Second but Better

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2009 at 8:44 am

Do you ever find yourself thinking: “I wish I had come up with that idea first instead of the other person. It would have given me such an edge!” Inventions and brilliant ideas are rare. However, innovation can be incremental. If innovation is not your cup of tea yet, you may want to read my article on automation. But, to be successful, you do not have to be an inventor. Clean execution is also a very good skill.

Identify ways to apply others’ findings to your work to solve problems. For instance, you did not invent the TV. But you can use the TV to reach a broad audience for your marketing campaign. If you are targeting a niche ethnic segment, you can use the TV monitor in these ethnic stores and restaurants. This helps you to stand out.

Not all innovative companies succeed. Execution and ongoing improvements matter. Yahoo has been the first to market on several products. However, their points of differentiations have been reduced at a fast pace by competitors like AOL. Google on the other hand is not the first to come up with search engine or email or chat. However, Google has managed to execute well and continues to improve its quality by making the service relevant to the target audience. Being second can also be an effective strategy. In this web 2.0 era, a lot applications come and go. You might benefit from waiting to find out what really works and then investing your resources in that area. If you find yourself in a bind for ideas, focus on execution, identify bottlenecks and focus on enhancements. See where that leads you.

I’d like to hear your ideas on how you applied other concepts to improve your work. Please leave comments.


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