the front end of innovation?

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Our research asked B2B professionals what drives profitable, sustainable organic growth. The #1 answer was delivering strong, differentiated value propositions. And the #1 differentiator between the best and worst value-creating companies was superior front end of innovation work (www.whatdrivesb2borganicgrowth.com). There are important front-end steps top-performing companies take to strengthen their value propositions. Consider seven steps using this lens: If ... Read More

Awkward Reality #199

The front end of B2B innovation is all about one thing. Learning.

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More specifically, it’s learning what you didn’t know about the customer’s world in your target market. If you think it’s about “ideating” to come up with cool supplier ideas—which you’ll “validate” with customers—you’ve got it all wrong. Start with customers and their needs… not with you and your notions. Focus on your solutions after you understand what those who might buy them want.

Learn more about B2B innovation at theaiminstitute.com

Episode #05

Awkward Reality #198

What’s your leadership style… “Interior Decorator” or “Builder”?

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If you’re mainly concerned with making the place look good quarter after quarter, you’re an Interior Decorator. Jeff Bezos was a Builder… running Amazon for seven years before turning a profit. The stock market still applauded him, because he had a building plan they could believe in. As Warren Buffet said, “Companies obtain the shareholder constituency that they seek and deserve.”

More in article, How to become a great business leader

Awkward Reality #197

Awkward Reality #196

The Cure for B2B Myopia: Jobs-to-Be-Done

Harvard professor Levitt began the JTBD discussion by teaching that the railroad industry should consider itself as the transportation industry..

Modern “Jobs-to-be-Done” thinking began with the most popular HBR article ever written: Ted Levitt’s “Marketing Myopia.” It begins this way: “Every major industry was once a growth industry. But some that are not riding a wave of growth enthusiasm are very much in the shadow of decline. Others, which are thought of as seasoned growth ... Read More