Author Archives: Ricardo dos Santos

Drucker on Innovation Opportunities

Since everyone else seems to be revisiting Christensen’s theory of disruptive innovation these days, the contrarian that I like to be.. I’d like to revisit Drucker – in a positive way. Still the most renowned and cited management consultant in recent times, the Austrian Peter Drucker, offered a radical view of business endeavors.   He claimed the purpose of a business

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Time for a Total Innovation System

My days as a practitioner and student of Lean Production at AutoEuropa (VW) and MIT taught me a simple, but valuable lesson – “It’s the System, Stupid” All the different components of ‘how to do more with less’ were available (production efficiency and reliability, quality, supplier integration, employee involvement, etc.) – Toyota was the first to put them all under one

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Innovation Self Forming Teams. The cornerstone of corporate entrepreneurship

If you want a simple measure of whether or not your company truly encourages ‘thinking and acting like a start-up’, aka believes in corporate entrepreneurship, you need only to measure the ratio of innovation self  forming teams (ISFT’s) vs. the usual world of innovation by entitled corporate royalty, commanding siloed armies of conscripts.   Think about it as the Athenian vs. Spartan ratio of innovation. There

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The world’s most creative business model

Venture Capitalists are nowadays preaching to startups – come up with a creative business model – your product or technology is insufficient for you to win in the market place – it’s the supporting system, stupid! Fair enough, but has anyone questioned the current ‘VC-gives-money-to-startup’ business model (and paltry returns)?   Is there another way to create value?   Turns out, there

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Disruptive Innovation in Molecular Diagnostics – IQuum

In my previous blog series, Strategic Planning for New Ventures, I showcased an example of a disruptive innovator in Veracyte, leader in thyroid cancer diagnostics.   Veracyte pursues the specialized CLIA lab business model, offering a unique, high-value test that cannot be obtained elsewhere. In this blog, I profile another innovator, IQuum, which is pursuing the other common model in molecular

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Salient Virtues: I Gotta Have More Cowbell !

In my previous blog post, I discussed the common fatal flaws in business plan or startup competition pitches.  This essay focuses on the reverse concern – do you have any salient virtues? To illustrate the point, I encourage you to watch the SNL classic skit featuring Christopher Walken and Will Ferrell “More Cowbell” – also see the Wikipedia entry.    The main

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Fatal Flaws: A Perro Flaco, Todo Son Pulgas!

For those of you competing in student, employee and or startup idea competitions, here’s what you can learn from your best friend…the Dog. The Spanish proverb in the subtitle above directly translates to “To a skinny dog, everything is a flea”, roughly meaning:  “To the weak, everything is a problem” or “When it rains, it pours”, etc. Speaking of dogs

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The one thing large companies must absolutely have before adopting Lean Startup thinking

The new management fad is here: Teaching large companies to adopt Lean Startup thinking (Yes, I’m guilty as charged myself).   But this is already off to a bad start if it is simply a hammer hitting another nail. The Classic Lean The two previous instantiations of Lean Thinking were certainly the right tool for the job.  First applied to manufacturing, ‘classic’

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Innovation Competitions. Innovation as Sport

My name is Ricardo dos Santos and I’m an Innovation Competition-holic.   Let me get started with what I mean by Innovation Competitions (you can also check out this presentation I uploaded on slideshare). My Definition of Innovation Competitions In this context, I  use the term Innovation Competitions interchangeably with Inducement Prize Contests – these are distinctly different from recognition prizes in

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Yes you CAN sell ice to Eskimos – Part III: Our Advanced Needs

This three part blog series introduces a novel classification of innate user needs, aka ‘the basic ways we fight for happiness and progress (through consumption)’.  Part I of the blog recapped the well known concept that market segmentation is not about demographics, but about seizing an unoccupied space in the mind and heart of the consumer.   Part II of the

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