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Jerry Gumbert » Blog Archive » Wanted: New Ideas Steve Safran's MediaReinvent

Wanted: New Ideas

When was the last time you had a new idea?  Something truly innovative or interesting that could possibly create value?

Although we are no longer an industry with its head stuck in sand, we have failed to create an environment that embraces new ideas.  We are still an industry with its head down driven by expense control and hell bent on doing more with less.  “Research & Development”  is a significant line item in most budgets regardless of the industry.  That has never been the case in local media and if there were ever a time when R&D should be front center it is now.  Unfortunately, stock price sensitivity, bank loan covenants and the demand for hitting a short-term number is FAR more important than long-term viability.  I get it, but I think its short-sighted and balanced much too heavily on today.  Investing in new ideas and new opportunities now is what will restore our margins and provide long-term dividends.

Harvard Business icon Clayton Christensen teaches us the following:

Finance and economics principles teach us to ignore “sunk and fixed” costs when we evaluate alternative business opportunities.  Instead, we should base decisions on marginal costs and marginal revenues that each alternative entails.   This doctrine biases companies to leverage what “they have put in place to succeed in the past,” instead of guiding them to “create capabilities needed in the future.”  If we knew the future would be exactly the same as the past, that approach would be fine.  But, if the future is different (and it clearly is for local media) then it is the wrong thing to do.

We must become idea-driven companies filled with exciting, idea-generating people from top to bottom.

Our success should  no longer be based on the past (50% margins), but on the future (a new found relevancy).

This entry was posted on Friday, April 29th, 2011 at 6:00 am and is filed under Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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