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PLMA Show Coverage: Innovate to Win, Not Just to be Clever, Google Maven Says

November 14, 2011
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Successful businesses don’t innovate merely for the sake of innovation; rather they innovate to win at what they do, Douglas Merrill, the former chief information officer at online search giant Google, told attendees at the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Salute to Excellence breakfast Monday morning.

 

Keys to finding innovations that help you win are observing what customers do rather than what they say as well as hiring a diverse employee base that’s not afraid to try, and fail, at new endeavors, he said.

 

Eastman Kodak was a company that was innovative, in that it held scores of patents, but it never put that innovation into business practice, preferring to continue thinking of itself as a film company as digital photography made film obsolete, Merrill noted. Retailers should be careful not to follow the same corporate mindset that can’t think of a business in terms of the changing world around it.

 

Real world retailers should be using online methods to connect with customers as well, he said, giving the example of how Domino’s now takes two-thirds of its pizza orders online, helping it cut staffing costs in stores and have those savings flow to its bottom line.

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