If you would search on the web with “Apple innovation” or “Sony demise”, you would find plenty of interesting reads.  Talk is easy.  I do it all the time, and I often get paid for doing it.  But to actually make a product or service that people actually pays for, and sell them in quantity, it is very, very, very hard.  I’ve tried it.  I am still trying it.  I hope one day soon, I will succeed.

Meanwhile here is what I learned about innovation, business growth in a nutshell:
@chibicode describes innovation beautifully.

Original Japanese tweet:  @chibicode: アップルで働くまで、イノベーションというのは「今にない、新しいものを作ること」だと思ってた。でもそれは違って、イノベーションというのは「未来にある普通のものを作ること」なのです。この違いを理解できるまでかなり時間がかかった。

English translation:  @chibicode: Until I worked at Apple, I thought innovation means “to create something new that does not yet exist”.  But that was wrong.  Innovation means  “to create ordinary thing that would exist in the future”.  It took me a long time before I could understand this difference.

Creating innovative product or service is most often time consuming process that someone has to focus their energy intensely.  Yet, in the entire business practice, this part, I feel is less than 10%  in time and effort.  In order for business to grow, the large factors are the timing and people.

Timing is such large part in everything in this world.  For instance, innovative product or service may develop anywhere.  Iceland, Vietnam, Turkey.  But after it comes into existence, unless it is sold in area that would welcome it and use it, business is not going to grow.  If it is going to be sold in quantity, localized online presence or actual presence in any of the BRIC’s countries would promote sales.  For instance, it the product/service is for youth, then BRIC’s countries.  If the product/service is for aging population, then Japan.

People means understanding both the consumer and the workers.    I have mentioned Apple innovation and Sony demise earlier.  Apple focus is directed perhaps ultimately by Steve Jobs.  In his relationships, he controls the social relationships with other people which is connected to his moral and his  business values.  With Sony, people has to deal with legacy of social relationships established by the line of past Presidents, not to mention other officers within the company.  Someone who has made pact and promises with people s/he worked with would be seen as moral person if s/he kept the promise.  It takes a lot of struggling and growing for that person to decide to break promise for greater good.  Thus, it is only right in human society that established business’s rate of innovation slows down as the company accumulates its history.  As once the cutting edge technological product become commodity product, company will need to do major transformation.  And because companies are made of people, changing psychological and social tendency of people is not possible.  Only thing a company can do to transform itself would be how any organism does.  Wait for its cells to die as new cells emerge and grow.  Unfortunately, bigger the company (living thing) is, slower the total change of old cell groups to new cell groups.  And that is why big innovative cutting edge technology company can not stay big and cutting edge.  Once products become as commodity, it requires different sort of focus, and that part can be done by marketing focused company, and such company can stay relatively stable in size, since core function does not require major rapid change as would at cutting edge technology company.

So long as we live as humans, characteristics such as honesty, trust, kindness, reliability would be high in being a good person.  When we are young, things would be less complicated unless we are asked to carry on the previous generation’s relationship.  But when we become older, being kind to various ties become conflicting.  It seems to me that honesty is the most important characteristic as starting point in any business situation, since being honest of our feelings and seeing the current situation in honest way would open the door for any situation.  Chasing “innovation”  for its sake, and for speed would lead business astray, because especially for established companies, basic human values such as trust, kindness, reliability would be compromised.  Business can not grow without satisfying the basic human values, be it customer or workers.