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Trade Routes: The Rising Price of Sameness Fatigue

By: Michael Wynne
Posted: August 28, 2008, from the April 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 3 of 4

One of the ways to achieve the goal of creating value innovation is to challenge industry tradition. Think of things that are done traditionally in your industry and ask yourself why they are done that way.

The need for innovation is not limited to the development of new products; every aspect of your business, regardless of its industry, must be prepared to respond to the evolving marketplace.

Take a good, hard look at every aspect of your business. Realize that 90% of an industry’s standards, conventions, policies and practices were established years ago. Ask yourself: why is my company still following them?

Is your company still production driven? Two hundred years since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, most companies around the world are still production driven, and the classic example of such an industry is the U.S. automotive industry. Everything is geared to keeping its plants running. So, how does it decide which cars to produce? Henry Ford’s 1908 business model continues to provide the answer: the ones easiest to produce in quantity.

These cars are then loaded up with features and accessories that force customers to pay more for things they never wanted in the first place. It’s not surprising that auto dealers, stuck with thousands of cars they can’t unload, are finally rebelling; they are demanding that the manufacturers pay more attention to what consumers want.