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Is Innovation the Next Competitive Battleground?

In the mid to late 90’s the customer experience was THE competitive deciding factor for most companies big and small.  Michael Dell coined the term. Dell computers “owned it” and companies like Amazon followed its lead and flourished under the new competitive landscape.  But the tables seem to be turning.  Providing a great customer experience is still incredibly important as preached by the “church of the customer” blog.  But will innovation be the next competitive battleground for companies?

For example, did you catch Sunday night’s episode of 60 Minutes?  Lesley Stahl interviewed the CEO of Sony, Howard Stringer, about the company’s challenges and future plans.

One of the key problems Sony faces is changing the company culture to encourage an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit.

"For Sony, they have always been a Yokozuna," says Takeuchi. "Yokozuna is a sumo wrestler who’s the highest grand champion.  They’ve always been at the top. They’ve always been a rule-maker rather than a rule-breaker. Now they have to become a rule-breaker. And that’s going to be tough to do."

Competing with the likes of Apple and Microsoft means that Sony needs to step up in the area of innovation.  They dropped the ball on the Playstation, the Walkman, and music downloads…have they really learned their lesson?  “Rule-breaking means being bold and innovative,” says 60 minutes.  I couldn’t help but think that Mindjet MindManager is the tool to help facilitate a culture of innovation in companies like Sony.