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CIOs and the Art of Pepsi-Flavored Disruption

Real innovation today is said to come from fixing something that isn’t broken

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services

There's a great management book called "The Other Guy Blinked" by the ex-CEO of Pepsi that describes the episode when Coke tried to change its formula and make its core product better. The company re-wrote its product recipe and tried to shake up the market.

In the case of Coke, the company famously failed as consumers reacted negatively to the new drink and moved in droves to Pepsi as their preferred carbonated beverage of choice.

Disruptive innovation
This kind of so-called "disruptive innovation" has been popularized by the technology press many times over as a means of describing product reinvention and service innovation. Real innovation today is said to come from fixing something that isn't broken (hence the term disruption) and examples come in many forms.

One of the better examples of disruptive innovation in the last decade or so also involves Pepsi. As a soft drink, we know what Pepsi is, i.e., it's inexpensive, sweet and tastes good, plus of course it's aspirational (as in "the choice for a new generation") too.

These are good attributes for a soft drink product. Low cost, pleasant on the tongue, with the ability to make you feel good for no practical reason or rationale.

How then could an expensive, weird and unpleasant tasting drink that was purely functional (as opposed to aspirational) become one of the most popular and highly sought after canned beverages on the planet?

Red Bull gives you (innovation) wings
You had better ask Red Bull, because that's exactly the product positioning the company chose when it produced its now ubiquitous energy drink.

The point here is product innovation and it's a good lesson for CIOs in every vertical and in every size organization imaginable. Much of the drive to produce this kind of innovation today will be supported by digital marketing tools. Suites like the HP Digital Marketing Hub are now emerging to enables marketers (and marketeers if you prefer the term) to create personalized experiences based on real-time analysis of multiple customer touchpoints.

Fix what is not broken
This tool from the HP Autonomy stable may not produce the next Red Bull before Christmas, but it does give us some insight into how Big Data can be fed into modern marketing engines to try and look for the next disruptive product development that we should be thinking about. It's all about developing something in an area that is not broken at the current moment.

Socks come in pairs of two, so that business model doesn't need reinvention right? Wrong. The innovative brain behind littlemissmatched.com decided that selling odd socks in packs of three would appeal to 10-year old girls - and so a marketing dream become a business success reality.

The HP Digital Marketing Hub combines technologies from HP Autonomy, HP Vertica and HP Labs, and leverages the HP Converged Cloud to bring advanced analytics to bear. Through a cloud-based interface, marketers can identify customer segments; build prescriptive models that match segments to targeted campaigns, offers and content; and engage in real time with these customers across advertising, contact centers, mobile, print, social and web touch points.

"HP is taking a differentiated approach to solving a fundamental challenge for marketers - how to increase engagement, yield and conversions amidst a constantly changing and multichannel marketplace," said Rafiq Mohammadi, general manager, marketing optimization, HP Autonomy.

Modern wisdom says that legacy marketing analytics and business intelligence tools struggle to process massive volumes of customer data, require manual tagging and identification of segments, and fail to recognize nuance, concepts and patterns in unstructured, human information.

This theorizing then, combined with Pepsi + Red Bull + Odd spotty 3-paired socks, could be your CIOs next major development strategy, so watch out for crazy innovative times ahead.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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