Innovation for and by multi-core businesses …

The KnowledgeForward blog notes this transcript on Microsofts innovation management practices (this is from a presentation Steve Ballmer gave at the Convergence 2007 conference in March). This talk also has some good thoughts that can be applied in regard to business model design and innovation – just think of the up-sides of being a fast follower, optimizing and re-inventing things vs. genuinely inventing stuff etc. Microsoft excels at this … but there’s more:

[…] And last but certainly not least, our company takes a long term approach. We don’t get in and do something for a year; we get in. Sometimes we get it right at first, sometimes it takes a second release or a third release. But you can count on us, as you can count on us throughout everything we do, […] We’re just going to keep investing and investing and investing and investing. Our persistence, our willingness and desire to hear from you, to learn, to bring new innovations to bear, and to keep on going is very high.

Hmmm, one wonders whether this deep-pocketed, sheer fire-power approach to innovation is really efficient (and please, don’t tell me about MSFT’s stock value, earnings and stuff), when we all know that willingness and persistence are traits of some sore losers as well.

One other thing I found noteworthy is this:

We are what I like to call multi-core. We’re for the enterprise and for the consumer. We have an ad business model, a service business model, and a software business model. We sell hardware and we sell software. But our core skill set is broad horizontal technology innovation.

This concept of Microsoft as multi-core, fueled by “broad horizontal technology innovation”, is not only an interesting perspective (lending itself to a variety of uses …), it can also be used to illustrate the importance of adaptivity, connectivity and emergence when thinking about the overall “business model portfolio” …

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