October 2010 - PS Insights


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Virtually every successful product or service out there came to market because someone initially said, “This is a good idea.” But if saying “this is a good idea” was it all took, then everyone would be an inventor with a multi-million-dollar idea to his or her credit. You need something more than just the good idea. You need the guts and conviction to bring the idea to life, and you need the intelligence and stick-to-itiveness to fulfill the following key statements:

“We can make this.”

“We can make it happen.”

“We can figure out the audience and the message.”

“We can commit resources, time and energy to do it.”

In other words, you need a plan.

Building that plan using seven steps (and doing them in the right order) is what our new book Breakthrough! is all about. Available now online or at a book store near you.


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One thing that many of the best Big Ideas tend to have in common is virtually everyone says the idea makes no sense (when they first hear it). There’s no way it could ever succeed.

  • Starbucks. Coffee at $3 a cup? Who would spend so much for a cuppa joe?
  • Perdue. Turn chicken into a brand name? Ridiculous. Who needs a brand of chicken?
  • GI Joe. Dolls for boys? Absurd. Boys don’t play with dolls.
  • Google. A search engine? Who needs a new search engine when you’ve got Netscape and Internet Explorer?
  • JetBlue. Who needs another low-cost airline? Especially to Florida.
  • Twitter. We have instant messaging and texting. We already have blogging. Who’s going to micro-blog in 140-character messages?

Do you think they were all just lucky? Breakthrough! our new book – available online or at a bookstore near you – is about the process companies have to go through to make a great idea happen.


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People think breakthrough ideas are a matter of luck. The truth is, they’re the result of careful thinking, planning and execution. Smart steps can take a great idea and drive a brilliant result (yes, with a manageable dose of luck thrown into the mix). But without managing the smart steps there’s virtually no chance that you’ll land on, let alone launch, a Big Idea. So what’s your plan for making the seemingly impossible, possible? Look around you. Every year, even in the worst of times, companies and individuals come to market with extraordinarily fresh, successful ideas. In fact, many of the best and biggest ideas have been spawned in the worst of times. Adversity often inspires creativity. When times are really tough, risk taking seems less risky. Breakthrough! now available online or at a bookstore near you.


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When was the last time you or your company came up with a breakthrough idea, product or service? Never? Wait…never say never. We all come up with good ideas all the time. But it’s not just about coming up with great ideas; it’s about coming up with terrific ideas that actually make it to market. So how come your good ideas don’t make it to market? And if it they did, how come they didn’t succeed? Why aren’t you occupying the corner office at your company? Why aren’t you rich, retired and living la vida loca in Costa Rica? Read our book Breakthrough! available now at AMACOM Books, online or at a bookstore near you.


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Is your company creating breakthrough, winning products and services within your industry? Is the pursuit of Big Ideas standard operating procedure for your business? Why does it always seem that other companies develop new ideas, products and services while you continue to struggle to hold onto your existing share of market? Why aren’t you able to cultivate big, new ideas let alone move your good idea to the next step? Why aren’t you taking steps to make your company the next Apple or Google or Starbucks or Dell or Lite Beer, even Chia Pet or any other one of the hundreds of global phenomena?

Yeah? We’re waiting…In the meantime, we wrote Breakthrough! Now available at AMACOM Books or online at Amazon or a bookstore near you to answer those questions and more.


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It’s what drives Apple sales. What drives your sales? Are there people out there saying, “I’ve got to have him” or “I’ve got to have her”? If so, why? If not, why not? Find out what people think about your product or service and then ask yourself what you can do to turn yourself from a commodity into a necessity.


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When was the last time you were the last person to speak in a meeting? Next time there’s a meeting, focus on listening. Don’t say a word for the entire meeting. Then be the person who sums up and makes the cogent, key point that ends the session. See how your value goes up within the organization; especially if you’re already the boss.


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Think about what you can do, should do or would have to do in order to be admired and respected. By your customers and by your peers. Caterpillar: Impeccable service. Apple: Extraordinary design. Kia: Outstanding Warrantee. Mercedes: Superb engineering. Being admired is about being excellent. And it only has to be in one area or by doing one thing better than anyone else. What’s your one special thing and when are you planning to start communicating and delivering it?


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How much better would your work become if you were willing to quit your job if your work wasn’t approved the way you intend it? Passion wins the day. If you decide that the work is that important it will make you better and much more thorough in your preparation. You would look awfully stupid if you were willing to quit over mediocrity. Deciding to put yourself on the line means demanding excellence of yourself. No, you don’t really have to quit, but see how much better your work will become if you start using that standard.


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But make sure you’re asking the right questions. If you’re testing for a new product or service that hasn’t been offered before, be very, very, careful. We’ve seen good ideas die because you can’t measure what hasn’t happened yet. You can’t get a clear response on a product or service that’s never been out there. So make sure you’ve got a great research team working with you and make sure you’re asking all the right questions. Be creative, imaginative, projective. Look for where your customers would be willing to go, not just what they tell you about how they behave today.