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INNOVATION
An Expert's View

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Interview with Jack Trout

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The culture of Innovation is set by the CEO.

Interview by -  Pradip Sinha,
Associate Consultant,
ICMR (IBS Center for Management Research).

Jack Trout is President of Trout & Partners,one of the most pretsigious marketing firms in the United States, with offices in 12 countries and a client list that includes AT&T,IBM,Merrill Lynch,Soutwest Airlines, and other Fortune 500 companies.

Recognized as one of the influential gurus of marketing. trout was the first to popularize the idea of "positioning" products and ideas in the minds of consumers. A sought-after speaker, he has co-authored numerous marketing classics, including the bestselling Differentiate or Die(Wiley), Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, The 22 immutable Laws of Marketing, The Power of Simplicity, Marketing Warfare to name a few


What is Innovation? How will you define it?

Innovation is a new idea or way to do things.

How critical is innovation for survival in the 21st century?

Very critical as it can be what makes your company or product different from your competitors. And in this very competitive world, if you don't have a point of difference, you better have a low price.

Do you think innovation is restricted to market leaders only, or is it applicable to small players also?

Small companies use innovation to compete with big companies that tend not to innovate well. (A small company called SonoSite has become the world leader in hand-held ultrasound devices. GE, Siemens and Phillips are big in large ultrasound machines).

Some feel that innovation and creativity are very much interrelated. Do you think so?

Yes, many innovations can be called creative solutions to problems or improvements. (Procter and Gamble's Swifter is a creative solution to dusting in difficult places.)

Any particular firm you would like to mention in the context of innovation?


Gillette is a giant in innovating with their new generations of razor blades. BMW is the best innovator in automobiles. Dell in computers (Going direct was a big innovation).

Any other thoughts/views/personal experiences you would like to share with our readers?

The culture for innovation is set by the CEO. He encourages it but also guards against what could be called tinkering with a brand. Some people think line extensions are innovations. All they do is confuse things.


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