The great myths of corporate innovation

Alexander Mahr General, Opinion

Reading Time: 5 minutes Recently, I have written about ‘why’ your company should invest heavily in innovation, even in recession times. Now, the obvious next question is ‘how’. Let’s start with some lessons learned on ‘how not to’. In my career, I have seen some very persistent myths of corporate innovation over and over again and it is time to bring them to an …

Why Thomas Cook failed (the Digital Transformation)

Jan Sedlacek General

Reading Time: 9 minutes At 2:00 a.m. on Monday the 23rd of September, our 178 year old employer, travel advisor, hotelier, airliner and frenemy –Thomas Cook– passed away after 20 years of terminal illness. Here is why. The name of the illness: Disruption I really think that there are some striking lessons to be learned for a lot of companies in other industries, that have …

The walking (digital) dead – A story of corporate innovation

Jan Sedlacek General

Reading Time: 9 minutes Corporations are a curious thing: On the one hand they’re really good at running their business, which is why they exist and where they make money. On the other hand, they want to innovate new business models, which is not why they exist and where they lose money… As the guys who make the money hold a stronger hand than …

Disruptieren Sie sich selber. Und tun Sie es jetzt!

Jan Sedlacek General, German, Opinion

Reading Time: 3 minutes Haben Sie sich schon einmal gefragt, ob Ihre eigene Firma disruptiert werden wird? Wenn ja ist es vielleicht schon zu spät. Die Frage impliziert nämlich, dass Ihnen und anderen bereits klar geworden ist, wie Ihr Geschäft disruptiert werden könnte, z.b. weil Startups in Ihrem Sektor erste Achtungserfolge erzielen. Aber wenn sich abzeichnet, wie Disruption passieren könnte bleibt nur eine Frage …

«I am very critical when it comes to Silicon Valley safaris»

Jan Sedlacek General Leave a Comment

Reading Time: 4 minutes Customer-oriented, keen to experiment and networked – Jan Sedlacek, co-founder of business consultancy Stryber, knows what makes successful executives in the digital age. In an interview with the renowned think tank GDI, he explains why this is less about skills than about the way of thinking. GDI: Why do many companies have difficulties in using digitization to their advantage? Jan …

Modern device. Energetic vigorous smart woman showing finger while smirking and staring at screen

What does digitization really mean? – A framework for practitioners

Jan Sedlacek General Leave a Comment

Reading Time: 4 minutes “Digitization” seems to be the master keyword to unlock just about any business conversation these days, it’s literally omnipresent. And yet there is no established definition. The original meaning of the term was converting analogue signals into binary ones. The prime example of that meaning was digitizing music to CDs. However, this narrow definition does not do justice to the …

Aspects of digitization: Systemic Customer Centricity

Jan Sedlacek General Leave a Comment

Reading Time: 2 minutes What is very unique to Digital innovation is that the underlying technology also enabled something alien for quite many traditional businesses: Systemic customer centricity. There is nothing romantic in a humanist kind of way in that, no: It’s very simply that technology turns customer intimacy into a competitive advantage and hence an edge of growth or margin. This is unprecedented …

Digitalization Cultural Change

Aspects of digitization: Cultural transformation & organization

Jan Sedlacek General Leave a Comment

Reading Time: < 1 minute Many automation initiatives turn out not to be as easy to implement as initially thought because they face internal resistance. That’s when many organizations realize that there is also an important aspect of a cultural transformation to digitization. Hence they start to “work on” their culture, e.g. through management tours through Silicon Valley, the hiring of agile coaches, the introduction of …

IT Process

Aspects of digitization: Systems & process transformation

Jan Sedlacek General Leave a Comment

Reading Time: < 1 minute Progress in becoming more digital is most easily achieved by automating existing processes or products, may be mixed in with some UX improvements that come in handy along the way. But there is usually a clear cut business case for cost reduction behind those initiatives with a quick and easy to calculate return of investment. This explains why “digitization” today …

Aspects of digitization: Business model innovation

Jan Sedlacek General Leave a Comment

Reading Time: < 1 minute Once organizations start to have an internal awareness of the fundamental changes going on through the digitization, they start to look outside their walls (e.g. through “Open Innovation”) and discover that there are alternative ways of thinking about their own business. It’s usually startups or products of large tech companies, which start to directly attack parts of the legacy business …

Aspects of digitization: Technology innovation

Jan Sedlacek General Leave a Comment

Reading Time: < 1 minute Technology innovation is driven by exploring what is technologically just feasible at a given time. It often stems from fundamental research in any field of science, without use cases in mind in the first place. Technology innovation is not the defining element for succeeding in a digital environment, but it’s a prerequisite to make the evolution of new digital models …

Navigating Corporate Innovation

Alexander Mahr General, Opinion Leave a Comment

Reading Time: 5 minutes As new business models hit more and more industries in an increasing pace, incumbents are challenged to respond. And they do respond. However, from an outsider’s point of view, this can often look a bit funny. Steve Blank, adjunct professor at Stanford, coined the phrase “innovation theater” referring to corporate innovation programs failed to achieve top or bottom line impact. …

When is the right time to disrupt yourself?

Jan Sedlacek General, Opinion Leave a Comment

Reading Time: 5 minutes Well, the only correct answer to this question is: Right now! But it’s the wrong question. Yesterday we’ve been asked about the best timing for disruption for the second time this week (which was on Tuesday), by a senior manager of a large corporation. That’s why we’ve decided to share some thoughts on this. It seems to us that timing their …

Why Kuoni failed (the digital transformation)

Jan Sedlacek General Leave a Comment

Reading Time: 8 minutes The ultimate confession of failure On the 5th of November 2015 the Kuoni group announced that it would lay off 350 people and also replace CEO Peter Meier, just one and a half years after his appointment. This happened in the context of making public continuously bad figures, for which Meier is to be blamed far less than his predecessors. Rumours go that …