Is Dumb the New Smart?

by Mike Myatt

Is Dumb the New Smart?How dumb is your business? At the risk of drawing the ire of corporate elitists, I submit to you that the dumber your business is, the better off you are. The truth is that great companies are those which can thrive and prosper in the absence of sophistication. As odd as it sounds, businesses that are not dependent on smart talent, capital, or technology can scale faster and easier than those businesses burdened with the aforementioned dependencies. In today’s post I’ll share why I believe dumb is the new smart…

The simple truth of the matter is that if your business requires smart money (which equals expensive money), or your competitive advantage is tied to a superhero key employee, or your business is built around maintaining a technology advantage, you have more weakness in your business model than you do strengths.

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by Mike Myatt

Is Dumb the New Smart?How dumb is your business? At the risk of drawing the ire of corporate elitists, I submit to you that the dumber your business is, the better off you are. The truth is that great companies are those which can thrive and prosper in the absence of sophistication. As odd as it sounds, businesses that are not dependent on smart talent, capital, or technology can scale faster and easier than those businesses burdened with the aforementioned dependencies. In today’s post I’ll share why I believe dumb is the new smart…

The simple truth of the matter is that if your business requires smart money (which equals expensive money), or your competitive advantage is tied to a superhero key employee, or your business is built around maintaining a technology advantage, you have more weakness in your business model than you do strengths. Leer más “Is Dumb the New Smart?”

Accountability – The Foundation of Sustainable Innovation

by Robert F. Brands with Jeff Zbar

Accountability – The Foundation of Sustainable InnovationWithout accountability, there is no innovation. Action items won’t get done, programs will lose traction, meetings will fall off the calendar – the issue can be as frustrating as “herding cats”.

Every company culture needs accountability. Actually, for any company to succeed accountability is an imperative. Members of a corporate team need to feel responsible for their work – to meet deadlines and to deliver what was agreed upon. Holding others accountable begins with clear communication of what is expected of them and even getting the agreement in writing if necessary.

So to expect creativity in developing new products at your company, hold your team accountable. Schedule New Product Development meetings. Set clear action items and expect follow-through to keep the program moving along. Team members need to feel responsible for delivery.


by Robert F. Brands with Jeff Zbar

Accountability - The Foundation of Sustainable InnovationWithout accountability, there is no innovation. Action items won’t get done, programs will lose traction, meetings will fall off the calendar – the issue can be as frustrating as “herding cats”.

Every company culture needs accountability. Actually, for any company to succeed accountability is an imperative. Members of a corporate team need to feel responsible for their work – to meet deadlines and to deliver what was agreed upon. Holding others accountable begins with clear communication of what is expected of them and even getting the agreement in writing if necessary.

So to expect creativity in developing new products at your company, hold your team accountable. Schedule New Product Development meetings. Set clear action items and expect follow-through to keep the program moving along. Team members need to feel responsible for delivery.

Leer más “Accountability – The Foundation of Sustainable Innovation”

The iPad Innovates By Doing Less, Not More

I finally got my 3G 64GB iPad on Sunday May 2nd (I was travelling and wasn’t home on April 30th when it was delivered). I have been using it extensively, on planes, in cars (with someone else driving), at home, at restaurants and sitting outside in the sun, and I agree the iPad is an amazing device. What makes it magical is not so much what it does, but all the things it doesn’t. Sometimes great innovations are not on new features but on the careful design and simplification of features we already know.

The iPad is a great example of this type of innovation. iPad reviews fall into two camps, those which compare it to a PC or netbook and find it lacking, and those which see it as a new form of computing and find it magical. I have been using computers for almost 50 years starting with an IBM 1620 in 1964.


Behold the iPad in All Its Glory
Image via Wikipedia

I finally got my 3G 64GB iPad on Sunday May 2nd (I was travelling and wasn’t home on April 30th when it was delivered).  I have been using it extensively, on planes, in cars (with someone else driving), at home, at restaurants and sitting outside in the sun, and I agree the iPad is an amazing device.  What makes it magical is not so much what it does, but all the things it doesn’t.  Sometimes great innovations are not on new features but on the careful design and simplification of features we already know.

