Unmake - rodger martin

Rodger Martin says the CEOs top challenge is…

“The pace of innovation is not where it should be in the company”

A problem of their own making, here’s why and the strategy to fix it:


CEOs action teams to deliver innovation using data for making decisions.

There’s nothing wrong with decisions based on data, helping to exploit incremental improvements of process, service and product.

But, Incremental means to make better, a future that looks a lot like the present and past, a continuation.

CEOs instructing teams to create ‘innovation at pace’, using data is dangerous. It’s an ‘exploit strategy’ based on ‘what has to be true’ for decisions. A world of incremental innovation, mired in competition and demising returns.
It makes the CEOs the limiting factor for innovation.


SOLUTION: TO EXPLORE (with category design)

CEOs empower teams to imagine the future (no data required). Then, make compelling arguments for that future utilising category design.
A powerful contribution to innovation.

Presenting an argument well-framed is half solved. Category design is the vehicle to do it.
A step-by-step guide to frame (problem), name (solution) and claim (category). To create and dominate new categories.

This is fast-paced innovation of exponential new value for customers and company.

Steve Jobs and AirBNB rejected the present and the data to back it up. They wanted to explore and create a different future. To create categories that did not exist before.

Smartphones as a category did not exist before the iPhone, today there are billions. Jobs did not crunch numbers to innovate.

Airbnb pitched to many VCs in early funding rounds. Some requested data to back up the argument. There can’t be if you are creating a future innovation.

The big learning here for CEOs is that ‘innovation at pace’ has never and will never be achievable using data.

Innovation at pace requires CEOs to excite their teams to explore beyond data. Category design is the untapped potential to do it.

This is innovation at pace.



There are 2 types of CEOs deploying strategy for innovation:

1. Using data to back up innovation progress.
2. Using category design to create a different future and dominate new markets.

As I continue helping CEOs and teams with the MVC (Maximum Viable Category) tool. A step-by-step exploration of innovation at pace.

I’d like to thank Roger Martin & Christopher Lochhead 🏴‍☠️. The inspiration/guidance, including this post I attribute to them.

Their podcast episode is the most succinct expression of innovation. A strategy to win for those willing to be brave.

Their books, ‘Play Bigger and ‘A New Way to Think are great bedfellows. Aligning on the subject of innovation and strategy.

I loved the quote by Aristotle referenced by Rodger –
“The job of human beings is to be the cause of the effect they want to see”