The Sacred Cows -
The Importance of Strategic Innovation
Innovation fuels growth, injects new energy
your company growth on a plateau? Is it difficult to differentiate yourself
from the competition? Has your company served up the same set of offerings
for over a year without really changing the menu? Is senior management
preaching the same old mantra? Are they ready to do whatever it takes
to create a vision of the future by stressing innovation and corporate
Tough questions, to be sure. Answering these questions honestly and
openly is the first step in recognizing the importance of strategic
innovation. Many companies can benefit from shining a harsh, bright
light on itself. All it takes is an open mind, some courage, and a little
The Danger of Sacred Cows
Real strategic innovation calls for creative business managers. The
best managers recognize the importance of reinvention and innovation
as ways to protect itself from institutionalized "sacred cows".
Sacred cows are everywhere; old technologies, archaic processes, tired
products and services, and even complacent management.
Do you see any sacred cows worth overhauling in your organization? Whats
stopping you from recommending something new and different for your
The best leaders in business are never afraid to ask questions like:
1: Who are our customers today, and what will they look like tomorrow?
2: What can we do differently today to ensure our customers will continue
to buy from us in the future?
3: What trends can we develop competencies in today so we can be recognized
as market leaders tomorrow?
4: What emerging technologies will drive new and more profitable markets,
and how can we take advantage of them to leapfrog our competition?
5: Who is best suited to lead us in these new initiatives?
The goal of ongoing strategic innovation should be to identify opportunities
for future growth. This process is as important to the current health
of the company as it is to its future. Companies that are committed
to seeking out future growth opportunities will ultimately dominate
their chosen markets. It comes down to commitment, vision, and a passion
For many managers and companies, these are revealing exercises. Soul
searching requires brutal honesty, a willingness to listen to new ideas,
and a mindset that encourages "big thinking". Innovation fuels
growth, injects new energy into companies, and lights the way towards
profitable new revenue opportunities. Kill some sacred cows, and thrive!
© Tom Donoghue June 2003
About the Author -
Tom Donoghue is business marketing professional based in Chicago. Tom
helps companies of all sizes identify strategic innovation opportunities,
new product development, and fresh marketing ideas. Toms email address
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