September 20, 2008

I'm a PC...

As you may have guessed from some of my posts on this blog, I am an avid television viewer. I have a lot of favorite shows, and try to catch most of them each week. Last night, I was watching a re-run of one of my favorites, The Office, when it went to a commercial.

At that point, I saw a clever new Microsoft ad called with the theme "I'm a PC", an obvious play on the Apple ads that are already out.

When I first saw it, I said to my wife, "what a great ad! Very clever!" She immediately shot back, "Yeah, it's great, but it's two years late!"

In thinking about her comment, I realized that she was right. We have been seeing Apple inundate the airwaves with their great ads with the two guys saying "I'm a Mac" and I'm a PC" for at least a year or two. The Mac always seems to win in those little duels. Apparently Microsoft finally had enough of it, and came back with this ad to counteract it. Why now? Why did it take so long?

It got me thinking about our work in associations and how many times there are great ideas that are developed on the staff or volunteer levels that just take so long to get off the ground because of the approval process or bureaucracies that are evident within our associations. I'm sure you know what I am talking about - the great non-dues revenue ideas that are developed, the new volunteer structure that would streamline the organization's work, etc.

How can we as leaders help to move the process for innovation forward so it doesn't take so long? Do we have processes or bureaucracies in place that limit the creativity and innovative ideas from our staff because the process takes so long? Do we have policies in place that hinder our abilities to move things forward quickly to respond to the needs of members?

For two years, Microsoft has let a competitor take market share while they seemed to be just sitting there. Now, they have come up with a creative and innovative campaign to get that back, but is it too late? I guess time will tell...


Lindy Dreyer said...

Microsoft had a very good reason for waiting...Windows Vista. I think it was smart for them to focus on fixing the problems with their new product before launching a communications response to the Apple ads. Your wife is right--it's a late counter-punch. But it's a lot more effective now that Vista is closer to what it promised to be.

I think you're asking all the right questions about innovation, by the way. Sometimes that means doing what we do best, only better.

Bruce Hammond said...

@Lindy- Thanks a lot for your reply. I guess I was thinking in the heat of the moment and not about Vista... Makes a lot of sense what you are talking about.