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The Innovation Series: Part Two, Segment One
Mike Wynne's Global Profit Builder
The Innovation Series: Part Two, Segment One
Innovation - The Key to the Future of Your Business
January 2007
In this issue
-- Segment Two

Because this second of a series of ten issues focusing on Innovation - the key to the future of your business requires extensive content to fully cover the subject, it was offered in two separate deliveries. (The first segment came out on December 19, 2006)

Segment Two
Compare What Is With What Isn't

(In Segment One, we explored the first five of the 10 ways to come up with new products and services. If you missed the first segment and would like to receive a copy of it, just e-mail Michael Wynne at

10 Ways to Come Up With New Products and Services

  1. Look at the best competitors in your industry and determine what they don?t do for their customers.

  2. Focus on what customers consider value

  3. Ask yourself what would be the ultimate in value

  4. Explore features that customers consider low value for possible elimination

  5. Look for areas where small increments could increase value exponentially

  6. Look for synergistic possibilities based on what is happening in a wide variety of areas such as technology, science, fashions, psychology, entertainment, and other industries.

  7. Pull a ?Star Trek?: Go where none have gone before.

  8. Explore price ranges where no offerings exist

  9. Explore adding a service to a product and a product to a service

  10. Plan to beat current innovation time frames

  1. Look for synergistic possibilities based on what is happening in a wide variety of areas such as technology, science, fashions, psychology, entertainment, and other industries. Creativity and innovation require that you constantly monitor many different areas of human progress and change.

    Adapting inventions and discoveries from other fields of business and technology has become a growing source of innovation. Look at what is being done in medicine: compared to the operating rooms of just a few years ago, today?s surgical centers look like science fiction movie sets loaded with cutting edge electronic equipment, monitors, screens, and other space- like devices.

    Science explores new frontiers of human knowledge and potential. Nanotechnology, still in its infancy, is the product of scientific research. Nanotechnology has the potential to totally change our world, even to the extent of creating new types of human beings who are part natural and part artificial. Bionic humans are no longer fiction but a scientific reality that is constantly increasing its service to the disabled.

    Technology constantly rises to meet new challenges. When downloading music to computers became the rage, Apple Computers made the concept totally portable by developing the Ipod. But, music was not enough; people wanted movies and TV programs. It wasn?t long before Apple developed the technology that enabled Ipod users to view movies and TV programs.

    Not long ago, automobile interiors were rather conventional, mundane arrangements, and all looked very much alike. Take a look at the interiors of the latest model cars; they are marvels of design and technology ? and the competition in this area is really just beginning. In coming years we will see continued innovation borrowing from fashion and furniture designs, avionics, and entertainment.

  2. Pull a ?Star Trek?: Go where none have gone before. You can?t find out what makes products sell or not sell by just sitting at your desk and staring at a computer screen. Get out!!! Realize that you are in the experience business; so, go out and experience the world yourself.

    Going beyond the actual products and services, what about the ways that they are made available to customers? Are there more ways to get your products and services to your customers? Even the most outrageous ideas may not be so outrageous. I understand that in California they have Drive- thru funeral homes; you can pay your respects as you drive by.

    Although others may have gone there before, one place where you can?t go wrong is the place where the customers go when they come into contact with your product. Walk in their shoes. Don?t ask them what they do; do what they do. Find out what your customers experience, what they feel, what they love or hate about your product, and what could and should be changed, all by experiencing it yourself.

    Personally go to overseas markets where your products are used, or are not used. Observe how they are being used and what?s different about it. Where your products are not being used, find out why and whether there would be a market for them. But, most important of all, find out what is different about the people?s needs, feelings, likes, dislikes, and customs, and how they apply to the use of your product.

    And, speaking about going where none have gone before, what about space? Would your product or service have an application in space? If you sell camping products, how might they -- with a few changes -- be helpful in an alien environment such as a space station, or a lunar base? How about personal hygiene products for use in weightless environments? Or, how about recycling systems for space waste? By the way, if I?m not mistaken, there now is a service that will even send your ashes into space.

  3. Explore price ranges where no offerings exist. Don?t assume that the existing price ranges within your industry or profession are the limits; take a look below and above them and ask yourself what kind of product or service might sell there, whether there would be a market for them, and how would they have to be sold.

    • In Mexico there are small companies that are making stripped down computers that sell for $100 US dollars. They are not comparable to what is being sold in the richer nations, but they provide the basics of computing to people who could never afford more advanced equipment.

    • And, if you didn?t already know it, would you have believed a few years ago that there would be women?s purses selling for $400 and higher?

    • A few years ago, would you have believed that mega million dollar condominiums could be sold, and that multimillion dollar ?MacMansions? would start a ?tear down? trend in established neighborhoods?

    There frequently is a market for different versions of your product or service at lower and higher prices. The lower priced version may not need all the bells and whistles of your standard product, which should lower your costs. As for the higher priced version, you may have to add to it, which will raise your cost, but this investment will definitely pay off if the market responds to the product. Proof? Look at what Toyota did with the Lexus!

  4. Explore adding a service to a product and a product to a service. If you are in a service business, ask yourself what products could your customers use with your service. Almost every service has the potential of offering products in some way.

    For example, if you are a travel agency, you know that your clients are going to have to go through security at the airport. Given the new restrictions on liquids, creams, pastes, etc., could you design a kit that carried the right things in the right proportions that would pass security inspections? If you are a college, what kinds of kits could you design for first year students who don?t know what they will and won?t need?

    If you sell a product, what services could you offer that compliment its use? If you sell shoes, could you offer a breaking-in service for the many people who love the comfort of old shoes? If you sell apparel, could you offer a training program that teaches people how to mix and match smart- looking outfits, or how to coordinate business casual outfits, and so on? Almost every product has the potential of offering services in some way.

  5. Plan to beat current innovation time frames. How long does it take you to change a tire? 15 minutes? If so, then would changing all four tires would take an hour? Mathematically, it makes sense.

    But in the real world, we go up the learning curve as we do most things. Therefore, we must assume that while you are changing the first tire you are also discovering how to do it faster so that when you advance to the second tire it only takes you maybe ten minutes, only eight minutes for the third one, and maybe only seven minutes for the fourth. Result, you will have changed all four tires in only 40 minutes. (By the way, at the Indy 500 race track they change all four tires in 12 seconds. Set your goals high even if they don't match the standards set by the pros - and I'm not talking just about changing tires.)

    No matter how long or short a previous innovation took to create and launch, you should always plan to make the next one even shorter. Make it a point to develop more efficient innovation development processes as you go along.

At the end of the first segment of this Part Two, we asked you to please give some consideration to a question that is much neglected in almost every business: Is your business model obsolete? Your customers have changed a lot since your business was started. It may be time to change your business model.

If you would like some help with this concern, contact Michael Wynne, president of International Management Consulting Associates at (530) 420 2605 or at You may also want to check our website

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