Breakthrough!: A 7-Step System for Developing Unexpected and Profitable Ideas


Consider some big ideas that have become business and cultural phenomena: how Starbucks transformed a declining coffee market by combining an experience destination with a premium product. Or how the established notion that “dolls are for girls” was shattered by a toy line called G.I. Joe.

Most people mistakenly think breakthrough ideas are a matter of divine inspiration and luck. This book reveals a step-by-step methodology individuals and organizations can use to develop, ...

See more details below
$17.65 price
(Save 23%)$22.95 List Price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (13) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $1.99   
  • Used (8) from $1.99   
Breakthrough!: A 7-Step System for Developing Unexpected and Profitable Ideas

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99 price
(Save 43%)$22.95 List Price


Consider some big ideas that have become business and cultural phenomena: how Starbucks transformed a declining coffee market by combining an experience destination with a premium product. Or how the established notion that “dolls are for girls” was shattered by a toy line called G.I. Joe.

Most people mistakenly think breakthrough ideas are a matter of divine inspiration and luck. This book reveals a step-by-step methodology individuals and organizations can use to develop, create, and nurture the kinds of new products and services that capture the public’s imagination. Loaded with examples—and packed with straightforward explanations of the processes that can lead to breakout hits—this book shows readers how to create an idea methodology, encourage free-thinking, keep good ideas, and bring revolutionary, revenue-generating new concepts to market.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814415627
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 10/20/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

PAUL KURNIT is a well-known marketing expert and marketing professor at Pace University whose achievements at agencies such as Benton and Bowles, Ogilvy and DDB’s Griffin Bacal include campaigns for Crest, American Express, and Transformers. STEVE LANCE is a thirty-year veteran of advertising and marketing and an award-winning copywriter and creative director. He is coauthor of The Little Blue Book of Advertising. Together, they are the authors of The Little Blue Book of Marketing.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


What’s a Big Idea?

A BIG IDEA is anything that can build new audiences, new customers,

and new sales by mining undiscovered territory. It can

be a brand-new product or service, a line extension, a related

product—in fact, it can be just about anything. The only thing

every breakthrough idea has in common is that after it’s come

to the marketplace, everyone else turns into Homer Simpson

and says, “D’oh!”

What they mean is “Dough!” As in, “That’s gonna make

those people a ton of money. How come we didn’t think of

that?” Because to come up with a breakthrough idea, product,

or service you’ve got to break out of the box of your existing

marketplace thinking. And that’s very hard to do. But, there

are companies out there that are doing it all the time.

marketplace thinking. And that’s very hard to do. But, there

are companies out there that are doing it all the time.

Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. This one is classic. Perhaps

the granddaddy of all Big Ideas. Conventional wisdom: You

should always have a box in your cupboard for baking. You use

one or two tablespoons at a time. The package lasts forever—

or close to it. After all, it’s baking soda, right? Big Idea: Take the

entire box and put it in the refrigerator to freshen things up.

And when it stops working, pour it down the drain to freshen

your sink.

Wow! That’s three different Big Ideas in one. First, Arm &

Hammer finds a new use for the product (a use customers were

already doing; the manufacturer found out about it by conducting

focus groups) to increase sales. Second, the manufacturer

promoted the idea by suggesting you put the whole box in the

refrigerator (you only need a few tablespoons in a dish, which

you can change every few weeks). And third, they suggested

pouring the box—80 percent of which was still good—down the

drain to “freshen your drains.” (Did you know you had a stale

drain problem? We sure didn’t!) Sales of Arm & Hammer Baking

Soda took a quantum leap—it was a brilliant paradigm

buster that jump-started sales of a sleepy staple.

Diet Coke/Coke Zero. Conventional Wisdom: Coca-Cola is

the big gun of full-flavored cola beverages. Your brand is your

brand; don’t mess with the golden goose. Big Idea: Why try to

build brand loyalty for a product no one’s heard of (Tab) when

you can leverage the mother-lode name into an arena people

want—the Coke experience without the calories? So Diet Coke

is born. And if men don’t like the idea of drinking a “diet” cola,

let’s just call it Coke Zero and invite that Coke audience to the

party with a brand they can call their own. Sometimes busting

a paradigm doesn’t involve reinventing your entire marketing

and manufacturing approach. It just takes the courage to

smartly extend it!

Lite Beer from Miller. Conventional wisdom: Guys drink beer

for taste and to get drunk. They’re proud of their beerdrinking

ways and the number of brews they can put away in a

sitting. You can’t promote light beer as a dietary drink for men.

They’re not interested in admitting they’re counting calories.

Big Idea: “Less filling” means you can drink more. It’s permission

to beer binge without feeling full or uncomfortable.

Beyond that, women would drink more beer if it weren’t so fattening.

