The best Fortune 100 companies see innovation as an ongoing capabilty, not a one time event. These companies work hard to build muscle around this capability so they can deploy it when they need it, where they need it, tackling their hardest problems. Companies do this to keep up with the ever changing landscape both inside and outside the firm. What does it mean to build innovation muscle? I think of it as the number of people trained, the frequency of using an innovation method, and the percentage of internal departments that have an innovation capabilty. Call it an Innovation Muscle Index: N (number of trained employees) x F (number of formal ideation events per year using a method) x P (percent of company departments with at least one employee trained in an effective innovation method. IMI = N x F x P
Apple's iPad creates a new category of consumer electronic somewhere between smart phones and notebook computers. Success depends on how well it embeds into our everyday routines at work, home, and elsewhere. Success also depends on how well it creates new routines. A great innovation tool for this is the Attribute Dependency template of the corporate innovation method called S.I.T.. This template creates (or breaks) dependencies between attributes of the product and the external environment. The iPad already has many of these. My favorite, for example, is the ability to show the correct display no matter how you hold the device. There is no up or down. It is an example of breaking a dependency between screen orientation and device orientation.
Five companies are slugging it out in what may be the most competitive and unique business battle of all time. It is larger in scale with more at stake than battles in other industries including transportation, energy, and finance.
More remarkable is how different the combatants are from one another. Instead of similar companies competing (Toyota versus General Motors, for example), these companies hail from different business bases: an electronics manufacturer, a lifestyle computing company, an online retailer, a search engine, and a social network. In order: Samsung, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. I call them the Fabulous Five.
Google, Apple, Facebook, Samsung, and Amazon are in a mad scramble to enter new territory and cover gaps in their strategies. The one that gets ahead and stays ahead will earn bragging rights in what may be the most significant business battle of all time. These companies are the Fabulous Five.
Let's look at how each company is placed in the following domains: hardware design and manufacturing, software development and integration, consumer retailing, mobile, voice and digital communications, social, search, and entertainment. Why these? I believe the company that covers the biggest footprint across these domains and integrates them in a way that touches the most consumers will become the dominant lifestyle company. Notice I did not call it B2B, B2C, or even the dominant tech company. The battle being fought here is to become a part of the consumer's life in a way that allows the company to learn key insights that can be monetized. It is the battle for the consumer subconscious in a way.
Loyalty is defined as a strong feeling of support or allegiance. Companies fight for it because it correlates well to product sales. The Fabulous Five (Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, and Facebook) are waging a spectacular battle against each other to earn customer loyalty.
A key to winning is to understand the types of loyalty. Professor Christie Nordhielm describes three types as part of her marketing strategy framework, The Big Picture:
Struggling retailer JC Penny hired former Apple executive Ron Johnson as the CEO to save the company. Seventeen months later, he was ousted in what many consider a colossal failure. Why? Not because he failed to take action, but rather because he tried taking the same actions that worked for him at Apple. He was guilty of a managerial bias called stereotypy – the tendency to believe that what worked for you in the past will work for you in the future.