About the Guide

This guide teaches a framework to repeatedly drive innovation in any company, regardless of context.

It does not waste time on motivational speeches or creativity exercises to help you break through walls. We outline what you need to know to make responsible growth decisions with no fluff.

Most innovation content focuses on leadership, creativity, and trends. These components are critical but don’t do much for the thousands of companies stuck with seemingly endless choices amidst a multitude of competitors.

This guide is different. I’ve seen how innovation works at top companies for the past 20 years. When it has worked well, innovation efforts have been supported by robust data that drives consensus across the company. This guide is the summation of the data processes that I’ve learned and refined over my career.

Using This Guide:

This guide outlines a process of discovery for the 8 most important factors that go into making decisions about growth and innovation.

While the individual step can stand on its own, this process works best when completed in order.

Experts in innovation and growth understand how these factors relate. The average company, on the other hand, may take one or two of these factors and analyze them in a vacuum. They tend to look at their core and immediate competition then jump into developing a proposal for growth.

To help you understand the relationship and sequence between step, we detail each below.

I. Understand Your Business Landscape Customer Competition Capabilities Context
II. Measure Your Company Core
III. Discover Existing Experts Corollaries
IV. Assess Capital Capital
V. Balance, Assess and Repeat the Process Cadence

Step 1

Understand Your Current Business Landscape

I. Customer

The customer is the most important thing to your business. Understand all customers internal and external to your business: investors, leaders in your business, peers, team members, direct reports, our bodies, our minds.

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II. Competition

Being customer obsessed does not mean that you take your eye off the competition. It means you watch the competition closer than ever. Understand your traditional, emerging and new market competitors.

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III. Capabilities

Capabilities include people, processes, technology, culture and capital. To understand the opportunities available to you and your organization, you must first understand the capabilities that exist in the world. Explore the human, cultural, technical and financial capabilities that must be present to successfully drive change and win customers.

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IV. Context

In the modern economy, assumptions can be lethal. Five years ago, would you routinely hop into a stranger’s car or rent out their apartment in a new city? The modern business context is filled with new behaviors that are now predicted to be the future of everything. These new businesses have established entirely new categories of solutions and, in doing so, altered the social, legal, and political context in which the consumer operates.

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Step 2:

Measure and Analyze Your Company’s Core

V. Core

It is only after we explore the world around us that we should measure ourselves. Without this context, we risk pandering to our egos, the company’s strengths, or the current bottom line. It is important to understand the business realities before you take a cold, hard look at your abilities as an individual, team and company.

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Step 3

Discover Experts and Organizations That Have Solved the Problem Before

VI. Corollaries

The fastest way to solve a problem is to use an existing solution. Thankfully, most problems have solutions if you reduce the problem to its root cause. Find the people who have solved your problems before and hire them. If possible, find the technology that solves your problem and license, rent or acquire it.

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Step 4

Determine What Capital is Needed and How To Obtain It

VII. Capital

The customer is the sole focus of your resources — and capital is your primary resource. Everything else is derived from capital: people, culture, technology, risks and opportunities. Dive into how to acquire capital and how to allocate it across projects.

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Step 5

Define Your Cadence to Balance, Assess and Repeat the Process

VIII. Cadence

While every piece of research and insight gleaned from the 8Cs is precious to your company’s growth, the most important part of the process is determining how you will share the data and how often you benchmark your company’s performance. Dive into the reporting, governance, portfolio assessment and timing associated with the 8Cs.

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