"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I am rather intrigued by the following definition of "the world's most innovative company":

"In my mind, an innovative company does more than exploit a single idea. It develops the systematic ability to extend into new markets, and create entirely new business models. And importantly, it doesn't just invent new things; it makes money with its new efforts."

It came from Scott Anthony, President of Innosight, an innovation consulting and investing company with offices in Massachusetts, Singapore, & India, writing in the latest issue 'Harvard Business Innovation Insights'.

He is also the lead author on 'The Innovator’s Guide to Growth: Putting Disruptive Innovation to Work' and co-author (with Harvard professor Clayton Christensen) of 'Seeing What’s Next: Using the Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change'.

In line with his definition, he has voted Amazon as "the world's most innovative company".

This is his argument:

"It's because Amazon has demonstrated a rare ability to execute seamlessly in its core business while moving into new businesses . . .

At the beginning of the decade, Amazon was a retailer that mostly sold books. Today it sells a diverse range of products, subscription services (Amazon Prime), hosts third-party retailers, products (Kindle), and Web services. That, to me, is an innovative company."

He has also recognised Apple, Cisco, General Electric, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Nokia, 3M, Disney, Johnson & Johnson as innovative companies, but he doesn't think that Google fits the bill, not even as one of the world's five most innovative companies.

His point about Google:

"It has an insanely great core business, and does a masterful job exploiting that business. And it's clearly highly inventive, flinging new products onto the market seemingly every day. Yet ... one estimate suggests that 97 percent of its revenues come from its core business."

It seems to me that Scott Anthony's qualifying criterium is 'RE-INVENTION as a relentless process in redeveloping and sustaining innovative capability', as I read it from his parting shot:

"Doing it once is nice. Doing it again is better. Doing something completely differently, again and again ... well that's what makes you one of the world's most innovative companies."

I reckon the same thinking also readily applies in our own personal as well as professional lives, especially in today's context.

Food for serious thought. There are in fact many valuable lessons we can draw from the Amazon experience in a personal application.

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