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No Homers May 2, 2010

Posted by bernardrosauer in Uncategorized.


I was speaking with the head of a large insurance company this past week and we got to the topic of innovation.  All of this led to a conversation about home runs and baseball.  Hang on.

When I was younger, I thought that all innovation had to be disruptive.  Why?  It’s the kind of change my leaders and shareholders were looking for.  Something big!  Something new!  I was happy to follow because I figured that if I could crack the code and deliver the innovation I would be admired and promoted.  I was confident in my creative brilliance.

Later, I learned that most organizations that depend on disruptive innovation fail to innovate at all.  A few become spectacularly successful, true, and those are the ones we read about and often wish to but can’t emulate.   But the vast majority of them just end up slugging through the years the way they always have and become increasingly frustrated with their inability to innovate or ‘move the needle’.   In some cases, maybe most, in-fighting becomes the norm.  Unaddressed, the infighting becomes part of the culture.  

In that system, the tenured employees are labeled as unwilling to change and the newer employees, who are generally more enthusiastic, are labeled as ignorant of both past attempts and reality.  The organizations that struggle with this just moves along at a frustratingly slow pace. 

I also learned that ‘brilliance’ wasnt something that I had in me…. at least not as it pertains to disruptive innovation and the customer experience.

Back to Home Runs 

We weren’t around in the Babe Ruth days, but we have witnessed the steroid bolstered home run hitting machines of the late 80’s and early 90’s.   While impressive, how many of the teams with a slugger won championships?    And if a team with a slugger did win a championship, was it because of the home runs or was it the game, both offensively and defensively, that the team was able to put together?

If your goal was to win a championship with a team of people, what kind of game would you inspire.  Smart walks, singles, doubles, sacrifice flies at the right time?  Would you want to be able to chip away at the opponent, constantly finding innovative ways of exploiting their weaknesses?  Or, would you rely on The Babe to get things done?

Convert the theme here from sports to your company.  And convert the players to processes and products.  As we search for the next big thing, maybe we’re overlooking 3 smaller things that will enhance the customer experience or limit costs.    Those are the base hits, walks and steals.  Don’t overlook them.  Added together, they’re the stuff of champions.    Home runs help, but they are just part of a much bigger gameplan.

Please call me today if your organization needs help understanding how to become an innovator and earn long term profits the right/healthy way.  

Bernard Rosauer

President, Rosauer Consulting, LLC





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