Benchmark for Innovation

I just read a very nice blog post by Suman Srivastava titled ‘If you’re in a commodity market, it’s your fault’.

It reminded me of a meeting that happened a few years ago. My team had come up with a very interesting idea and it was never done before. I felt it was a very powerful idea and would have given competitive advantage to the client. But this very well qualified (MBA from a leading b-school) MNC Brand Manager asked me to provide benchmark/best practice for the innovation before we could execute it. I was quite shocked. I argued that either we could give him benchmark or an innovative idea but we couldn’t possibly give him both things together. Because benchmark usually meant several other people had successful executed that idea. He was quite annoyed and said: ‘it is your fault. If you don’t know how to give me benchmarks that helps me in justifying the idea to my bosses and wider stakeholders then you have failed completely’.

I had no choice but to accept my failure and walk out of that meeting. And I’m glad I did it.