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The Wide Lens (R. ADNER) 2012, Portfolio/Penguin

When my dear friend Rudy Moenaert recommends me a book, you can be sure it’s exiting. He recently referred me to ‘The Wide Lens’, a book about why companies do everything well from innovation, understanding customer needs to execution.

One thing that is sometimes missed by companies is that you depend on other companies or other eco-systems to be successful. A great technical innovation such as the run-flat tyre, provided great value for the customer. But the new tyre created a new role for the service garages, one they were not eager to assume. Because the service garages did not adopt, the innovation was not succesful and a large investment was written off.

Literature provides good insight in managing the execution risk: what it takes to bring the innovation on time to market within the right specification. However we should widen our so-called lens to co-innovation: who else needs to innovate for you? And secondly how else needs to adopt your innovation before your intended end-user can assess the full value of your innovation. This is the key message of the book.

The book provides a practical set of tools to see and understand the eco-system that your innovation is part of, as well as choosing your position in that eco-system.

For managing co-innovation and collaboration, I can refer to the work of Prof Henry Chesbrough on ‘Open Innovation’, the key-note speaker at the 14th B2B Marketing conference 2012.

Great By Choice (J. COLLINS, M.T. HANSEN) 2011, Harper-Collins

In April 2012 I saw the book presentation ‘Great By Choice’ presented by Morton Hansen, at the INSEAD US Alumni meeting in New York. A must read book for professionals interested in product management and innovation.

Jim Collins (Good to Great) writes his new bestseller after 10 years. Together with Morton Hansen he investigates which factors explain the difference between successful companies and ‘average’ peers in their industries. They studied not only why the so-called 10X companies were successful, but why they were able to outperform their peers 10 times better over a number of KPI’s over a period of 15 years.

This book shows some surprising results, which may look counter-intuitive at first sight. A first myth is that we need bold and risktaking visionary leaders. The finding is that leaders of 10X companies execute with great discipline, and use experiments. They perform many pilot projects and test investment before they are brought to the whole market.

10X companies are not necessarily more innovative that less succesful companies, in some cases they are even less innovative. But they can bring innovations to the market on a large scale, while blending creativity and discipline.

In fast changing times, where technology is changing rapidly, leaders and companies are urged to take decisions fast. This is a general perception. However their research suggests that 10X companies do not necessarily change faster, or change their business model. The secret here is that 10X companies know when to change and when not to change. Wo 10X companies do not always adjust when their environment changes.

10X companies are not more creative, visionary or ambitious, nor do they have more charismatic leaders. 10X companies are aware of the changing environment, but will not change for the sake of change. 10X companies can handle uncertainty, by finding a good balance between control and no control.

One of my personal favourites of the book is: ‘Fire Bullets, Then Cannonbals’, meaning that companies should use low-risk, low-distraction experiments. Based on the empirical validation, they can then invest more resources to increase the scope of the market opportunity.

Chesbrough on Open Innovation – 5 June 2012 – STIMA Mechelen

Henry Chesbrough on Open Innovation

B2B Marketing conference on ‘Open Innovation’

As president of the annual B2B Marketing Conference of STIMA, I would like to present the conference agenda for the 5th of June 2012. In order to increase your knowledge of Marketing and Innovation, you have a unique opportunity to attend a conference on ‘Open Innovation’ with prof Henry Chesbrough.Open Innnovation is the use of purposive inflows and outflows of knowledge to accelerate internal innovation, and expand the markets for external use of innovation, respectively.
Register yourself on the B2B conference website, and discover how other companies such as DSM, BASF, ENECO, Quilts of Denmark, IMEC and Mobistar actively use the concepts of Open Innovation.

Erwin Knuyt
Conference Chairman


STIMA kindly invites you to the 14th B2B Marketing Congress on Open Innovation.

  • When? June 5th
  • Where? Lamot Mechelen
  • What? Lectures, insights and an experiment that’ll point out what Open Innovation can mean for you and your company
  • Who? Check out speakers and full programme on

See you at the Congress!

We are all mystery shoppers. The tale of an experienced sales man.

October, 15 2011. Herentals, Belgium. An invitation to test drive the new Jaguar XF came to me by direct mail a few weeks ago, and I must say I was interested. As a loyal Volvo driver I was looking  forward to the ‘Jaguar Experience’. Nicely dressed and with a clean shave my wife and I drove down to the Herentals Jaguar Dealership for our test drive appointment. With a touch of ‘exitement’ we entered the show room. The new Jaguar XF model was nicely displayed in the showroom. You could say our ‘excitement level’ was up. The Salesman was busy on the phone and we approached the reception desk. He uttered something in the phone, which we did not understood was intended for us (as a greeting) or to the person on the phone. So we decided to take some time to walk around the show room. Our friend the sales man, continued his talk with we believe was another customer. Some more people entered the dealership and lined up for the reception desk. Our friend the sales man continued happyly talking in his cell phone. After 10 minutes, waiting and wondering around, we decided to leave the dealership and spend our saterday morning elsewhere. Now you must know as Marketing professor and consultant in customer experience I’m particulary touchy with regard to treatment on the shop floor. As we walked back out the dealership, the sales man was suddenly able to end his phone call and rushed outside to stop us. He appologised, and when I confronted him with his behaviour, the sales person responded with his ’35 years sales experience’. Big mistake.  Our mood was deep down.

He convinced us to do the test drive anyway.  And I must say it was a wonderful drive: stable, fluent gear change, smooth and a car full of luxury. After the test drive we asked for a quotation. The computer would not start up and the sales man invited us to follow on screen a configurator in excel. “The Jaguar on-line car configurator crashed too much, so we developed our own configurator in excel“. Configurating a car, understanding the packs and options is quite complex, and he took us to all the packs and options for about 30 minutes. He was clearly not an experience excel user, when we watched him adding colums and inserting formula.

After 1,5 hours we walked our with a depressed perception of the Jaguar brand. An test drive experience I was looking forward to, ended in a deep dissappointment for both of us.  I will not drive a Jaguar. At least my friends in Los Angeles, California received 25 USD to test drive the latest Infinity model.

B2B conference: Hungry For Green Value

Finally, after a full year of work, we are proud to present the agenda of the B2B Marketing & Sales Conference 2011: Hungry for Green Value.

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