Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Innovators' Equation for Success

Thomas Edison's innovative, gifted and future thinking finance and operations expert was Samuel Insull.  While Edison was inventing, manufacturing and selling electric power plants to factory owners, Insull was studying the economics of the emerging electric generation industry.  The data he reviewed eventually helped motivate him to leave Edison's organizations to lead his own.

The insights Insull gleaned from the data revealed there were alternative business models available for providing electricity to factories.  Rather than requiring every factory to buy and operate their own power plant, they could simply connect to an electric grid.  The data showed a large power plant connected to many factories could achieve far greater economies of scale that would generate higher profits and lower costs.  Insull understood that his insight was an advantage.  He also recognized that one advantage could in turn lead to many additional advantages down the road (An advantage multiplied by an advantage=A² benefits).

Leaders and innovators today can also be recipients of A² benefits.  Early adopters and innovators gain insight into what works and what doesn't before followers and laggards.  That information is incredibly useful and valuable.  Once a successful design or model is determined and implemented, new user experience data and feedback guide the way forward on paths which competitors have no data, logic or understanding to follow.  

Data by itself, however, does not deliver success.  Insull had foresight.  He was able, like a chess master, to understand how one advantage could lead to many other additional future advantages that when combined could deliver the ultimate package of A² benefits that would deliver the desired scenario.  

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.