Jeb Brugmann

Why Business Strategy Requires Disciplined Innovation Process

No matter how sophisticated the field of corporate strategy has become, companies find it extremely challenging to ‘do’ their new strategies. Companies, and even whole industries, are the legacies-in-action of earlier strategies, which have been encoded into existing business models, product categories, and market segments. New strategies—the pursuit of new categories, segments and business models—therefore confront layers of assumptions, operating procedures, and non-negotiables that work as an immune system against strategic innovation. The Next Practice innovation process was designed to address this challenge in five ways…

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Building Capitalism With the Capacity to Lead

In the 1990s corporate leaders boldly argued that business, not government, was best prepared to lead solutions to the world’s most intractable problems. “Get out of our way,” was the mantra, “and we’ll get the work done.” Years later we understand the extent of business’ ill-preparedness for very complex challenges like poverty and environmental sustainability. Corporate leaders assumed that existing approaches, geared to highly organized markets, were adequate for highly complex new jobs where markets were often undeveloped. The result was often failed promises (e.g., the privatization of municipal water systems in Argentina or South Africa), large-scale crisis (e.g., the 2008 food price shocks and sub-prime crises), and the globalization of ungovernable informal and criminal economies.

Yet business leaders were also correct: a carefully designed product and business model can be an amazingly powerful vehicle to improve the lives of underserved populations and to solve large-scale problems. The global penetration of mobile phones as a tool for household economic and political empowerment is a stunning case in point. Jeb Brugmann helps companies apply their capacities together with social and public sector innovators and informal sector entrepreneurs to co-create product specifications, value chains, and partnerships through which companies can profitably deliver enriched value propositions to market. An enriched value proposition is much more than a ‘win-win’ or a ‘triple bottom line.’ It is a design brief for a new market-based system, which supports new business-consumer relationships that address a bundle of unmet functional, emotional, and developmental needs…

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