Thursday, December 18, 2008


Innovation in the foodservice industry has been minimal because organizations continue to do the same old thing. One way the industry can cure its stale thinking is to practice deconstruction. Organizations need to tear themselves apart and begin reconstructing key elements.

Read On:
Back in April 2008 I addressed the topic of “Morph Marketing” in a Nation’s Restaurant News opinion piece. I advocated that marketers have been developing business plans the same old way, year after year after year. As a result, the foodservice industry has witnessed minimal innovation. Now I am beginning to realize there is a greater symptom for the lack of innovation. Organizations in total are stale because every internal department is doing the same old thing. Time to steal a page from the philosopher, Jacques Derrida. Practice deconstruction. Derrida believed:
Every structure that organizes our experience is constituted and maintained by exclusion. In the process of creating something, something inevitably gets left out. Exclusive structures become repressive, thus take things apart and reconstruct.

English, English. Blow your organization up and start over from scratch. Okay, maybe that is totally unrealistic, but a good place to start is to answer the three tough questions detailed below:

Who are we? Better known as a positioning statement that identifies your company’s target audience, frame of reference and point of difference.

What do we want to be when we grow up? Answering this question is a team effort that should reflect your company’s vision communicated in a clear, concise statement so everyone beats to the same drum.

How are we going to get there? Once again a team effort that will best describe the principles and guiding values your company will exercise to achieve its vision. In laymen’s terms, your company’s mission statement.

Trust me, once your organization has re-examined its positioning, vision and mission statements, your team will be re-energized and the innovative juices will start flowing again.

Time to reconstruct.


  1. Right on, Jim... to further the deconstruction process, ask three more questions:

    -- Is "who we are" relevant in today's (and tomorrow's) marketplace?

    -- Most any adult who longs for the simpler times of childhood will tell you that 'growing up' is over-rated and we lose our childlike curiosity, creativity, sense of wonder, and lack of fear in the process. The real question is "who do we want to be as/when we re-birth ourselves"?

    -- We all know that "getting there" is half the fun... we need to (re-)invent new roads, rivers, channels, vehicles, transporters (all metaphorically speaking), etc. to make the trip more fun and effective.

    So... do it! Deconstruct and win!

  2. Jim
    Great points...and perfect timing.

    A couple of additional thoughts:

    What have we learned along the way that can propel us forward?
    what is it that we do not know that can forever keep us forward thinking?

  3. Jim

    interesting thesis. that resonates with me this evening--on my previous flight I wrote a bunch of summaries to use in upcoming speaking opportunities next year. One of the topics I generated was "organizational change in a talent rich, cash poor world." Deconstruction isn't free, however it is a way to engage potentially idle, capable resources. Focus on internal reinvention when external demand for talent is below forecast.

    happy holidays!

  4. As more support for your comment on lack of innovation, I have read a number of articles lately where Executives rank innovation as the primary way their organization will need to prosper in the upcoming year.

    This week, SmartBrief on Leadership posted a survey. To the question "Which strategy will be central to your effort to enhance profits in the new year"? The top answer w/42% was 'Product and service innovation'. Interestingly, 'Price increases' came in at 4%, but it seems so many firms go that easy route in the short-term.