In a former life working to help launch Apple Pay, I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know John Rethans, Global Digital Strategist with Apigee/Google. Given the conversations I’ve had with him over the years, I wasn’t surprised to see his article recently in Forbes When Innovation Centers Don’t Innovate.
Interestingly, the theme of the article plays directly into a Dilbert cartoon a colleague left on my desk in December … both the article and the cartoon describe a concern I had when I took my Strategy role. I’ve had experiences in the past where the Strategy or Innovation folks were disconnected from the organization. To paraphrase a quote I’ve heard, they were were so heavenly focused (head in the clouds) they were no earthly good (no practical application).
Having read both The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen, as well as McKinsey’s new book Strategy Beyond the Hockey Stick, I am fully aware innovation is an absolutely necessary part of what we do as Product Management Leaders. The title to the post comes from Steve Job, who said it this way …
If you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will.
But the efforts must deliver value to the core business while at the same time not becoming a distraction to the core business.