The Innovation Paradox

Setting An Organization Free To Be Disciplined

02 October, 2019 // Thirty two years ago last week, Apple first aired its famous “Think Different” TV commercial. The ad became one of the most celebrated campaigns in history for its celebration of visionaries who nudge the world in new directions. Picasso. Albert Einstein. Richard Branson. Amelia Earhart. Gandhi. 

Who wouldn’t want to change the world like those folks? Nearly all of us, it turns out. While the ads convinced millions to buy Apple computers, it’s a safe bet that many of those machines spent more time browsing the web and playing YouTube cat videos than inventing the future.

A recent Harvard Business Review article points out a similar dynamic in the business world. Author and Harvard professor Gary Pisano writes that he frequently asks seminar audiences whether they’d prefer working in an innovative or static company. No one has ever told him, “Innovation is not for me.”

So why, Pisano asks, are so few companies innovative? It’s because the freedom to try new things is only half of the equation. It “must be counterbalanced by some tougher and frankly less-fun behaviors,” he says. 

Among the behaviors Pisano identified: Rigorous discipline, brutal candor, a willingness to root out incompetence, individual accountability and strong leadership. 

Simply put, the messiness of creativity needs a lot of hard infrastructure around it. 

At Morgan, we have invested years to create that infrastructure for our manufacturing supply chain customers: The advanced analytics, technology, operations capabilities and management expertise that enable our clients to unleash their inner Einstein. (Among our customers: Two of Gartner’s “Supply Chain Top 25”)

Making transformational changes in supply chain isn’t for the feint of heart. But, with trade wars, technology disruptions and rapidly shifting market conditions, it’s never been more imperative. Let us know how Morgan can help.

 


 

While You Were Shipping…

More Recent Stories You May Have Missed That Caught Our Eye

New Truck Technology Creates Hacking Vulnerabilities (Wall Street Journal Pro; subscription required for access) With more trucks reporting GPS and shipment data, there’s a greater risk that bad guys could be looking at those pings—from disruptive hackers to industrial spies. 

Trucking Drives in Two Different Directions (Wall Street Journal; tiered access) With demand cooling from 2018, an unprecedented number of truckers has called it quits. In all, 640 carriers went out of business in the first half of 2019, double the rate of failures the year prior. At the same time, those providers in the strongest position have gained “added control and pricing power in the marketplace,” says Cowen & Co transportation analyst Jason Seidl.

The Sky’s Not The Limit for Warehousing (Supply & Demand Chain Executive) New warehouse construction is going vertical as fulfillment companies build capacity in urban areas. Supply & Demand’s story cites a Seattle Times report on a 590,000 square foot, multistory, truck accessible Prologis property that’s already fully leased with Amazon as the lead occupant.