LETTER FROM CLAREMONT: JANUARY-FEBRUARY 2013

Dear Friend,

The trouble with New Year’s resolutions is that to make one, you have to actually know what it is you want to accomplish.

At the Drucker Institute, we’ve been aware for a year now that we need a new strategy for harnessing technology to better serve our customers. The temptation, of course, is to pledge something specific—the introduction of a gizmo or the launch of a platform—and then spring into action. And that’s exactly where we started: by tossing out lots of answers.

Then, we thought of something that Peter Drucker said. “One does not begin with answers,” he remarked. “One begins by asking, ‘What are our questions?’”

And with that, we retraced our steps and started again: Who exactly is it we’re designing for? Our current digital audience? Our live workshop participants? Both? Or should we instead be leveraging technology to try to attract entirely new customers?

Beyond those are a series of questions from Drucker himself—ones that every organization should ask when it comes to innovation: Are we really aiming for the areas “of greatest growth and opportunity? How many of the truly important innovation opportunities did we miss? Why? Because we did not see them? Or because we saw them and dismissed them? Or because we botched them?

“A good deal of that, admittedly, is assessment rather than measurement,” Drucker continued. “It raises rather than answers questions, but it raises the right questions.”

Over the next couple of days, our staff will meet again to talk about how we can more effectively apply technology in 2013. Our agenda is now clear: We will continue to ask more questions until we find the one or two that bring everything into sharp focus. Coming up with answers should then be the easy part.

We wish you a Happy New Year—one that begins by scratching your head.

 

 

Rick Wartzman and Zach First
Executive Director and Managing Director