Book Review by Neil Rainey of Neil’s Books What is it really and is it worth the effort? In this review of “Digital Transformation – Build Your Organisation’s Future for The Innovation Age” by Lindsay Herbert, Neil gives us an insight into the key topics and learnings. What does REAL Digital Transformation look like? Do not assume everyone understands the same thing when they hear “Digital Transformation”. It is a powerful concept, often misunderstood. Digital Transformation is about finding the new business as usual. It takes the right people with the right attitudes and mindsets to get there. Real Digital Transformation is about the organisation’s ability to be able to react to use new processes, technologies and ways of working. Most organisations are slow to react and bogged down. Real Digital Transformation breaks down the barriers of hierarchical inertia and creates real adaptability. New devices, platforms, ways of working and processesContinue Reading

The importance of innovation to help a firm stay ahead of its competitors is a regular topic for business and academic texts. Connecting innovation to purpose is about ensuring the magic of innovation is resonating deeply in the emotional drivers and values of staff responsible for ensuring its success. This is aligned to the question Simon Sinek asks when he says “Start with Why”. He writes about how leaders make the connection between an idea and what drives or motivates them (individual purpose). “Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.“ Simon Sinek – Start With Why 2011 Innovation is the way that successful companies grow. Innovation is the way new products and services are identified, provenContinue Reading

the pandemic pivot

The impact of the pandemic and the associated economic recession is touching businesses around the world. Most are facing major changes in customer behaviour. Impacts to supply chains and challenges with sales channels. In these troubling times some companies will fail and others will apply the pandemic pivot to transform through innovative opportunities. By now most firms have assessed their business strategy and considered vulnerabilities and if there is an opportunity to pivot existing operations to address new demand. Where these pandemic pivot opportunities exist, which markets and segments can be best addressed. Strike a Balance Executives and strategy teams look at how to best set the firm up for success and experience shows that taking a very strong position either in defensive (cost cutting) or offensive (acquisition and growth) is likely to lead to poor results. A HBR study in found that those firms that struck the right balanceContinue Reading

Turning ideas into reality requires more than persistence, as this article explains it is much more like practical innovation magic. Innovation is taking a great idea to make a change to a process, product or to improve performance. Often the most brilliant novel ideas are the hardest for others to understand the potential. If others can’t immediately see the upside then often it can be harder to get support, resources and funding. This is often referred to as the Innovators Dilemma. Furr et al conducted over 100 interviews with innovative leaders including: Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX), Marc Benioff (, Shantanu Narayen (Adobe), Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo), Mark Parker (Nike) and Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn). They analysed and distilled the processes these leaders used to build the support. As well as the resources required to be successful. They then codified these tools and practices into what they refer toContinue Reading

Understanding the opportunity can be best understood by specifying what type of innovation you are talking about. This article explores three types of innovation, largely developed on work from Harvard Professor and renowned writer on innovation Clayton Christensen. Efficiency Efficiency explores how to deliver improvements to how a company operates based its existing business model. It is not about changing the model, rather addressing the systems and processes within the organisation that can be improved such as operations, logistics etc. Advantages: Lower level of risk, speed to apply and benefit, predictable outcomesDisadvantages: Does not provide any protection from disruption or assist the company transform to meet future demands. Sustaining Sustaining explores the organisations business models, investigating ways to strengthen and grow. Typically sustaining innovation is in the area of new products and services or addressing new markets. Advantages: Lower levels of risk, focused on competition and delivering financial benefits. ShortContinue Reading

Good product strategy enables effective and efficient decision making. Effective product strategy lowers decision fatigue and simultaneously creates the psychological safety to make critical decisions. What Is Decision Fatigue? According to Adam Thomas “Decision fatigue, then, refers to the tendency of our decision-making ability to deteriorate in quality over the course of a long session”. He goes on to point out the importance of Decision Fatigue, given that the entire role of Product Management is about prioritising and making critical decisions. Every decision made is a choice and has a cost. As you move down a decision tree each following decision inherits the implications of previous decisions, no matter the current merit or relevance. The process gets harder over time and when we struggle with decisions we get more fatigued. Product Strategy Should Make Decision Making Easier. This article is not about explaining what needs to go into a product strategy,Continue Reading


While it doesn’t sound like the most obvious approach there are a number of tools that business leaders can take and apply from comedians. But the approach doesn’t require you to try and be funny, rather by better understanding how comedians do their job, leaders can learn techniques to be better at theirs. Comedians use an arsenal of cognitive tools to develop a repertoire, one of these is what Peter McGraw author of Shtick Business refers to as “benign violation” this premise of the incongruous is when a violation (say of social norms or laws of physics) intersects with harmlessness, (or at least acceptability). An example is where comedian Chris Rock says, “I love being famous. It’s almost like being white, y’know?” he hits an unexpected contrast and people find if funny. That unexpected contrast is something that McGraw is encouraging leaders to explore an MIT study in 2011 foundContinue Reading

The innovation sweet spot is achieving the perfect combination of innovation brilliance. Alignment between the viability, desirability, feasibility and integrity. Desirability (Human) – the latent demand for this product or service. Do people really want it and will it add value Viability (Business) – can you deliver the product or service and can it scale to meet projected demand. Is the business model commercially viable and sustainable. Feasibility (Technology) – captures the technical debility as well as the technical and operational risk associated with building the product or solution. Integrity (Impact) – this could be summed as the point of difference, it captures contribution that this product or service provides to more broadly to its community. Don’t mix up the criteria – by understanding each of the criteria of the opportunity you can understand its desirability, do-ability, and feasibility. The integrity or impact on the community may outweighed by shortContinue Reading

Management Consultants have made an art form out of delivering insights and advice into how to deal with disruption in industries. Now Consulting itself is being disrupted and the changes are significant. “Disruptive Innovation” a term coined by Clayton Christensen in 1995 was used to refer to the radical changes that caused a step change across an industry. Industries like manufacturing, music, television, advertising, airlines, publishing and many more have all been through disruptive innovation. The underlying economics of how that specific industry made money and sustained itself suddenly changed and in many cases new entrants were in a much stronger position than the incumbents.. Management Consulting is a $200B+ industry but it is mainly human driven, it is built on hiring intellectual capacity (brilliance), methodology, polish and global industry knowledge. BCG, McKinsey, Bain and others hire the brightest and most technical business school students and this can be shownContinue Reading

Cultural Innovation is not just about building a better mousetrap, rather it is driven by deeply connecting customers with a brands ideology, which in turn has transformed the the value proposition and reinvented the category. Why is innovation so hard? Why do companies who have have incredibly talented teams struggle to innovate and create a sustainable innovative new product? This article explores the challenges with large corporate innovation. Procter & Gamble a company renowned for driving what it refers to as ‘constructive disruption’ has designed a process that aligns closely to a startup with venture funding, support from tech entrepreneurs and a lean probe and learn prototyping process. But even with this best in class approach to corporate innovation the process is not exactly delivering huge results – the most recent P&G offering was a ‘Smart Pampers Diaper’ (nappy) that signals a change is needed! “Build a better mousetrap, andContinue Reading