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Killing The Sacred Cows -
The Importance of Strategic Innovation
Tom Donoghue
Innovation fuels growth, injects new energy into companies

Is 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 overhaul?
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 innovative thinking.

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? What’s stopping you from recommending something new and different for your company?
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 leading.

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. Tom’s email address is


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