As we enter into what is increasingly looking like a rocky ride for the global economy I'm reminded of Steve Ballmer's thoughts on the new-normal.
Whilst the CEO of Microsoft's views might not be everybody's cup of tea, when you strip out the sales pitch it distils into three guiding principles that are very high on any CEO's mind, including my own:
1. Efficiency — do more with less. Reducing the unit cost of products & services.
2. Productivity — with less do more! Mainly sales and marketing. Increase people's ability to generate greater levels of output and therefore revenues
3. Innovation — Chief Innovation Officer, absolutely. Innovate or die.
Clearly efficiency and productivity are familiar territory for most CIOs. But what of innovation? It's something that CEOs and CIOs alike are really only beginning to get their heads around.
For me innovation needs to be seen in the context of the big technological, social and cultural changes (and the three are increasingly becoming entwined) that we are experiencing.
1 The social networking phenomenon
The next generation the new shopper, prospective house owner, employee and even leader.
They work for you already. They get social media, online business, online chat. Virtual reality. They shop online and they go to their friends and LinkedIn Groups for recommendations, not the government's consumer body or the Competition Commission.
They just pop an informal question online to their friends on Facebook and then immediately act.
Whether you are a Walmart or a BP you'd better understand how this social activity affects demand and how your customers behaviours have changed and how they think.