Tag Archives: Innovation


This blog’s first post, “The Honor System,” profiled the artist Radiohead as an innovative example of musicians bypassing big labels and putting their trust (and profits) directly in the hands of consumers Radiohead Bypasses Labels.

Faced with an exodus of top talent, big labels have had their existence challenged Fast Company: Can Big Labels Survive? (see esp. post by Karen McGrane, echoed on MusicNews.com R.I.P. CD?).

Warner, Sony BMG, and Universal have all heeded the advice of McGrane and are working hard to adapt and invent, using Web 2.0 to their advantage (see post entitled “Web 2.0, SoJo, and Horatio Alger”) and striking a landmark deal with MySpace Business Week: Record Labels and MySpace Cut a Deal.

Big labels have also introduced the “360 degree contract,” which is all-encompassing (merchandise, tours, etc.) as opposed to merely CD sales The Economist: A Change of Tune: 360 Degree Contracts.

What ultimately happens to big labels remains to be seen. Yet recent events evidence that several labels are trying, in open-minded and innovative ways, to adapt and ensure their survival. As of now, a Barenaked Ladies chorus is the final arbiter for the industry: “And it’ll be great, just wait–or is it too little, too late?”


1. Consider the effects of competition among big businesses as they attempt to stay relevant to the consumer (e.g. Apple/iTunes, record labels, musicians). Does this competition help or hurt the consumer?

2. Does this kind of “consumer based competition” encourage or discourage innovation? What, in turn, does this do for everyone involved (artists, labels, consumers, etc.)?

3. What would be the effects of consumer based competition (as opposed to relative price fixing) in other industries (e.g banking, credit cards, etc.)?


Focus on and trust your consumer base to drive innovation and a competitive advantage.


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Liquid Ambition

With 97% of the world’s water undrinkable ocean and 3rd world nations (especially in Asia and Africa) suffering from a lack of potable water, access to clean water is an oft-overlooked problem Ripple Effects (see esp. 2nd to last paragraph). As one of the UN’s Millenium Development Goals, the UN aims to “reduce by half the amount of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water” Goal #7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability.

Led by Danish company Vestergaard Frandsen and their revolutionary LifeStraw, check out the following examples of innovators addressing global concerns in addition to bottom lines:



Healing Waters International

MetaVu, Inc.: Return on Environment (RoE)

Solar Water Purifier (click on “Solar Water Purifier” under Further Info.)


1. Is it possible for market based capitalism to drive profit via the solution of existing needs rather than manufactured wants? Which strategy is more profitable in the long term?

2. As the world becomes “flatter” and globalization demands not just awareness, but participation in addressing global crises, what role can your company play within its niche?


Donate some time, money, or your particular talents to an organization/project of global concern, even if acting on a local level.

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