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NOVEMBER 2012      



The safest way to stay successful in business is to innovate and to place the required innovative products and services into the market place at the correct point in time. In this simple statement lies a great mystery for many companies, yet it is easy to learn from those who have made a success of an innovative approach. You may be surprised where you will find innovation, and you may be surprised where you find innovation not being promoted: for sure, it is not all about high technology companies. The reality is that innovation is everywhere.

The mobile phone brought conversation to everybody at any time and anywhere: it brought the name Nokia worldwide recognition by consumers as an innovative company. However, Nokia became trapped in its own paradigm and is now falling behind.

The smart phone brought information to everyone and changed the mentality of consumers: it brought the names Samsung, Sony and i-Phone into everyday use and brought them the reputation as innovative companies.

The reality is that in many business sectors today, if you do not innovate you will fall behind, and if you fall too far behind you will go out of business. Mobile phones and smart phones were technology driven innovations which answered a customer need: they are examples of highly successful disruptive innovation.

When Southwest Airlines began operations on 18 June 1971 between the Texas cities of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio the major US air carriers did not pay them much attention, but on that day they introduced a low cost model which has now been implemented by mostly new airlines all over the globe. Today Southwest carries more passengers than any other US airline, Easyjet more passengers in Europe than any other UK airline and AirAsia is highly successful from its bases in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. The Irish airline Ryanair has established a dominant position in Europe. Further innovations such as online check-in and e-tickets followed. Legacy carriers have been forced to adapt their short haul business model in order to remain competitive with these point-to-point low cost airlines. This is another example of highly successful disruptive innovation.

These innovations were the result of a complex process of thought in which market needs were matched to new solutions to create new and highly successful products or companies. This involved the management of hard resources (buildings, equipment), structural capital (recorded knowledge) and people skills in a combination that led to success, a process only companies with an innovative culture could make happen at the grass roots level. Many long established work practices had to be abandoned and many holy cows slaughtered.

The reality is quite simple to grasp. Successful innovation is the future guarantor of success in business, and ultimately also of job retention. A culture supporting innovation requires to be present in the organization for successful innovation to take place. This means that many organizations must undergo a significant and permanent change process in order to survive and to prosper.

Gordon McConnachie 2012 All Rights Reserved

Director and Chief Technology Officer,
APICC Hong Kong,

Tel: +-852- 2503 - 1383
Cell: +-66-8-9923-5110
e-mail: gordon@gmcconnachie.com

    Founding Board Chairman,
The IA Centre,

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Dr. Gordon McConnachie
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