Suddenly, brewers had the opportunity to significantly

increase the size of their market. The danger here is in the

marketing execution: You can’t promote light beer as a drink

for women; they’re a secondary target. So the first attempts to

market “light” beer were a disaster (read the case study on

Gablinger’s Beer) because they missed the marketing target

(and it tasted awful). But when Miller Brewing Company started

using ex-jocks to promote the “less filling/tastes great” concept,

they suddenly had a winner—a big winner that opened a new

category in the beer business: light (or Lite) beer.

By the way, later we’ll talk more about understanding the

difference between a failed idea and a failed marketing strategy.

Some ideas are just plain bad. Others are good, but they take

some effort to find the winning message. That was the case

with Pampers. Procter & Gamble knew moms wanted the ease,

convenience, cost savings, and less-mess approach of disposable

diapers, but P&G couldn’t find the winning message in launch-

ing the product. None of those points—points moms themselves

raised in focus groups and consumer studies—resonated

with the audience when P&G took Pampers to market. It

wasn’t until they hit on the strategy “keeps your baby drier”

that sales took off. Because the real value to new moms in disposable

diapers is what the diapers mean to their babies. And,

yes, consumers lie in research all the time.

iPhone/iPhone Apps. Conventional Wisdom: Cell phones are

about the convenience of being able to talk to friends on the

go. They’re the necessary hardware part of the telephone network’s

strategy to sell “minutes.” Big Idea: The cell phone is

just one function of the personal digital assistant, and if you

open your architecture, you can create unprecedented demand

from consumers for a new type of personal device. In fact, as of

this writing, the Apple Store has sold more than a billion

downloads of almost 50,000 different apps for the iPhone.

Prior to the “open architecture” approach of Apple, this was a

nonexistent business.

UPS. Conventional wisdom: United Parcel Service was in the

business of package delivery. It was mostly a B-to-B operation.

Stores would send merchandise to customers via their brown

trucks. But customers had virtually no access to the service. Big

Idea: With the acquisition of Mail Boxes, Etc. and a UPS

rebranding effort, UPS has become an active—and friendlier—

competitor to the U.S. Postal Service. Consumers go to UPS

Stores in droves to mail their packages. And UPS delivery guys

are friends to local merchants and residents alike as they make

their way through numerous communities. “What can brown

do for you?”

Big companies and big honking ideas, right? Well, Big

Ideas aren’t restricted to big companies or big product ideas.

They also come from independents, entrepreneurs, and small


Animus Rex. A world-class Web design firm—in a very

crowded field. Their first Big Idea was to create a Web management

tool called EsKort that both increased client loyalty to

them and their services and also gave clients the independence

to manage their own Web sites. A win-win for Animus Rex and

their clients. Their next Big Idea was to solve the needs of a specific

industry—law firms. Law firms were moving to online digital

platforms but had huge amounts of data to store. Animus

Rex started specializing in law-firm Web design and data management,

providing firms with an easy way to store and manage

literally millions of pages of data.

Spam. That’s right, spam. Not the food product made by

Hormel Foods (although they probably could use a breakout

idea or two), but the stuff you try not to get every day on your

computer. Conventional wisdom: You cold-call via phone or by

walking door-to-door. Big Idea: Use the new medium of digital

communication to reach out to potential customers. A guy

named Gary Turk claims to be the father of spam in a story he

gave to National Public Radio in May 2008, commemorating

the 30th anniversary of the first spam e-mail. According to

Turk, in 1978 there were approximately 2,600 people on

Arpanet (the predecessor to the Internet) and their e-mail

addresses were listed in the directory. Turk sent unsolicited

e-mails to 400 people on the list (more than 15 percent of the

entire Internet at the time) and started an entirely new form of

annoying marketing. (Hey, we never said that all the breakthrough

ideas would be loved by the rest of the world. It

worked for him at the time and that’s all that counts.)

Scott Gutterson. A New York City–based tax attorney.

Scott realized that his client base was getting older—all his

clients were over 40. He also recognized that whenever he got

a new client it was because the person had gotten into financial

trouble chasing “a good idea.” Scott felt it would be beneficial

to all his clients if he could address those common pitfalls

before people lost their money. The result was a new Web site

devoted to providing financial advice for young adults,

www.18-34 (You’re On Your Own Now). It’s

become a high-traffic site and a great new-business tool for a

new generation of clients.

WE CAN GO ON. In fact, throughout this book we’ll talk

about products and services that landed on Big Ideas. You get

our point. Chances are, there are half a dozen possible gamechanging

ideas within your own company’s area of expertise

that can revolutionize or revitalize sales for your business.

They’re there. They’re lying beneath the surface of what you

already do well. You just need the commitment and the method

to mine them.

So what are you waiting for? As the Texas political commentator

Jim Hightower once observed, “There’s nothing in the

middle of the road but a yellow line and dead armadillos.” If you

play it safe, if you don’t grow, you’ll just disappear—merged

into a larger company or marginalized into irrelevance.

