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Innovation Doesn’t Have to Be Sexy
January 23, 2009
By Howard Mann

This great post from Hugh about his current work and thinking about Dell Computers reminded me of the below post I wrote back in 2005. Despite their new challenges, I still find it relevant to their future (and every business).

The deeper I go into the development of my Brickyard ideas, the more valuable (and crucial) I believe it is to sustained bottom line growth of business.

I’ll admit it is not nearly as sexy a strategy as a new technology product or an incredibly creative marketing initiative but… don’t be fooled that focusing on your Brickyard won’t equal cash.

In a recent Fortune Magazine article that profiled Dell Computers Inc. as the most admired company, the author questions Michael Dell about the perception that Dell is not an innovator (particularly vs. the deserved hype surrounding Apple and its latest innovations).

“I raise this question with Michael Dell and ask him why he even cares whether people think Dell innovates, “I don’t care as much as I used to,” he says. “It’s complete nonsense though. I mean, come on, let’s see… innovation: Business processes, supply chain, change in industry, customer value totally different, change the whole cycle in which technology is brought to market – well, there may be a few innovations in there.”

Innovation is too closely linked to “cool” new products or services…the trendiest/edgiest thinking.

Continually improving your supply chain and manufacturing processes that sustain growth while your competitors stumble over themselves is not only innovative but turns those Brickyard bricks into the gold variety.

Don’t focus on improving the expected parts of your deliverables at your own risk.

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