Escaping the Commodity Quagmire Through Creativity

February 10, 2012 in Creativity, Culture, Differentiation

At its most fundamental, creativity is about problem-solving. Species solve the problem of survival by creating new versions of themselves. And companies solve the problem of survival by creating new products and services.

And it has been a big problem to solve. Essayist Peter Georgescu wrote on this subject in the October, 2007 edition of Fortune magazine (p. 74). In the essay, he discusses how over the past decade or so, companies have struggled against what he calls “the cancer of 21st century commerce,” which is the presence of fierce price competition as a way of differentiation to drive market share.

The problem with price competition is that it will, eventually, hit the point of diminished returns. At some point, companies will either have to learn how to make products and services stick out on the basis of what they do for consumers, or face one form of extinction or another.

The essay raises a hopeful note, which is that creativity, far from being an airy skill set, available only to the anointed, can be learned and taught. While it might at times be mysterious, it can also be planned for, cultivated and expected. And in Georgescu’s perspective, it must be for companies that wish to thrive through the rest of the century.

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Myers-Briggs Research Predicts Successful Innovators

November 18, 2011 in Creativity, Culture, Innovation, Team Improvement

Myers Brigss CIRI

Creativity Index: While few people would argue against the desirability of placing creative people in new product development project analysis positions, the question of how a firm can accurately identify creative people has been less clear. One answer is to use personality testing to assess the creativity of a firm’s personnel. One such assessment tool found to be particularly useful is the MBTI Creativity Index, or MBTI-CI .

Rainmaker index: Applying Keirsey’s theory of Temperaments resulted in developing a new “Rainmaker Index” specifically tuned to profitability from the “fuzzy front end” of new product development. According to research conducted by Greg A. Stevens, James Burley, Ph.D. and Richard Devine presented to the 1998 Research Conference at the Annual International Conference of the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA), analysts with MBTI preferences for intuition (“N”) and thinking (“T”) score highest on this index. Analysts in this grouping represented the top third of the “Rainmaker Index” and generated 95 times more profit than those in the bottom third. This compares to 11 times more profit for the analysts in the top third of the MBTI-Creativity Index which included the MBTI preferences of intuition (“N”) and feeling (“F”) in addition to the previous named grouping.

Hence, the “Rainmaker Index” further improves the identification of analysts who will identify profitable opportunities in the “fuzzy front end” of NPD by a factor of 8.6 times compared to the previously reported MBTI-CI.

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Uncontested Market Space

October 9, 2011 in Business Models, Competition, Creativity, Differentiation, Innovation, Product/Market Fit

Cirque du Soleil created new, uncontested market space with yet no agree-on industry name.

It broke the best practice rules of traditional business strategy based on competitive positioning. Instead, Cirque du Solei reconstructed elements across existing industry boundaries — eliminating, reducing, raising, and creating against traditional industry assumptions and competitive methods. The result is the achievement of both differentiation and low cost provider, achieving higher revenues with vastly improved profitability. The practice is called Blue Ocean Strategy developed by
W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne of INSEAD. Brown and Company have incorporated this practice into its value detection and business model methods.

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