Great Innovation is Global

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I’m excited – really excited – to have made the move to the Citrix Startup Accelerator from Citrix Labs. So much so that I’ve moved my family from Sydney to Silicon Valley to make this happen. (We’re settling in nicely, thanks.)

Under the circumstance, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I think great innovation needs a global focus, which is why the Citrix Global Challenge is critically important for the Startup Accelerator. To kick this off I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the types of technologies and directions that are most interesting for the Startup Accelerator.

The list on the site talks about trends like ‘mobile’, ‘cloud’ and ‘consumerization’. These are somewhat broad and the flavor of the moment, indeed, most of the breakout companies for the last few years could be described using these terms. To improve clarity I’d like to give an indication of one investment sweet-spot, what I call ‘Alternative futures of the desktop.’ Citrix has long pioneered alternative desktop visions, and is the leader in Virtual Computing – so new ways to solve the desktop problem are particularly interesting.

Primadesk is our first Startup Accelerator investment. Their vision is to let you “Search, manage and backup your personal cloud data with one simple interface no matter what device you use.”

The challenge is that we have too many options for personal data in the cloud.I use Gmail for personal email, but also have old accounts on Hotmail and Yahoo. I have documents in many services ranging from files on the Mac, Google docs, Simplenote, Evernote, and half a dozen others. My backups are a mixed combination of Mozy, S3 (Jungledisk), and my home NAS. The founder of Primadesk recognized that these all act as silos, solving many individual problems well, but leaving severe compatibility gaps.

Primadesk simplifies access to your distributed personal digital assets. Their software gives you a single view of all those silos, allowing you to; search across all your documents and mail; backup from one service to another; drag and drop photos from one site to another. This plays into on of the themes where Citrix has long led: new desktop possibilities, new ways to provide the desktop experience.

If your startup has new approaches to desktop computing, to the use of mobile, or emerging use cases, we’d love to hear from you as we call for Citrix Global Challenge applications in Silicon Valley, Boston, Cambridge, Bangalore, and Sydney.

Why first mover (radical innovation) doesn’t win in technology centric markets.

The Curse of the First-Mover: When Incremental Innovation Leads to Radical Change

Thierry Rayna
London Metropolitan Business School

Ludmila Striukova
University College London

International Journal of Collaborative Enterprise, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 4???21, 2009

Abstract:     
The literature establishes a strong link between radical innovation, first-mover advantage and market dominance. However, there are numerous examples where, despite being the first-mover and radically innovating, companies have failed to achieve a significant market share. In fact, incremental innovation can, sometimes, influence the industry in a more significant way than radical innovation. The aim of this article is to investigate the relation between radical innovation, incremental innovation and market dominance. It explains why radical innovation and first-mover advantage might fail to provide competitive advantage and weaken companies. In order to do so, the article examines the key determinants of why first-movers may face a disadvantage in comparison to followers. These theoretical results are supported by the case study of four products released by Apple, two of which correspond to radical innovations and to others to incremental innovation.

Keywords: incremental innovation, radical innovation, first-mover advantage, digital audio player, Apple, iPod, iMac, Lisa, Newton

Some excellent insights and well worth browsing. Fits many of my observations too.
(originally via http://www.jpb.com/report103/archives.php)

Prospect theory applied to corporate innovation – interesting

Lessons to Be Learned from Prospect Theory

Prospect theory, when applied to innovation, suggests that managers in profitable companies are likely to be risk averse and therefore are psychologically likely to reject potentially innovative ideas, particularly new product and service ideas that offer an opportunity to increase income. However, potentially innovative ideas which reduce loss, are more likely to be implemented. Thus, in an established firm, process efficiency ideas, which reduce costs, are more attractive to the typical human than are product ideas. And this is true in my experience, anyway.

Likewise, loss making companies such as new start-ups or companies facing economic difficulties are more likely to embrace new product and service ideas as they offer the opportunity to reduce loss. However, start-ups with a young not-yet-defined corporate culture would seem more likely to innovate effectively than established companies that are suddenly losing money and need to innovate themselves out of trouble.

I really enjoyed Jeffrey Baumgartner’s thought experiment linking prospect theory (imbalance of risk assessment for gains versus losses) with corporate interest in innovation (more at http://www.jpb.com/report103/archive.php?issue_no=20090519). Not the whole story, but certainly an insightful generalization.

Other important related ideas include the ‘Innovators Dilemma’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_technology) and the notion of punctuated equilibrium applied to social institutions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium_in_social_theory

More on this to come over time.