40. Boost Curiosity to Innovate

There’s no doubt that curiosity is the key to innovation. But many of us are stuck in the same old ways of thinking. Here are a few discussion points for you to test your own knowledge.

Which are true, and which are false?

  1. Without exclusive, profit-guaranteed supplier franchises, most distributors sell commodities for a price.
  2. Copying the latest efforts of competitors and channel friends yields NO competitive advantage. In fact, maintaining competitive-parity perpetuates poor financial returns.
  3. High profits come from unique offerings, which you must invent.
  4. Not all experiments are successful, but those that are must at least fill new needs that customers value enough to pay more for.
  5. Margin dollars must be higher than any increases in your cost-to-serve dollars in order to yield profit dollars.
  6. Maximize your odds of finding valued, new needs and solutions by investigating your most net-profitable and progressive customers. Then, perhaps, move on to your most net-profitable and progressive suppliers.
  7. For years, the truly big innovation success stories in physical product channels have involved either two channel partners co-creating a supply chain cost reduction solution and sharing the benefits; improving the end customer’s total value experience; and being alert for customer-centric, supply chain math solutions.
  8. To be successful with points 4–7 above, you will need line item profit analytics (LIPA) to identify the most net-profitable (and unprofitable) customers, SKUs, and suppliers, and the root causes for profits and losses.
  9. You should evolve your new solutions in the field using rapid prototyping with a few cooperative customers. Donate your solutions until they are salable.
  10. You won’t act on 1–10 without insatiable curiosity for finding ways to get out of commodity hell and poor returns.

Elevate Everyone’s Curiosity

Innovation requires insatiable curiosity. But, many people stop asking questions when their survival needs are satisfied or they are keeping up with their five closest friends, who typically aren’t perpetually learning innovators.

So, how will you get more employees steadily asking the questions that lead to innovation? Questions like:

  • How can things be better for all stakeholders (envisioning)?
  • How can we test more ideas with inexpensive, fail-forward experiments?
  • How can we turn every learning failure into more questions and new theories?

Tools to Help Boost Everyone’s Curiosity

Here are few tools you can use to help get everyone in your organization thinking like an innovator.

Also, don’t forget to visit www.waypointanalytics.net and request a demo. WayPoint has found more than 13 ways you can identify the causes for super-profitability and unprofitability of your key accounts, the multiple ways of rating sales rep effectiveness, and more. WayPoint insights will focus your investigations into the lowest risk, highest payoff customer solution innovations.

So, don’t let a competitor’s curiosity beat you to the innovation gold hiding within your financial averages!

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