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Blue Sky

The cult of innovation seems healthy on the face of it. In a free market, after all, innovation underpins competitive advantage, which in turn creates profit. So why not try to innovate everywhere?

Here&#39s why not: Innovation is by its very nature wasteful. It demands experimentation, speculative investment, and failure, all of which entail high costs and risks.

Indeed, it is innovation&#39s intrinsic uncertainty that gives it its value. High risks and costs form the barriers to competition that give successful innovators their edge. If innovation were a sure thing, everyone would do it equally well, and its strategic value would be neutralised. It would become just another cost of doing business.

But the high costs and risks also make discretion and prudence paramount. The most successful companies know when to take a chance on innovation, but they also know when to take the less glamorous but far safer route of imitation. Although imitation is often viewed as innovation&#39s homely sibling, it&#39s every bit as central to business success. Indeed, it&#39s what makes innovation economically feasible.

So the critical first question for any would-be innovator should not be how? but where? Deciding where to innovate &#39€&#34 and where not to &#39€&#34 is fundamentally a strategic exercise, requiring a clear understanding of a company&#39s existing and potential sources of competitive advantage.

Extract from Mastering Imitation by Nicholas G Carr a contributing editor to strategy+business and a former executive editor of Harvard Business Review.


Evolution of the housing market

As STL Group celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, looking at home buying statistics from 1974 to now seems appropriate. The topic of house prices is never out of the news: house prices soar; dramatic rise in interest rates; no hope for first-time buyers; gentle slowdown to UK&#39s housing market – the headlines go on. […]

Guaranteed rents for buy-to-let investors save taxpayers millions

This was revealed this week as the partnership between buy-to-let investors and the London borough of Hillingdon and managed by Orchard & Shipman plc celebrated its second anniversary by showing how savings on community housing can exceed £1.5m every year for every 1,000 properties. This public sector leasing partnership with individual private investors provides a […]

Cobalt receives full authorisation

The company says it is great news and will help the firm to push ahead with its ambitious expansion plans.

The Mortgage Mole

OLD SALTS Ah, a life on the ocean wave and MS&#39s annual fishing trip proved once more that the industry&#39s finest have the stomach for it. “I can&#39t believe no one was sick,” Pink&#39s Dev Malle told Mole. “Who in their right mind would go out the night before an 8.30am start, get blind drunk […]

The Perils of Passive Investing

The era of loose monetary policy created an environment that rewarded passive investors in the US. However, with the US raising interest rates for the first time since 2006, Felix Wintle explains why he believes active investing will be more important than ever. In the video Felix discusses: The rising cost of capital and its […]


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