The following is an excerpt from an email I sent to DeveloperTown in March 2016. 

I think most of you know that we're currently targeting Innovation as a key selling point to larger clients. It's a bit of a trend right now. Many of the larger companies we're exploring working with have Chief Innovation Officers, Directors of Innovation, and Innovation Review Committees.

No joke. That last one is real. Is there anything that sounds less innovative than an Innovation Review Committee? It sounds like a parole hearing for ideas. "Nope. Not ready for release yet. Send it back!"

Okay... focus...

Consumer product companies do innovation as a standard part of business. It's core to new product discovery and development. If you look at iconic companies like 3M, Nike, P&G, Sony, and DuPont you'll find time-tested processes that they use to develop and launch new products. They don't think of it as "innovation." It's just their job. That's how you stay alive as a consumer product company.  

If you look at the largest and most innovative technology companies (think Google, Apple, Pixar, Intel, and others in that class), then you'll see a slightly different innovation process. But at the core, even though they are focused on different types of products, they are doing many of the same things. Those companies - just like the consumer product companies - know how to develop and launch a product. It's their job too.

But there are different classes of companies out there where either innovation hasn't been their job, or they've forgotten how. Some simple examples of this might include:

  • a monopoly (natural or regulatory) who is no longer a monopoly (think electric companies)

  • a one-hit-wonder who now has to come up with the next generation product (think TiVo)

  • they became too focused on protecting market share (think Microsoft)

  • they are historically a services company (think Ameriprise)

  • they have pockets of innovation, but it's not something propagated across the company (think TaTa)

  • they acquire all their innovation externally (think current Yahoo)

  • etc...

For the first batch of companies (the ones who know what they're doing), we can add scale. For many companies (including DeveloperTown), the key limiter to growth is finding enough qualified people. For companies who know how to innovate, but they just don't have a large enough team to do what they want, we can help them as a partner.

For the second batch of companies (the ones who haven't mastered innovation), we can show them how. Here we can be a partner and a coach. Teaching them the principles behind what we do, so they can (maybe) someday do it themselves.

Focusing on this trend in the market is a great place for us. It allows us to leverage our story to serve a larger and growing market. "We've grown out of working with startups..." "We know what's possible with technology..." Etc... We have an authentic pitch for these prospective customers.

What we don't have, is a nailed down and easy to communicate process. In the coming weeks you'll see more focus on that. We'd like to define our "official" take on a process for innovation, and for building great software.