Saturday, June 15, 2013
Innovation Zeitgeist: Digital Business Transformation in a World of Too Many Competitors is now up and downloadable for $2.99 at Amazon as a Kindle book. I have also reformatted my first Kindle book, Silicon Valley Poems.
The genesis of this book was actually quite surprising to me. It was customer demand driven as opposed to author driven. I participate in a MeetUp group on Product Management run by Francis Kurupacheril. I put together a presentation on strategic product management (available at http://www.eclicktick.com/Davidson%20Strategic%20Product%20Management%20Presentation.pdf ) which I presented on April 9, 2013.
A friend, Jeremy Hill read the presentation and immediately suggested that I should turn it into a book and so two months later, it is published. Innovation Zeitgeist is my fifth book, four of which have been around strategy, technology and innovation. In some ways it's the most interesting because it represents a progression from my earlier books. My first book, Seizing the Future, dealt with the importance of technology in changing strategy and policy choices. My second book, Riding the Tiger, addressed the narrower question of information management strategy. It was particularly authoritative because one of the three authors, Harvey Gellman had been the first person to buy a computer in Canada, while my partner, Mary Chung and I had been doing interesting work in strategic planning tools and artificial intelligence. My third book, Turn Around! was focused on software development and business development choices for software companies.
Innovation Zeitgeist is more encompassing than Turn Around! or Riding the Tiger. It was triggered by a number of observation that I had made working with clients and startups over the past decade.
The first observation was that it was increasingly difficult to do a startup or develop a next generation product in a large business without running into the problem that many other organizations were developing similar products.
The second observation was that if you try to choose a product or service, increasingly it's a very challenging task. There are just too many to evaluate.
The third observation was that engineers and developers are often a poor model of a potential buyer. In many product categories, customers care little about the features that developers have sweated over. In many cases, the customer would prefer a service or a solution rather than buying a product.
The fourth observation, which I borrowed from Joe Pine, author of Mass Customization, is that for some product categories, experiential marketing is the most powerful way of influencing customers. REI offers courses to teach you about a sport and let you try out equipment. That's likely to be far more affecting than seeing a piece of equipment in a store.
The fifth observation was based upon research by Bob Cooper (McMaster University, author of Winning at New Products). His research has suggested over several decades of work that the most important predictor of new product success is offering a differentiated high product. Yet differentiation is the single most difficult task in a Zeitgeist world. New methods of differentiation need to be though about.