The epiphany moment

Yesterday, I spent some time at the offices of BCG, getting their validation on the metrics we’re planning to use in 2008 to measure our innovation efforts. In case you don’t know, BCG have a very developed innovation practice, with some leading thinkers in the field. Talking with them is always productive.

Apart from the discussion we had around our measures, the conversation eventually turned to the difference between companies that "get" innovation and those that don’t. In the BCG typology, there is usually an "epiphany moment" that occurs.

The epiphany moment occurs when current strategy, based on fueling the mother ship business, start to fail in the delivery of expected growth. When the people working in the business begin to question whether that traditional strategy is valid any more. And, of course, when leadership beings to get questions about they way forward.

At the Epiphany Moment, leadership suddenly realises that "different" needs to be the new strategy. They commit resources to finding and commercialising the different, and this innovation saves the company. BCG posited many examples. Proctor and Gamble. Apple. Shell. Quite a few others. But they all had one thing in common: in the face of decline of their traditional businesses, they turned around and did something different.

Now that’s interesting in the banking context, given the turbulent conditions that presently prevail. Lots of institutions do, in fact, have their backs against the wall. That’s the time for the epiphany moment. I wonder what amazing things might come from it?

One final piece of advice they gave me stuck with me. You can best help your organisation by making sure that the conditions are right for the epiphany moment to occur. Not by helping in the decline of the current business, but by making sure that when the question is asked, it is obvious that innovation is the answer.

2 Responses to“The epiphany moment”

  1. February 20, 2008 at 7:37 am #

    Der Moment fr Innovationen

    Gedanken aus jener Branche, in der unsere Kunden zumeist ttig sind, sind selbstverstndlich von gesteigertem Interesse. Deshalb schaue ich zum Beispiel regelmssig bei Banker Vision vorbei. Der Artikel, auf den ich mich heute beziehe, h…

  2. March 8, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    Very interesting post.
    I’m curious to know to what degree your final learning is to be interpreted: “You can best help your organisation by making sure that the conditions are right for the epiphany moment to occur. Not by helping in the decline of the current business, but by making sure that when the question is asked, it is obvious that innovation is the answer.”
    Are you actually suggesting that the enlighted ones should not try to support the existing business, but just stand on the side and see the mothership sink into the abyss? Not out of evil thinking, but due to a believe in the necessity of the mothership to go through this cleansing process?
    I would tend to agree on a theoretical level, but how to do this in practice is a tricky question.
    Regards.

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