February 27, 2013
Cooking Up the Next Big Thing Instead of Meth in the Garage
Giving customers what they say they want instead of taking on the much harder task of figuring out what they need and then providing it is how most of our professional legal services vendors have turned into tweakers instead of innovators when it comes to their content and search offerings. To innovate is to disrupt the status quo. That is risky business. To tweak is to follow the B-School recipe for cooking meth. That too is risky. The chefs can blow up the garage and all of its inhabitants by practicing risk averse incremental only change based on standard business modeling techniques.
"Large, legacy publishers recognize that their business models are changing dramatically, yet they can’t afford to shift resources into developing the risky new technologies that may–or may not–rescue their companies," writes Lean Back 2.0's Emma Gardner. She adds
To address this dilemma, publishers have started experimenting with a new solution: innovation labs. In the past few years, legacy publishers from the New York Times Company to Condé Nast have launched small departments dedicated to exploring potential company-wide innovations. Each lab differs in terms of structure and focus, but all strive to function more like start-ups. The hope is that these departments can be less risky, but much more agile, innovators within the larger organization.
Gardner kicks off her series of innovation lab posts with a profile of Dow Jones R&D's 7-person team which "is purposely independent and is tasked with creating innovative solutions to company-wide challenges." Check out the team's "digital vault." It can be viewed as being a bit disruptive of the Company's legacy business model. For more, see Inside the Dow Jones R&D department.
Being "unfriended" by the customer base. Someday B-school culinary arts trained chefs cooking their legacy publishers may be singing... . [JH]