What’s Your Innovation Blind Spot? by Josiah Go

There are so many little things that corporate leaders ignore.  Just take a look at the following industries and you can see many blind spots.  Some examples of old truths that are still unchallenged to date are:

  • In the retail banking industry, there is no fun and enjoyable experience while inside a retail bank.
  • For the supermarket industry, shoppers have no choice except to push trolleys with a central basket.
  • For the bicycle industry, the saddle is still one piece thing, having sourced the idea from horse saddle.
  • For men’s clothing category, the back pocket of pants intended to hold wallets continues to be the norm when this causes discomfort after seating for a few minutes.
  • In the shoe cleaning industry, sponges are no longer usable in less than a year even if unused as they will harden.
  • In the mobile phone industry, many value-added services (VAS) continue to be incorporated when over 90% of existing VAS are not being used.
  • For consumer companies, granting of volume discount to retailers is intended for a bigger sell-out, but what is being rewarded is sell-in.
  • For the HR practitioner, putting an age limit of 35 years old for salesmen when the more productive salespeople have greater connections and networks after they are 35 years of age
  • In the legislative branch of government, more new laws are being proposed and created because its goal is to make laws.

We can go on and on but the point is that opportunities for innovation are everywhere.  Blind spots happen due to lack of insight or new truths. This can be corrected when we increase our awareness, network with people with different backgrounds, and ask questions regularly that challenge conventional wisdom, among others.  Opportunities for innovation can be found in the preceding industries, for example:

  • In the retail banking industry, can the ambience be friendlier and more design-focus? Can bankers be less formal, less threatening and be more approachable to the mass market?
  • For the supermarket industry, can shoppers push trolleys with removable baskets in the cart that can make shopping more efficient in selected part of the store?
  • For bicycle industry, can the saddle be redesigned to support our two bottom parts instead of 1 piece?
  • For men’s clothing category, can the back pocket of pants be made as side pockets to remove any discomfort after being seated for a while?
  • In the shoe cleaning industry, can a replacement sponge be made available instead of throwing the entire unused liquid content?
  • In the mobile phone industry, can prices be based on specific value-added services (VAS) availed instead of paying for many features you don’t need?
  • For consumer companies, can they do business building rewards based incremental sell-out volume and not old-style inventory loading that often lead to receivable aging problems?
  • For the HR practitioner, can lessons be learned from network marketing companies where recruiting of distributors is based on one’s future goals and passion and not based on historical achievements?
  • In the legislative branch of government, can citizens be rewarded based on uncovering obsolete laws that are either no longer relevant or not user-friendly?

Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. uses a proprietary tool called BIDA Check-Up. BIDA is acronym for barriers, irritants, disappointments and annoyances, a gap analysis tool which help uncover activities and practices that causes deep seated customer dissatisfaction.  This tool is taught in Market-Driving Strategy executive coaching or executive workout sessions to help companies turn hurdles into opportunities like above.  New opportunities should not just improve customer satisfaction and enhance a firm’s value proposition for its customers and consumers but also improve its value chain in its internal operations.

It is not enough for firms to formulate a value proposition for customers, but to ensure a corresponding innovation in value chain or business system internally that can help carry out the value proposition and create greater but more sustainable wealth for the firm.

(Thanks to Businessworld for publishing this article)

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Josiah Go features the movers and shakers of the business world and writes about marketing, strategy, innovation, execution and entrepreneurship


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