Innovation Mental Block #2

Continuing on the subject of mental blocks. Being unable to see a new dimension is another of such blocks.

Market leadership is a great position to have, but also one that can cement you into an ‘incrementalist’ state of mind. An example would be that of Coca-Cola three decades ago. Not because I like bashing the company, but in this case, they make a great example.

Innovation was products like Vanilla, Cherry or Lite. In how many dimensions can you innovate in non-alcoholic, out-of-home beverages? So you keep your radar towards Pepsi, Dr Pepper and fruit juice people. By the way, that clear focus on competition caused the painful New vs Classic Coke drama. Do take a look at New Coke, a must-read on corporate battles.

But back to the extra dimension. If a market researcher would have been really, really good, and she would have warned about a new and threatening dimension looming ahead, she would have been laughed out of Coke’s head office in Atlanta: “Two teachers and a writer setting up a beverage outlet named after a secondary character out of Moby Dick. In a place 2,000 miles from here! So what!!”

Well, these guys had figured out the new dimension, they saw what the people at Coke could not see. After their visionary expansion after WW2, Coke themselves had become incrementalist. And in 2017 Coke’s turnover declined to $ 35 billion, and Starbucks’ increased to $ 22 billion. Pretty hefty new dimension!

Next week a third installment on mental blocks in business innovation.


And the answer to the tree trunk riddle?

It is easy if you ‘see’ the extra dimension

But you must be willing to accept that it is outside your comfort zone.

Mental blocks when developing innovation
Three articles by Jeroen de Kempenaer:
  1. Innovation is difficult! Often because of ourselves, we all have our mental blocks. Like looking at things from the wrong angle.
  2. Continuing on the subject of mental blocks. Being unable to see a new dimension is another of such blocks.
  3. The third installment on the subject of mental blocks. Being lured into making wrong assumptions.

jeroen de kempenaer philips innovation services

Jeroen de Kempenaer
Value propositions, business modeling, business cases, road mapping, portfolio management

Find more information about developing innovations with winning business models ›

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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