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).