Car Wash - Spring 2014 - (Page 89)
LEADERS CAN FIND
BY DR. CHUCK BAMFORD
DOES A COMPANY really need to
innovate? This is one of the questions I
am asked on a fairly regular basis. There
are many folks who firmly believe that
simply by sticking with the basics they
hold the key to success. While the basics
are important, show me a company that
doesn't think that they have to innovate
and I'll show you a company that will be
crushed by their competition, or more
likely by the competition they didn't see
on the horizon.
Innovation must be a core capability
of any company that wants to sustain an
advantage in the marketplace. This applies
all the more to successful large companies
who despite years of success can't quite
figure out why the old models don't yield
big gains anymore. They feel that they are
just as innovative as they used to be, are
spending more money trying to invigorate
their employees than they used to spend,
and yet the dollar volume of sales from products/services launched in the past five years
(a standard metric for internal growth) is
either decreasing or stagnant.
This is a painful and difficult problem
for management to address, however history
and research have some effective suggestions. See the sidebar to the right to take a
look at two very different companies and the
approach they used to take their business
in a new direction.
Everyone knows the Google story. It
became clear years ago that Google had
developed a sustainable and successful business model. Whirlpool is a bit more interesting, as it is a 100-plus-year-old company that
makes "white goods" - washers, dryers,
refrigerators, dishwashers, you get the picture.
Their innovation efforts have been nothing
short of miraculous. Sales from new product
ideas less than five years old was less than $30
million in 2002, by 2006 it was more than $1.2
billion. In the premium front-loading washer
category, Whirlpool went from a market share
of zero to more than 20 percent in three years.
1. Research studies repeatedly find that innovation programs have to be pushed from
the top down despite the fact that the ideas
will flow the other way.
2. Employees left without a mandate that
has payroll implications will tend to use
activity as a replacement for innovation.
It is much easier to simply do what one
has always done rather than take a risk on
3. Innovation has to be focused on what the
company has as its core capabilities; all
innovation is not good innovation. An early
unfocused "innovation team" at Whirlpool
created an Internet business that would let
people race one another on the Internet on
stationary bikes. Needless to say, it didn't
draw on any of the company's capabilities
and was quickly shut down.
4. Finally, practical results must be visible
and impactful to the company.
Innovation changes the status of the company in the marketplace. YES, every company
must innovate. History suggests that those companies that innovate are rewarded in both the
consumer marketplace and stock market.
1. Ideas come from everyone in the company - even the finance team.
2. Open information on every project -
every idea, every deadline.
3. Favor intelligence over experience.
4. Get a free day a week to innovate -
50 percent of new products come from
5. Innovation, not instant perfection -
use small beta tests.
6. Don't politic for your idea -
use data - eliminate "I like"
for real data.
7. Give people a vision, rules how to get
there and deadlines -
creativity loves constraints.
8. Make it simple to use and easy to love
- the money will follow this.
9. Don't kill projects, morph them -
there is always a kernel of
1. Stick with it - it took six years to
attain a big payback.
2. Innovation alone is not enough -
needed operational excellence
3. Leverage learning -
change begets more change -
people get better at it.
4. Question orthodoxies -
challenge the conventional wisdom.
5. Be highly practical - inventions
have to be something someone
THE CAR WASH
IN CHICAGO, MARCH 31 - APRIL 2.
The sessions are available to All Access pass holders. Check
carwashshow.com or The Car Wash Show mobile app for the most
current session times and information.
SPRING 2014 | CAR WASH MAGAZINE | WWW.CARWASH.ORG |
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Car Wash - Spring 2014
Letter From the ICA
Meet the Board
By the Numbers
Look Out! Self-Driving Cars Heading Your Way
On the Road, but Still Online
Finding Your Way Through the Mobile Landscape
Take a Tour
Stay Ahead of the Curve
Car Wash Industry Celebrates Centennial Milestone
ICA 2013 Annual Report
Getting to the Point of Biometrics
Fighting for Innovation
Take It From Tech: Entrepreneurial Lessons Courtesy of Google
You Don’t Have to Fail
The Innovator’s DNA
Emerging Russian Car Wash Industry Faces Challenges
Rise to the Top
Does a Company Really Need to Innovate?
Watersavers Program Reaches Out During Drought
Blast From the Past
Index of Advertisers
Focus on the Member
Car Wash - Spring 2014