I’m not an early adopter. I know this. You’ll never find me camping outside of an Apple store preceding the release of their newest gadget. I will always be slightly “behind,” technologically speaking, and I’m ok with that. So, I have to admit, I’ve not yet played Pokémon Go. Give me a few weeks. But that surely doesn’t mean I can’t see the value in what Nintendo’s leadership has done here. The world has seen their value, literally, skyrocket having added a cool $23 Billion to their value in just two weeks. So, here is the digest of three key leadership lessons we should derive from Nintendo’s recent blockbuster success and how it can impact your leadership growth.*
Lesson 1: Seek Out Ideas and Insights From Outside Your Core Team
Going at it alone, especially in tech and other highly innovative industries, is a thing of the 80s. While some 80’s fashion trends may have resurfaced this business trend, others should Just. Stay. Away. In order to leap-frog your competition you’ll need ideas from outside your core team. This could be as simple as getting a cross-functional team together from across your organization to analyze a market opportunity or it may require the more complex pursuit of a formal partnership with an outside organization. Nintendo suffered the worst of this when they refused to create gaming apps as the gaming demographic was changing before their eyes. They refused to see the need to jump on this innovation. But now they’ve seen the light, and the light came in the form of a partnership with Niantic, Inc.
Lesson 2: Looks May Be Deceiving: Finding Your Next Big Innovation
Innovation is a radical new invention that revolutionizes a product or industry.Right? Partly right. We often get caught up in an innovator’s trap: thinking that anything worthy of being called an innovation could only be radical. However, incremental innovations are often more marketable, easier to manufacture and highly profitable. Nintendo has simply taken a twist on the old Pokémon game, an incremental innovation. They’ve updated it to once again be the cutting edge, addictive game it once was, now built on a forward-thinking technology that every early adopter must get their hands on. Your next big innovation might just be an incremental change, a twist on an older product, updated to meet the needs of today.
Lesson 3: Innovation Begets Innovation
A critical twist on point 2 above, is that one innovation can spark an entirely unexpected type of innovation in another market or sector. Nintendo’s gaming innovation has already spurned digital marketing innovations that other companies are taking advantage of. McDonald’s has just inked a deal so that every McDonald’s in Japan will either be a PokéStop or a Gym. Brilliant. As a leader, one must not only look for opportunities within their own industry for innovations, but even in completely unrelated industries. Small local businesses are also reaping the benefits. While we may want to just go heads down and plow through our market expansion project, best to stop and check yourself. Look for outside advice or partners, think in incremental possibilities and look for innovations where you might not expect them.
*Adding $23 Billion to your value is a tongue-in-cheek representation of the value you could get out of following the leadership advice provided by Nintendo’s actions via our interpretation. If you do experience this amount of growth based on our advice, please let us know.