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Claudia Imhoff

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This is another means for me to communicate, educate and participate within the Business Intelligence industry. It is a perfect forum for airing opinions, thoughts, vendor and client updates, problems and questions. To maximize the blog's value, it must be a participative venue. This means I will look forward to hearing from you often, since your input is vital to the blog's success. All I ask is that you treat me, the blog, and everyone who uses it with respect.

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About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants ( You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

Editor's Note:
More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!


Most Americans hate innovation or maybe they are just afraid of it? So goes the story line of a recent Information Week article. The author, John Soat, thinks we should "party like it's 1999". Do you agree?

Mr. Soat cites the following examples as a lack of innovation raging through our country:

1. A popular movie -- Superman Returns -- gives us one more view for the 70-year old comic book character. OK, he has a good point. Not exactly a new theme here, and the style of the movie is described as "retro" in its approach. I haven't seen it yet and am leaning toward renting it rather than coughing up the $9 bucks to see it on the big screen.

2. DaimlerChrysler has announced that it will be manufacturing a "new" version of a 1970s muscle car -- the Dodge Challenger -- shades of Daisy Duke, y'all.! The car will feature the long hood, short deck, wide stance and two-door coupe body style that distinguished the Challengers of the 1970s. According to the President of Chrysler: "We drew on the rich heritage of the Dodge Challenger, but with contemporary forms and technologies. It's not just a re-creation; it's a reinterpretation." Uh huh... They are really pushing the frontiers -- pushing them back to 1970!

3. Mr Soat even takes issue with calling the iconic iPod innovative. He considers it is just a digital version of the Sony Walkman. At least he does see Apple's iTunes business model as truly innovative. It must be -- look at how all the media companies are trying to shut it down.

As if these examples aren't enough, Information Week recently did a survey of companies throughout the globe regarding their desire to adopt new technologies. Only 6% of US companies said they wanted to lead; China was way ahead with 19% of its companies ready and willing to embrace new technologies. OK -- so we don't like change. That's not necessarily bad -- I have always preferred evolution to revolution. It may take a bit longer but the changes are less drastic and disruptive.

What do you think? Should we throw caution to the wind or take the more cautious route?

Yours in BI Success.


Posted July 12, 2006 8:22 AM
Permalink | 4 Comments |


I have found that often people have a problem with the word 'innovation'. If we follow the examples you gave then we are back to a time where everyone thinks that all inventions and discovery has already been done.

I know I am not part of that pack. Look what people do in the arts with music and literature. There are only 7 notes, but unlimited potential for new music.

So in our business we should be always looking for new innovative uses for our technology both to better serve our customers as well as maximize the benefit our employers have in our solutions.

I think the lack of innovation is a combination of the fear of large failure and loss of goodwill in the market place, sticking with what you know and has been proven and doing it well without reinventing the wheel to aid in revenue sustainability, not dedicated a huge amount of resources to potentially wasted R&D, etc. The truely innovative companies that pull it off are doing well in a big way. But is the price too much to pay for the others that fail?

I agree on the ipod, it isn't "new". It harkens back to the days when electronic devices were easy to use and didn't have many buttons! I think people welcome innovation if it makes life easier and are wary of complexity or innovation that has a steep learning curve.

When we say innovation most people think of product innovation. I remember hearing this phrase—"innovation is not just with products but also with processes"—and it has changed my perception of this word. I believe this is fundamental, that companies must fix their ways even before embarking on any other type of innovation.

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