• Lemonade – Making Insurance Cool and “Socially Impactful”

    Apparently technological disruption can make any industry trendy and cool – even insurance. Startup company Lemonade is being described by users as “instant,” “fun,” and contributing to “social good”. All this about a company that sells renters and homeowners insurance online. Launched in 2016, Lemonade is based on an artificial-intelligence platform and describes itself as…

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  • What? You also want PROFITS with that Innovation?

    Being an innovative company is pretty exhilarating. But so are profits, and if you’re the CEO of a public company you’d better figure out how to balance both – or risk losing your job. A recent Forbes article presents a cautionary tale of harmonizing the two using GE as a case study. Customers want new…

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  • The Secret Link between Chuck E. Cheese, Pong, and Apple

    What do Chuck E. Cheese, Atari, and Steve Jobs have in common? Believe it or not, Atari (remember Pong?) and Chuck E. Cheese were both started by the same person – Nolan Bushnell. And Steve Jobs worked for Nolan Bushnell at Atari as a technician in quality control before he left to start Apple. Listen…

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  • Dreamy Innovation is Good; Actual Profit is Even Better

    Some companies generate big, creative, transformational ideas, but the ideas stall and never seem to get off the ground. While other companies turn more of their crazy ideas into actual products – that generate revenue. Google, Apple, and Amazon are examples: we know Google and Apple are innovative, but Amazon seems to bring more big…

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  • Innovation Clairvoyance

    We’ve all heard it – innovation is the lifeblood of any business. Innovation may be hard to manage (as discussed in Forbes), but it’s not impossible. Companies have to choose wisely when spending time, money, and resources on innovation. This may even mean saying “no” to great ideas in order to focus on the best…

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  • Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable with your Competitive Advantage

    Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable with your Competitive Advantage Competitive advantage – once you attain it you’ve completed your task and your business is set for the long-term. Right? But as we discuss in our classes – you don’t “arrive” and you’re never “there”. It’s a constant process. Markets change, customer needs and wants evolve, and…

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  • Innovation Outside the Ivory Tower

    Innovation Outside the Ivory Tower Great inventors and innovators seem heroic, solitary, driven by insights far beyond the capacity of ordinary humans. Or were they, to some degree, just in the right place at the right time? In a recent article in the WSJ, author Matt Ridley notes that 23 people had invented some type…

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  • June 2015 – Get Lost. (in the details)

    Get Lost (in the details) Customer experience is often impacted by “small stuff”. So maybe you should sweat the small stuff after all. Faulty door handles on Tesla’s cars, a frustrating radio interface in Fords, and impossible-to-read serial numbers on Bosch dishwashers. Sometimes it’s the seemingly unimportant things that wind up ruining the customer experience. Are you missing any boring little…

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  • January 2015 – Amazon Plays with Fire (Phone)

    Amazon Plays with Fire (Phone) A wait-and-see approach can help a company avoid the hazards of being a First Mover in a new, untested market space. But you can also miss an opportunity by being too late to market. A recent example is the Fire Phone. Amazon was not a First Mover or a Fast…

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  • March 2014 – Trolls: Good or Bad for Business?

    Trolls: Good or Bad for Business? Here’s a cost you probably haven’t budgeted for – trolls. We’re not talking about the cute ones from “The Billy Goats Gruff”, but Patent Trolls (a.k.a. patent assertion entities). These are businesses that claim that a patent they own has been infringed. They offer the targeted company a choice…

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