Peter Drucker once said, “Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.” If this is true (and I think it is) there should be more time and energy spent on these two subjects than anything else in business life.
But, if you are like most businesses who do spend time on these two subjects, you might well be making a mistake that made Steve Jobs cringe. That mistake (especially in the area of innovation) is to consider the customer ahead of your own thoughts.
“Steve Jobs avoids most focus groups like the plague,” says tech analyst Rob Enderle. “It comes down to the very real fact that most customers don’t know what they want in a new product.”
Carmine Gallo, who wrote “The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs” said about this thought, “Sure, “listen” to your customers and ask them for feedback. Apple does that all the time. But when it comes to breakthrough success at Apple, Jobs and his team are the company’s best focus group.”
So, as you are thinking about the innovation that is going to make your company special in the market place, don’t count yourself short. Make your thinking more important than your customers because, as Henry Ford once said, “If I’d have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse.’”
How innovative are you? How much time do you spend creating the next great thing your company is going to introduce?