“The Ten Commandments of Business Innovation”

In Breaking Bad Habits, Freek Vermeulen identifies what he characterizes as “The Ten Commandments of Business Innovation.” Here they are, accompanied by my brief annotations:

1. Cut out the benchmarking: Whatever works well somewhere else probably won’t work as well here.

2. Reverse benchmark instead: Look for a practice that everyone else relies on.

3. Experiment if you can (but make sure to do it well): Test only what you can control and measure.

4. Monitor entrants and companies in distress: Who has nothing to lose? Who has everything to lose?

5. Ask insiders for concerns: That is especially true of people who interact directly with customers.

6. Ask outsiders for suspicions: What do others see as vulnerabilities to exploit?

7. Create bundles of practices: One-stop need fulfillment/problem-solving

8. Take aim at a chunk of the market: Where are the vulnerabilities to exploit?

9. Just stop it: If it’s DOA, bury it.

10. Watch out for “That’s the way we do things around here”: Keep what still works well and get rid of what doesn’t.

He thoroughly explains all this in Chapter 7, Pages 98-120.

Freek Vermeulen is Associate Professor of Strategic & International Management at London Business School, teaching courses to executives and executive MBA students. He is the recipient of several teaching and various research-related awards, including the first-ever LBS ‘Excellence in Teaching’ award and the prestigious Academy of Management Journal Best Paper Award. Freek is an active consultant for companies such as KPMG, and a key-note speaker on various topics.

Breaking Bad Habits: Defy Industry Norms and Reinvigorate Your Business was published by Harvard Business Review Press (November 2017).

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