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Volume 27, Issue 3

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September 18, 2013

Skinning The Innovation Cat

There are many ways to skin a cat. The same can be said of innovation. When I mention innovation in conversation, people generally think about a process of making a product bigger, faster, better, or stronger. However, product improvement is just one type of innovation. Innovation can target the process around creating a product, resulting in lower costs such as the "lean manufacturing" innovations from the automobile company Toyota. Innovation can target improvements in the design of marketing materials, creating a more emotionally appealing advertising campaign and resulting in higher revenue. Marketing innovation has been used by numerous firms over the years to reinvigorate their concepts and company. Samsung designed their Bordeaux television line after being inspired by a wine glass. They have been on the top of the television market ever since. Innovation can even mean cultural innovation in which the culture of the company changes and innovates to come in line with a newly updated corporate vision increasing employee loyalty, retention, and overall happiness. Innovation has many faces.
 
My friend and Forrester colleague Rick Holland recently introduced me to a very interesting and innovative company that is currently in the process of disrupting a very old and stale, and nearly monopolistic, market. In 2010, the Internet glasses company Warby Parker realized that they could significantly improve the process of buying glasses. Warby was founded by David Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal on the premise of creating an online eyewear retailer that sold high-end specs for sub-$100 prices.
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