LETTER FROM CLAREMONT: NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2013

Dear Friend,

Over the years, we have designed workshops for executives that cover a wide range of topics—managing one’s time, communicating effectively, winning over the customer and much, much more.

And who’s surprised about that? When you have Peter Drucker’s enormous oeuvre as the foundation of your products and services, it feels like there isn’t a topic in the world that you couldn’t—and shouldn’t—cover.

But as Drucker himself knew so well: Just because a producer makes something, it doesn’t mean there’s a customer for it. “Markets are not created by God, nature or economic forces but by executives,” Drucker wrote.

For the past year, we’ve been hearing loud and clear what executives want: tools to enhance innovation. Sure, developing talent is crucial. Effective teamwork is vital. But from our vantage, innovation clearly sits atop today’s corporate agenda.

Our ongoing work with a leading technology company, a major food-products provider and the executive development firm Future Workplace all reflects this sharp focus. In high demand:

  1. Coming up with innovative ideas. To help companies spot the richest opportunities, we teach Drucker’s seven sources of innovative opportunity: changes in demographics, shifts in market structure and so on.
  2. Designing processes to innovate. Our checklist of 15 Drucker-based “do’s and don’ts” is beneficial for companies trying to make innovation more systematic.
  3. Formulating entrepreneurial strategies. Drucker’s four-point framework gives companies approaches to move an innovation into the market.
  4. Creating a culture of innovation. We provide executives with practical ways to turn every employee into an innovator.

With each of these offerings, our intent is to make clear that, as Drucker put it, “innovation is a discipline with its own, fairly simple, rules.” It will never happen “if we wait for inspiration and for the ‘kiss of the muse.’”

To be sure, we don’t want to close ourselves off to other topics that may suddenly become hot. And we’re always happy to work with individual customers on their specific needs. But in the meantime, we are intent on not becoming a venture that, in Drucker’s words, foolishly prides itself “on being willing and able to supply any ‘specialty,’ to satisfy any demand for variety, even to stimulate such demands in the first place.”

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Rick Wartzman and Zach First
Executive Director and Managing Director