Trilogy TidingsNovember 2011
It's now official. We're in the angst season, a combination of worries about world debt and global economics and our quadrennial "silly season" in U.S. politics. (Isn't it amazing how we go about choosing our political leaders?) But in spite of that, innovation - the real driver of economic prosperity - lives. It turns out that having a viable innovation strategy is not enough; that strategy must be closely aligned with corporate culture.
A wonderful example of invention that could well lead to a successful innovation is a new approach to the definitive diagnosis of prostate cancer, a leading killer of men.
Read on and innovate!
|Culture & Strategy Matter, R&D Spending Not So Much
Booz & Company's annual study of global innovation piqued my interest and confirmed some long-held beliefs. Its takeaway messages:
- Spending more on R&D won't necessarily drive results.
- The most crucial factors are strategic alignment and a culture that supports innovation.
Here's one example of many that are revealed in the study: On average, the top-10 R&D spenders invest 12.6% of sales revenue in R&D; on average, the top-10 innovative companies invest 6.2% of sales revenue in R&D. That's a huge disparity that reinforces the first message. See Hutch Carpenter's take for additional perspective on the study.
The second takeaway message is more nuanced: To maximize innovation-related success, it's necessary to have (1) a viable innovation strategy and (2) a corporate culture that fully supports that strategy. (Note that it's much easier to design and adhere to an innovation strategy than to change a corporate culture.) The study defines three categories of innovation strategies and lays out roadmaps to achieve innovation-related success with each: Need Seekers, Market Readers, and Technology Drivers. It also recommends an online innovation-strategy profiler that's informative and quick to complete.
While a company can optimize its success with any of the three strategies, by far the most bang for the R&D buck is achieved by Need Seekers. These are the firms who "actively and directly engage both current and potential customers to help shape new products and services based upon superior end-user understanding". Does Voice of the Customer ring a bell?
|A Better Prostate Cancer Diagnostic?
There is little disagreement that better biomarkers than PSA are needed. Here's an invention that might well satisfy that need.
A discovery at the University of Michigan and subsequent work supported by the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) have found two DNA biomarkers that, read in combination in a urine-based assay, are expressed at high levels in 95% of prostate cancers. PSA in the blood is not cancer-specific, but this new diagnostic tool is. The availability of an easy-to-use urine test that is cancer-specific has the potential to eliminate thousands of unnecessary prostate biopsies in the U.S. each year. (Today less than half of the patients biopsied each year are subsequently diagnosed with cancer.)
The University of Michigan is expected to offer the dual-marker test in 2012 under a license agreement with GenProbe.