I wrote Relentless Innovation because I’m convinced that a consistent innovation capability is one of the only ways most businesses will succeed in the future. Carefully examining the existing markets and emerging trends will tell you why.
Today, competition is fierce, fighting for the few extra dollars that people have due to the economic conditions. In fact one could say that competition in all markets is “relentless”. Every firm in business today is competing to stay solvent. But not all firms are competing on the same basis.
As global trade barriers have fallen, many kinds of work have migrated to the locations on the planet where those jobs can be done at lower cost, with less regulation and with roughly the same quality output as were done in the US and Western Europe previously. This migration from the US started with NAFTA. Jobs went to Mexico, but then rapidly transitioned to China. Now jobs are migrating from coastal China to rural China, and on to Vietnam and other low cost countries. We are competing with relentless competitors who have different cost basis in a lopsided battle. Customers, once accustomed to receiving nearly the same quality goods for far lower prices will not return to higher priced goods.
Moreover, customers expect new, valuable products and services. As the global trade barriers have fallen, the cost of entry into any market is falling, and new entrants with new products and services are entering every product and service niche. Customers expect new shiny products and services and frequent upgrades or enhancements. Thus, innovation is becoming an expectation for many consumers.
If you cannot compete on a cost basis, and new entrants are chipping away at your existing offerings, and customers expect new products and services, there’s only a few viable answers left. We think Relentless Innovation is the best alternative – creating a process and expectation that focuses as much energy on consistent innovation as it does on consistent cost cutting and efficiency gains. You face Relentless Competition, and often the deck is stacked in their favor on existing products and services. You need to tilt the playing field back in your favor, and Relentless Innovation is the way to do that.
In our highly developed economies, we have the opportunity to apply our creativity, education, entrepreneurial spirit and insights to accelerate innovation and create valuable products, content and intellectual property at a rate unimaginable in many other regions. While becoming an ever more efficient product factory, we should develop the capability to become a capable ideas factory, and move rapidly to becoming Relentless Innovators, which will continue to promise growth and prosperity.