CREATING COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Twelve innovation strategies permit catalyzing open innovation processes so that innovation moves out of the confi nes of R&D labs and becomes integral to the way companies design their futures.
OVERVIEW: Innovation strategy helps a company in three ways: exciting its customers, outperforming competitors, and building a new productportfolio. The literature describes many frameworks for innovation strategy but offers little detail about how to implement them. This paper identifi es 12 ways of visualizing innovation strategies: platform offering, co-creation, cycle time reduction, brand value enhancement, technology leveraging, future-proofi ng, lean development, partnering, innovation mutation, creative destruction, marketsegmentation, and acquisition. These strategies allow 100 leading global companies to dominate their markets and outperform the competition through innovation.
KEY CONCEPTS: innovation strategy, customer excitement, competitive leadership, portfolio enrichment.
Enormous strategic opportunities are emerging as we stand at the intersection of increasing globalization, rapid technology changes andnewer lifestyles (1). Innovation has become the major differentiator in the competitive race (2) and innovative companies have learned to sustain themselves over long periods of time. Companies like Bayer, GE, IBM, P&G, Siemens, and Unilever, as well as newer companies such as Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Nokia have also mastered the mantra of sustained growth and rewritten the rulesof the game through a series of innovation strategies (3).
The literature identifi es a number of strategy frameworks that successful companies have used to create innovative business models, products and services and use them to create competitive advantage. These include:
* Market leadership (4)
* Fast cycle time (5)
* First-mover advantage (6 )
* Customer experience management (7 )* Business model innovation (8)
* Co-creation (9)
* Disruptive innovation (10)
* Value chain analysis (11)
* Blue Ocean strategy (12)
* Life cycle approach (13)
* Open Innovation (14)
* Bottom of the pyramid (15)
The literature shows that strategies of innovation help a company in three ways (16 ):
* Providing new offerings or experiences that excite the customer.
* Stayingahead of the competition in the marketplace.
* Entering into new market segments or creating new businesses.
The presence of so many different frameworks for strategic innovation can be confusing, and it would help if we could distill some basic guidelines from all of these approaches.
This paper aims to develop a set of strategies based on a study of 100 innovative global companies (17,18).From an analysis of these companies, we identify a set of 12 powerful strategies to help executives visualize and gener ate effective strategic conversations within any organization so that they can make innovation a reality. We establish linkages between innovation and strategic dimensions for competitive advantage. We help executives connect with examples from business history and engage with thepower of the 12 innovation strategies and their business contexts.
Basis of the Study
We selected the 100 fi rms from various sectors considered innovative by combining the Boston Consulting Group's list of top 100 innovative companies and the UK Dept. of Trade and Industry 2007 global R&D scoreboard (Table 1). We used three criteria for identifying the innovativeness of a fi rm:
* Thefi rm created an innovative product, service, or business model.
* The innovation impacted the business in a positive manner.
* Patents have been granted for the innovation.
The objective of the study was to identify innovation processes and practices in the 100 innovative companies. The study covered four major aspects:
* Leadership support for innovation
* Fostering an innovative...