Thinking Outside the Bun
Innovation is defined as “the introduction of something new.” Throughout human history innovation has taken us to new depths, and new heights. When many of us think of the word innovation, we think of many things, automobiles, telephones, airplanes, radio, television, computers, cellphones, and of course the Naked Chicken Chalupa from Taco Bell.
Wait, the Naked Chicken Chalupa from Taco Bell? Yes! Taco Bell has come up with the newest food item to sweep the United States, and my-oh-my is it a wonder. What is it you ask? Let me tell you. It’s a Chalupa, but this time the shell is made of chicken covered in spices and seasoning, and it is filled with lettuce, diced tomatoes, cheese, and ranch dressing. We may laugh when hearing about this item, or dry heave, but when we all think about it Taco Bell has constantly been the leader when it comes to innovation. Think of items they have constantly produced. The Double Decker Taco, the Mexican Pizza, the Crunchwrap, the Biscuit Taco, the Doritos Loco Taco, and of most recent fame the Quesalupa. I could go on and on listing off all their innovative items, but you get the point.
You’re probably laughing and thinking how ridiculous this blog piece is, but seriously, this is the true definition of innovation. They even have an Innovation lab, the Taco Bell Insights Lab. Now when I think of this lab I imagine many scientists in lab coats, with beakers, and clipboards taking copious notes. But I’m sure there are many who imagine this lab is filled with a bunch of millennial college students who just had a night of partying gathered in a room, spouting off food items, that eventually go on to the menu. Either way you see it this is innovation. Not all companies think of its importance, and this is what catches up to them eventually. Not being innovative can be the death of business, and this will hold tried and true for the rest of human existence.
Blockbuster, Kodak, and MySpace. These are three companies that I think of when it comes to failing at innovation. Blockbuster is the obvious candidate, there should be a big placard in every organization that should read “DO NOT BECOME THE NEXT BLOCKBUSTER.” Seriously, this will go down as one of the most failed businesses of all-time, if not the most. They failed at taking opportunities, thanks to former heads of the company. One of these heads was quoted as saying that video streaming was a “very small niche business.” Not sure if he knows this now but Netflix is now a $41 billion dollar company, according to Forbes.
Kodak, oddly enough, was the first business to create the digital camera, but they never took it to the next level. They assumed people would always want to print their photos, but thank the Lord they don’t. Remember having to go through hundreds of friend’s photos from their trip to some tropical resort, and every photo they showed you had to say things like “Wow”, “Cool”, and “That must have been so much fun”? Well, because Kodak didn’t have the vision that one day people would post their photos to their Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms, by use of digital cameras or even cell-phones, they failed. Speaking of social media, remember Myspace?
A lot of us were introduced to the social media world by MySpace, at least I was. MySpace never took it to the next level, in sharing videos or photos or even status updates. Many of us have a MySpace page that is setting out there on the “interwebs” that’s inaccessible because we cannot remember our log-in information. That’s how quickly they fell in their loss to Facebook. Facebook took what MySpace had, to the next level. They have constantly developed, and innovated, and MySpace didn’t.
The main message for these three examples, is to never settle thinking you’re set because there is always something new and better on the horizon, even if it is a “small niche business”.
Which brings us back to…Taco Bell, the face of innovation. We may laugh at the thought of the crazy food items and ideas, but think of where this all comes from. Taco Bell has taken advantage by becoming a part of pop culture, and social media. They stay relevant! Half of the United States, if not more, will be trying this new item. Seriously, Yum Brands CEO Greg Creed was stated in saying in an interview with CNBC that “half the U.S. population eats Taco Bell once a month, the average comes every 11 days.” That’s a lot of Naked Chicken Chalupas flying out those doors.
We may be saying how crazy the Naked Chicken Chalupa is to our peers, but we will be ordering one and eating it, well at least half of us, all 160 million of us. And when we do, we may taste something we could’ve never imagined, or something we cannot stand, but there is one thing we will taste… INNOVATION, and all I can say is, our lives will never be the same…
This is what we believe in at Latus Solutions. We have set out to disrupt the market, with innovation, and change the way organizations approach finding the best security solutions. This is a space that has not moved forward in innovation, and we have set out to change that.