Want to innovate? It takes time (and partners in crime)

The new semester has arrived. And I need a break! Whilst I am putting the finishing touches on the materials I will share with my MBA students, I want to share something with you as well. 

Why? Because when it comes to entrepreneurial innovation, we tend to forget three things:

  1. We need to be opportunity seekers, that is, we have to understand what happens around us, what our customer wants and so on.
  2. Such an opportunity doesn’t come without risks. We might want to take the risk, but we must minimise it.
  3. Third, this is one of the often-missed bits: we cannot work in isolation. We need to foster ecosystems of change. Thus, I must convince my stakeholders to buy into my long-term view.

Now, if this has been widely investigated from research when it comes to the real world, we can find marvellous examples of it. Like the one PepsiCo provides us with, that is, the green aluminium can. 👇

In brief:

  1. My customer wants no waste. That’s my opportunity: using green aluminium.
  2. That will impact my (and my partners’) P&L in the short term. That’s the risk I must minimise to keep my competitive advantage.
  3. Therefore, I must convince them that this will stay (i.e., there is and will be demand). Thus, if I change my business model, they would need to adapt to support me as, in the long run, the costs of new materials will be similar to those of the old materials.
“A man taking a break in front of the historic University Bonn”. Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash. Find out more about him here.