Innovation and Differentiation

Innovation occurs when a new process or product is created usually by combining pre-existing ideas in a new way. Innovation is the central way for creating greater value and de-commoditizing our offerings so that our work is differentiated from “the pack”.

An example of innovation at work is Cirque du Soleil. The circus world was super competitive and dominated by larger players like Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus who could afford the care of animals and drew all the best performers. Smaller circuses simply we’re NOT “the greatest show on earth” as Ringling brothers defined it.

As outlined in the book “Blue Ocean Strategy” Cirque du Soleil differentiated themselves AND cut costs by innovating a new kind of circus. They got rid of the animals (the most expensive circus feature), they brought in professional musicians, they created a show theme more like a Broadway musical and created something completely different by doing so.

Basically they mashed up a Broadway show, a concert, and circus into something new. They created a new circus experience that was more intimate, that spoke to a wider audience, that people were willing to pay more money for.

When we do mashups, yes, we have a lot of fun and get to know each other better, but we also explore commonalities in our businesses, and start to see how perspectives and deliverables in other people’s businesses, even if they are completely different, can have overlaps and synergies with our own.

Today as you participate in, and watch the mash ups, think about what new ideas you might take away for your business, you never know, you may create something new, unique and special!

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