Prediction 101
Innovate Away from a Negative Cash Flow

Innovate Away from a Negative Cash Flow

innovation use case Mar 26, 2023

We, executives, face challenges in running our company, and it may seem like there is no way out. But let me tell you a story about a failing company and how it turned its fortunes around.

The company's owners asked me to come in and do something about its losses, and even though I had the freedom to walk away or close the business without losing face, I decided to stay and face the challenge head-on.

The financial situation was tight, and it crimped my decision-making abilities. But I didn't let that stop me. I worked hard, renegotiated debts, cut costs, and urged the team to do market research to find better matches with customer needs. We held weekly coffee table conversations to find new opportunities and started innovating like never before.

I was so focused on the financials that I became hesitant to invest in new gear or marketing. Instead, I piloted many small innovations and prototypes, but unfortunately, they didn't catch on.

It felt like I was prolonging the company's life but not improving its quality. It felt rather pointless.

I knew it was time for a change, and luckily, I came to my foresight senses. 

Here's what I did:

Firstly, instead of innovating freely, I started innovating by connecting our strengths to latent customer needs. Bounded high-quality innovation worked so much better than free-thinking in high quantities. Secondly, I took the two innovations with the highest yield instead of spreading the budget over small pilots.

Yield meant:

  • Easy to implement (fits in current procedures)
  • Easy to commit to (fits with current employee attitudes)
  • Low cost of implementation (fits in existing tooling and supplies)
  • Low cost of marketing (was perfect for guerilla marketing tactics)
  • High returns (long lifetime because fits with latent needs)

Fast forward 15 years, and the entire industry here uses the innovative approach we developed back then.

Now, I turn decision yield into a criterion for decision-making, and I urge you to do the same.


The Lesson

Executives, if you are facing challenges in your business, take inspiration from the story I shared with you today. Don't let a tight financial situation cramp your decision-making abilities. Instead, stay focused, renegotiate debts, cut costs, and urge your team to do market research to find better matches with customer needs.

When it comes to innovation, don't just innovate freely. Instead, innovate by connecting your strengths to latent customer needs. Take the two innovations with the highest yield, defined as easy to implement, easy to commit to, low cost of implementation, low cost of marketing, and high returns.

By following these principles, you can revolutionize your industry and ensure long-term success for your business. So take action today and implement these strategies in your business. Your organization's future success depends on it!


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