Need to grow by innovation, consider the little i versus the big I.

Need to grow by innovation? Consider the little I versus the big I. You will have a little less risk, less time to market and as a result quicker cash flow.

If innovation means product development, then it really becomes one of the key corporate growth strategies and that is we’re going to grow by developing new products. We’re going to put a whole lot of emphasis in innovation and product development. And, this is a lot of companies like to be known for something like this. This is what I call the big I of innovation. The smaller I of innovation focuses on value as an innovative factor. And, that is by improving the value that you’re providing and that come about through any number of different ways.

It can come about through improved and innovative ways of supporting the product, innovative ways of warranting the product, innovative ways of selling the product, and so on and so forth, all of which are value adding within the existing value delivery system.

It’s not a sexy as coming out with a brand new product that the market has never seen before, but it’s a lot less risky. And consequently, it can be a lot more effective and a lot more efficient in doing something like that.

Let me give you an example of that which I think is very innovative. A company that sells lawn mowers was looking at the warranty because customers talked about warranty being a very, very important critical quality factor to them. Truth be told, these warranties on these lawn mowers were typically for three years, but they were low hour mowers, meaning that the customer didn’t spend a lot of time running the mower over that three?year period.

When they looked at that, they identified within that three year warranty period that the customer spent on average on that mower was very little. They figured out that if they took it from a three year warranty to a six year warranty they would be covered under roughly the number of hours that they considered to be critical, in terms of the warranty service.

So what they were able to do there, which I thought was very innovative, was to extend the warranty period from three years to six years, and they can do it without any cost to them because the hours were still minimal in terms of what the warranty expectations were.

Now that is an example of the small i innovation, but we are also seeing it in the car business too. Extending the warranties and in so doing providing something of value to the buying public, but it is not necessarily the same as bringing in an iPad or an iPod or something like that. But how many of us have them in our back pocket?

Related Information: The 5Cs of Driving Market Share is a program developed by Dr. Eric Reidenbach of the Six Sigma Marketing Institute.  You can find out more about Dr. Reidenbach and the 5Cs at 5 Cs is also part of the Marketing with Lean Program Series.

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