Saturday, August 08, 2009

Breakfast & Electronic Unnovation

Unnovation is a fantastic term coined by Harvard Business writer Umair Haaque. It is described as the process of innovation that fails to create authentic, meaningful value.

I believed Starbuck's idea to introduce healthy, hot breakfast pairings to be somewhat innovative. I travel extensively and always have difficulty finding a lighter breakfast, a combination of coffee and a small sandwich at the corner Starbucks seems like a great idea. And for Starbucks, it also helps them compete with the lower cost McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts offerings. So, a win all around. Except when you can't actually buy it!

Here's where the unnovation comes in. Because of Starbuck's franchisee agreements the highly marketed breakfasts are not available in all stores, in fact, they're not available in most stores! Why? Well low cost breakfasts would compete with the certain franchisee's existing food businesses, to whit the customer cares not one iota. So, after schellping to a Starbucks a few times and finding that the items are not available the customer (in this case me) gives up on the concept and returns to the competition. And Innovation becomes Unnovation. Corporate policies undermine the very products the company is introducing to stave off the demise of it's tradiitonal business.

Next up for unnovation is Radio Shack. "We're contemporizing the way we want people to think about our brand" was a quote from Lee Applbaum, Chief Marketing Officer. The contemporizing? Changing the name to "The Shack" Not introducing innovative new products or ideas, not implementing new processes, nothing, just a name change. In fact the change doesn't even go that deep, the URL is still and apart from a cringely awful online marketing campaign (beware if you click it really is that bad) that's where it begins and ends.

Now that is Unnovation.

1 comment:

PM Summer said...

My wife thought Radio Shack had entered into a deal with Wm. Young's book "The Shack". She was disappointed when I told her they were blissfully unaware of his book.

I expect a blow-back.