Roger La SalleA new business insight provided by Roger La Salle, innovation thought leader and pioneer of “Matrix Thinking”™, who was our luminary speaker at the TII 2016 conference in Barcelona. 

Distance – curious to say the least!!

A surprise to me… A recent article from a senior CEO for whom I have some respect caught my attention. The nub of the article suggested that one of the main problems for Australians with inspired new innovations was the distance to the world’s largest market, the USA.

Is it really true that it’s further travelling from Australia to the USA than the other way round? Does this strike anybody else as a curious statement? Why would they bother when we won’t?

Whilst it may be true that the USA is far off, I find it interesting that US based companies will spend millions establishing a place in the tiny Australian market (about the population of the great area of just Los Angeles), but we are daunted by the concept of travelling EXACTLY the same distance to explore the USA market, some 13 times the size of Australia.

One commentator on the Australian car industry even went so far as to say that our problem is that we drive on the other side of the road, compared with the USA and most of the EU. Yet, not surprisingly the “other side of the road manufacturers” spend vast fortunes making cars to suit our tiny right hand drive markets and specific local Design Rules.

So what’s the Issue?

It’s not distance that’s the issue but understanding what true innovation is all about, commercialization and having a proper market entry strategy. Indeed in a host of workshops we have conducted in recent months covering more than five countries and some 400 SME’s, the common theme was that less than 10% of SME’s have a team developed and agreed business strategy, much less an innovation plan.

Too often we see inspired entrepreneurs confidently travelling to the USA with their basket of innovation expecting to be welcomed with open arms and having the locals embrace them with great vigor. Nothing could be further from the truth, and with Donald Trump now in the White House this is even more the case.

The issue is in the thinking of management, not the distance. The pity is the solution is not all that difficult if one thinks it through carefully. More about that next article.

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