5 Secrets to a Successful Launch
Trying to come up with the next big thing? Forget flashy tricks - start with a simple insight and shape it into something unique.
By Michael Winnick, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Let's say you're the CEO of a large media company. It's 1997, and two scruffy guys are in your office pitching an idea for a new search engine.

"It's innovative!" they say, explaining that their technology delivers more accurate search results quicker, without lots of extraneous stuff cluttering up the page. Then they mumble something about how they've named their search engine Google.

Photo GallerylaunchSee more photos

A savvy executive would have heard the sweet sound of opportunity knocking, because Google (Charts) did what effective innovations always do: It gave people dramatically better results while shrouding its true sophistication in a simple and elegant package.

Many managers seek to avoid the purgatory of obsolescence and commoditization through projects that aim to create radical game-changing innovations. The reality, however, is that such ambitious efforts rarely deliver.

On the other hand, when you look at some of the most successful innovations of recent years - iconic products like Apple's (Charts) iPod and Motorola's (Charts) Razr - it's apparent that the best innovators take a different approach: They focus on developing compelling solutions to common problems. Simple innovators don't seek to be the first to create something, but rather to be the first to perfect it so it will thrive in the real world.

See the secrets to a successful launch.

But corporate innovation initiatives frequently go astray. Why?

Executives are often pulled in one of two directions: toward boring product-line extensions or toward radical new gizmos. Neither, however, yields the kinds of simple innovations that are most likely to succeed.

The line extension is the same old same old, gussied up with new packaging or features. The gizmo, on the other hand, is the desire to differentiate gone mad-like a combination wristwatch/TV.

So how to separate the mundane from the magnificent and the outstanding from the merely overwrought? In the accompanying gallery, we offer a few rules.

Michael Winnick is managing director at Gravity Tank, a Chicago-based creative consulting firm.

The secret to Yahoo Answer's success. Top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.