Cross-industry innovation as competitive advantage: someone else have already solved your problem

Vullings and Heleven:

… Cross-industry innovation is a clever way to jump-start your innovation efforts by drawing analogies and transferring approaches between contexts, beyond the borders of your own industry, sector, area or domain …

Cross-industry innovation is not a new phenomenon, but we are experiencing an increasing attention mainly due to the combination of maturing industries and disruptive change that makes the traditional approach to innovation within the boundaries of an industry less effective.

Probably the best way to describe and lead enthusiasm in cross-industry innovation is by using inspiring case history:

  • BMW iDrive has been transferred from video gaming industry
  • Philips “Pay per lux”, Light as a service as the new business model for LED products
  • In 2006 Norwich Union launched first Pay as you drive insurance service
  • Circue du Soleil can be considered the mix of theatre and circus world, matching experiences and assets from both industries

Most businesses are deeply rooted in the conventional wisdom of their own industry. Managers and strategists do what had proved to be the best way of doing things in the past. They praise their expert knowledge of their industry as a strong foundation of their success. This approach effectively prevents the transfer of ideas from other industries and reduces the opportunity of generating value in a VUCA world.

Sometimes the answer is to look to best practices, sometimes is going beyond and find new paths, ideas and sources of inspiration. As Ramon Vullings writes: go from best practices to next practices!

Don’t be lazy, let’s start looking to the outside world: different sectors, art, nature, other companies …


Read More:

  1. Heleven, R. Vullings Not Invented Here: Cross-industry Innovation

Marc Heleven: Cross industry innovation toolkit: 50 inspiring companies and industries you can learn from

Ramon Vullings: Cross-industry innovation – How to innovate by learning from other sectors