So you think you can innovate?

In Agribusiness, Agricultural Entrepreneurship, Agricultural Marketing on May 17, 2009 at 7:48 pm

As you think about which business into which to expand your agricultural operation, consider this: Sometimes, imitation is the best way to innovate. One of my mentors, Vincent Amanor-Boadu, taught me two important axioms about innovation:

1. Think about creating a sub-category, not just a product.

2. You don’t always have to be the best, just good enough.

Let’s talk about how these two axioms apply to expanding your agribusiness.

Let’s start with an example. I hold up reality TV contest shows. It seems like it all started with American Idol, but even that groundbreaking show was an imitation of a similar show called Britain’s Got Talent. Now reality TV aficionadoes will tell you the imitation has never been as good as the original, but Fox executives are perfectly happy with the results of Idol, I’m sure. In the years since Idol’s debut, other shows, such as Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance? have enjoyed a great deal of success. Again, nothing terribly original, just riding the wave.

In the example above, we see both axioms lived out. Idol didn’t have to be as good as the original, just good enough to excite American audiences into a frenzy. So You Think You Can Dance? created a new sub-category that combined a dancing theme with the Idol format.

What will your innovation imitation be? Remember that old cliche: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just build a “good-enough” mousetrap!


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