13/02/2013 - 07:02

Fresh ideas that will power your business

13/02/2013 - 07:02


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Fresh ideas that will power your business

YOUR team is probably fired up about grabbing more market share this year. If you want to achieve that goal, however, it’s time to look at your operation through a fresh lens.

There are some great ideas brewing in the global community that will help you outdistance your competitors.

One of the most important business concepts of the century is ‘return on luck’ (ROL). As Jim Collins explains in Great by Choice, all business leaders are being bombarded with both great luck and bad breaks. The smartest CEOs learn not to squander sudden opportunities and figure out how to turn dismal news to their advantage - multiplying the benefits of whatever hand they’re dealt. Maximising your ROL should be top of your list, every day. But your ROL is just part of the picture. Here are some vital ideas that will help you achieve great results in 2013 and beyond.

Big data

There’s no excuse anymore for not having the latest information about your market at your fingertips. For the first time, even tiny companies can search the vast information on the web that corporate giants use to uncover new opportunities, using inexpensive cloud-based technology.

Reverse innovation

It’s time to forget the days when innovation flowed one way -from rich nations to poor ones. There’s a lot we can all learn from entrepreneurs and organisations working with scarce resources, says Dartmouth professor Vijay Govindarajan. He points to a hospital in India that specialises in heart surgeries, achieving better outcomes with its $2,000 procedures than US hospitals that charge $20,000 or more.

How does the hospital get such amazing results? By specialising in a niche, it runs more efficiently. For instance, while a general hospital typically needs to buy a vast array of equipment to perform every operation under the sun, this hospital needs equipment only for cardiac operations. And it gets a great return on its investment in the equipment it does buy, because it puts these tools into service all day long.

We all need to comb the globe for other ideas from the world’s most resourceful innovators in our industries.


In today’s teeming marketplaces, you need a savvy approach to public relations to stand out from the crowd. As marketer David Meerman Scott points out in his book, Newsjacking, you don’t have to bankroll a massive PR campaign to propel your company into big news stories.

By offering journalists a fresh, interesting perspective on big developments in your industry, you may be able to ‘hijack’ media reports that are in progress and turn their focus to your company.

For instance, a reporter who is looking for a colourful way to illustrate a particular trend might welcome an anecdote about your company to put in the lead of his story.

Robots per capita

I’m fascinated by the ability of this simple metric to predict the prosperity of a country (and a company). It’s a great indicator of a nation’s economic efficiency and potential future growth. Thus, it didn’t surprise me to learn recently from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers that Germany, with its thriving economy, has double the robots per capita of the US - Germany has 163 robots for every 10,000 workers, while the US has only 86, just above Spain.

However, I was surprised that Japan, which has suffered a slow economy for decades, has double the robots per capita of every other country. This may indicate that the country is likely to experience a resurgence. And countries such as Singapore and South Korea are showing sustained economic growth from their already high robot-per-capita ratios.

It’s a key performance indicator worth considering when looking at your own company. Are you leading the rest of the competition in dramatically automating your business?

Verne Harnish is CEO of Gazelles Inc, an executive education and coaching solutions provider, and author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Fast-Growth Firm.


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