In Innovation, Technology Is Not The Only Answer

There is often a myth in innovation that it must be technologically driven.  P&G and many of its peers are excellent at research and development (R&D) and constantly bring new technologically-driven products to the market (Acti-Lift Tide, Regenerist, etc.).  Depending on the technology, it has the potential to create a short-term competitive advantage.  And sometimes, it can create an entire blue ocean.  But more often than not, it is a short-term play that competitors copy/adopt into their products (tablet computers seem to fit here).

A few months ago, I read an article in The New York Times about a new transit system being funded in China (“Riding High: A Chinese Concept for Bus Transit”).  What struck me with China’s new planned transit system was really how simple it is.  There is no new technology here.  This light-rail system still has a large space for lots of paying consumers to sit.  It depends on rails to travel on a paved street.  Electricity is required to propel the vehicle.  What’s different is that it eliminated some of the biggest drawbacks of light-rail systems – they take a lot of space on the road (or even require their own corridors) and they are slow.  In instances where the light-rail system is combined with regular traffic, its speed and bulkiness becomes an issue.  Although more people are moved in a given space, it slows down the rest of the vehicles to impact traffic overall.

This new light-rail system has none of these drawbacks.  It does not take any additional space.  The only infrastructure required is elevated stations and the same electrical infrastructure as any other light-rail system.  It can travel at any speed without impeding traffic.  And none of this required any new technological advancement.

Innovation does not necessarily need new technology.  Sometimes, it just requires new thinking which can lead to changing the business model.


About Stephane

Stephane Bardin has a deep understanding of consumers, combining go-to-market strategy and successful execution to drive sales growth. He is a strong marketing executive with strategic consumer and analytical talents in growing brands in the US and internationally. He is a consumer catalyst, producing results for: - Budweiser Beer - McDonald's - Hasbro - Pfizer - Kraft - Starbucks - Bumble Bee - Designer Whey - Aquafina - Tropicana - BRISK - Pepsi and more • Drove Budweiser Beer achievement of #1 foreign beer brand recognition in China. • Developed strategies to re-launch McDonald’s chicken sandwiches. • Developed top-line revenue stream for Bumble Bee in two new markets • Created the best-ever consumer promotion for Unilever brands. Stephane has a reputation for conceptualizing and executing integrated consumer marketing programs that positively impact P&L results. Stephane Bardin is an expert in using new technologies and media to connect consumers with brands and drive bottom-line results. He is a collaborative contributor who is an expert at building brand equity, loyalty, and ROI for highly recognized consumer products and brands. He has demonstrated performance using key levers of marketing to drive strategy and sales growth: advertising vehicles, consumer promotions, consumer/market research/syndicated data, new product development/innovation, multicultural marketing, interactive/digital/mobile/social media, SEO, public relations, shopper marketing, and partnership/alliance marketing. • Positive P&L Impact and Growth • Branding / Equity Building • Strategic Alliances / Partnerships • New Product Development / Innovation • Social Media/Online/Ecommerce Marketing • Cross-functional / Cultural Team Leadership • Strategic Planning /Tactical Execution • Syndicated Data Analysis and BASES • Advertising and Sales Promotion • Shopper Marketing • Trademark Management • Global Marketing Strategy
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