I went to a conference on Measuring Innovation Performance yesterday. It was the first time in too long that I was an attendee, not a speaker, and so I enjoyed myself immensely.
Some of the content related to classic business strategy, some to differentiation. Some of the best nuggets related to professional service firms (PSF) included:
- When assessing the viability of any particular business strategy, make sure you understand the risks involved. There are three types of risk: 1) technical, 2) executional (can I do it?), and 3) market/competitive risk. Ask yourself the risk of pursuing the strategy and the risks of NOT pursuing the strategy.
- Quality is directly linked to innovation.
- Assess opportunities as well as risks. Most companies forget to do this. But when thinking about opportunities, remember there are COSTS to pursuing opportunities. (“This opportunity will cost us $x. What other things could we be doing with this money that might be more important to us?”)
- Industry knowledge is a key differentiator.
- When thinking about differentiating with your people, hire TALENT over experience.
- Innovation ROI should be thought of more broadly than many firms do: it’s more than CASH, but also indirect benefits.
- Pay attention to anomalies. (My favorite!)
- Most firms operate from a budget mentality. Too few operate from an investment mentality.
I found, once again, that most of the presenters and examples were product- and manufacturing-focused. The professional service firms in attendance were left to extrapolate the models, concepts and frameworks.
Wouldn't it be great if content could be pertinent and readily available to the global, $3+ trillion professional services sector? Or that thought leaders would GET it that we are unquestionably in a SERVICES economy? Maybe I'll have to write another book, or develop an institute targeted especially to PSFs.
Could be fun.