Do you really have to be an outsider to reinvent a category?

Do you really have to be an outsider to reinvent a category?

Is it a given in the game of innovation that change is always driven by outsiders?  Look at a lesson from the motor industry …

Large Image













The Daily Telegraph yesterday named the Tesla Model S amongst the most influential car designs ever – alongside the Ford Model S and the Mini.  The reasons: the smart underfloor chassis design that allows them to build a plethora of models off a single chassis; the radical dashboard control panel that lets them keep the car totally up-to-date using wifi downloads; the reinvented sales model using town centre shops rather than dealers; the list goes on and on.

Why does it always seem to take an outsider to totally reinvent a category?

Ok, it has a lot to do with unwillingness to destroy what pays the salaries today and a reluctance to destroy the existing capital base – but history tells us that outsiders still reinvent categories and take them away from the incumbent.

That why we place so much emphasis on a willingness to be open-minded and experiment during our innovation programmes.  As the dominant player, you need to be two steps ahead of the opposition.