The iPad is a great example of this type of innovation.  iPad reviews fall into two camps, those which compare it to a PC or netbook and find it lacking, and those which see it as a new form of computing and find it magical.  I have been using computers for almost 50 years starting with an IBM 1620 in 1964.
Leer más “The iPad Innovates By Doing Less, Not More”

Grassroots Innovation

Veronica Vera pointed me to a great talk by Anil Gupta from TEDIndia. He talks about grassroots innovation, and methods for getting ideas to spread in poorer regions. It’s a fascinating talk:

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/851

Innovation in developing countries is a wildly unappreciated phenomenon – there are incredibly interesting things going on in places like India, China and Brazil. Some of them are built around finding innovative ways to provide goods and services to poorer people at much lower costs. Aravind Eye Care and the Tata Nano car are just two good examples of how this works.

Gupta is talking about something different though. He is not approaching poor people as consumers, but as inventors. This is reflected in one of the slogans of the Honey Bee Network – minds on the margin are not marginal minds. [Más…]


Veronica Vera pointed me to a great talk by Anil Gupta from TEDIndia. He talks about grassroots innovation, and methods for getting ideas to spread in poorer regions. It’s a fascinating talk:

Innovation in developing countries is a wildly unappreciated phenomenon – there are incredibly interesting things going on in places like India, China and Brazil. Some of them are built around finding innovative ways to provide goods and services to poorer people at much lower costs. Aravind Eye Care and the Tata Nano car are just two good examples of how this works.

Gupta is talking about something different though. He is not approaching poor people as consumers, but as inventors. This is reflected in one of the slogans of the Honey Bee Network – minds on the margin are not marginal minds. Leer más “Grassroots Innovation”

Innovation Through Prototyping and Experiments

You can prototype with anything. You want to get an answer to your big question using the bare minimum of energy and expense possibly, but not at the expense of the fidelity of the results. It’s not only about aluminum, foamcore, glue, and plywood. A video of the human experience of your proposed design is a prototype. Used correctly, an Excel spreadsheet is a wonderful prototyping tool. GMail started out as an in-market prototype. A temporary pop-up shop is a prototype. Believing that you can prototype with anything is a critical constraint in the design process, because it enables wise action, as opposed to the shots in the dark that arise from skipping to the end solution because zero imagination was applied to figuring out how to run a create a prototype to generate feedback from the world.


Microsoft Office Excel Icon
Image via Wikipedia

I’ve talked before about the importance of experiments in the innovation process. Experiments are essential for two reasons. First, they allow us to be more confident that our ideas will work. If we run a successful small experiment, that gives us some idea of how the innovation might work as we try to scale it up. Second, they allow us to sort our ideas more effectively. If we can devise a quick and dirty way to test out an idea, it will help us figure out which ones won’t work.

This seems fairly straightforward for testing product ideas, or really anything that is based on physical existence. But how can we experiment with intangible things, like services, or business models?

Diego Rodriguez provides some ideas in a great post that is part of his Innovation Principles series – Anything can by prototyped. You can prototype with anything:

You can prototype with anything. You want to get an answer to your big question using the bare minimum of energy and expense possibly, but not at the expense of the fidelity of the results. It’s not only about aluminum, foamcore, glue, and plywood. A video of the human experience of your proposed design is a prototype. Used correctly, an Excel spreadsheet is a wonderful prototyping tool. GMail started out as an in-market prototype. A temporary pop-up shop is a prototype. Believing that you can prototype with anything is a critical constraint in the design process, because it enables wise action, as opposed to the shots in the dark that arise from skipping to the end solution because zero imagination was applied to figuring out how to run a create a prototype to generate feedback from the world. Leer más “Innovation Through Prototyping and Experiments”