Luke Johnson: Ideas for challenging times

Luke Johnson, who worked with me as chairman of two ventures I founded, dot.com incubator Metrocube and marketing roll-up Loewy, is a brilliant columnist in the FT.

He’s talking about ideas and innovation in his piece today. Like Peter Bazalgette yesterday and many before them, he highlights that ideas aren’t everything. It’s all in the execution.

I agree. But, analysis of the opportunity and the competition in a specific space can set you off on a good track. 

I’m thinking here of the luck Charles Dunstone had to be working for NCR and to see some early prototype carphones. I’m thinking of the analysis that James Dyson’s team must have done to work on their AirBlade, a hand-dryer for the loos that actually works (as opposed to those terrible ‘World Dryer Corporation’ blowers). Or, Hume and Ogden who met at Harvard Business School doing their MBAs and who dived into the market to sell personal computers, building a fortune with Computacenter.

There are universals in business… getting the discipline, accounting, structures… but there is also serendipity. That’s what opencast is mining.

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