Companies need new ideas the way people need food. It’s

the energy that grows and sustains them. But where do they

come from? Many people think breakthrough ideas are a matter

of luck. But we’ll show you how they are the result of careful

planning, thinking, and execution.

When it comes to conceiving and launching Big Ideas, there

are no guarantees—but follow our 7 steps to developing a block -

buster phenomenon and you’ll greatly improve your odds.

7 Steps Quick Start (Wallet Guide)

1. Put an end to business as usual.

2. Get business buy-in.

3. Organize the team and process.

4. Land on the big idea.

5. Build momentum for the idea.

6. Develop the plan.

7. Launch the idea.

We’ll take you through these steps, one by one, to help you

build your rule-breaking team and process. Along the way we’ll

answer the questions of how you create a big new idea; what

qualifies as a standout product or service; how you develop marketing

and marketing communication that surrounds the consumer;

how you build a team to help get you there; who the

partners are and what events are that will help drive the idea;

and what the time frame is that will enable an idea to develop

into a phenomenon.

When we’re done, you’ll know the secrets to success. Then

all you have to do is get the buy-in (Step 2) and put together

your winning team (Step 3). Then you’ll be on your way.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get going!

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents



Overview: What's Big Idea? 1

Step 1 Put an End to Business as Usual

1 How Ya Doin'? 11

2 Why Rules are Traps 18

3 The New Rules 26

Step 2 Get Business Buy-in

4 Build the Sale 41

5 Make it Stick 51

Step 3 Organize the Team and Process

6 True Believers, Consensus Builders, and Odd Ducks 61

7 Fire up the Engines 65

8 Parameters and Process 75

Step 4 Land on the Big Idea

9 What are you Selling? 85

10 What are you Looking for? 96

11 The Competitive Landscape 107

12 Coming up with the Big Idea 114

13 Give Every Idea a Chance to Live 124

14 Sifting and Winnowing 128

Step 5 Build Momentum for the Idea

15 Determine the Dimensions of the Idea 137

16 Research 145

17 Due Diligence 149

18 Budgets 152

19 Management Buy-in 157

Step 6 Develop the Plan

20 What Should the Plan Look Like? 165

21 Sell the Plan 169

22 Who Ya Gonna Call? 173

Step 7 The Launch

23 Let's do Launch 181

24 Implement a Readable Test 186

25 Read, Roll, or Kill 190

26 Celebrate! 197

27 The End---And the Beginning 201

Index 205

About the Authors 213

Read More Show Less

First Chapter


A 7-Step System for Developing Unexpected and Profitable Ideas


Copyright © 2011 Paul Kurnit and Steve Lance
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8144-1562-7

Chapter One

How Ya Doin'?

THERE'S AN OLD show-business joke about a producer who opens a musical out of town. Opening night in Omaha, the show does $750 in ticket sales. A friend calls him up and says, "How'd the show go?" The producer answers, "Great! We sold $900 worth of tickets."

Besides lying about your results, which the Securities Exchange Commission, your investors, and your mother tend to frown upon, the question of how you're doing is one of the most difficult tasks a person has to do. It's also one of the most feared questions people in business hear all the time. Putting aside the lies, the fears, and the unwillingness to take the question seriously, take a moment to ask yourself what your answer would be.

It should be easy. After all, you've got only four choices: "Terrible"; "Could be better"; "Same old, same old"; and "Great, couldn't be better."

"Terrible." If your business isn't what it could be or isn't what it used to be, what are you doing about it? Most companies (especially small businesses) cling to the old rituals: cut their overhead and pray that things get better. Praying has its place. But to paraphrase Sister Mary, in Christopher Durang's play Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, "God answers all our prayers. Sometimes the answer is 'No!'"

After World War II, Steve's father had a hugely successful business selling sewing machines. By the late 1950s, he had stores throughout the Connecticut River Valley, from New Haven, Connecticut, to Springfield, Massachusetts. But American tastes were changing; the American economy started booming and people stopped sewing their own clothes.

By the mid-1960s, he was down to one store in Hartford and up to his neck in debt. He took a hard look at his business and realized he had four things going for him:

* His company's credit and reputation were still good.

* He had an understanding of consumer tastes.

* He knew how to sell retail and had a staff of good salespeople.

* He had ample floor space.

While he wasn't ready to make an overnight transition, he started putting a few pieces of furniture on his sewing-machine showroom floor. As he advertised the furniture (to the same demographic he'd been selling sewing machines to, blue-collar families), he gradually reduced the space for the sewing machines and increased the furniture lines. Of course, old habits (and old loves) die hard, so 20 years later, when he finally retired from his successful furniture business, there was still one sewing machine for sale in the dusty rear of his furniture store.

So if business is lousy, you start figuring out a new game plan. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

"Could Be Better." That's likely the answer everyone could give. And whose fault is that? If your business could be better, the only person who can make it better is you. And to do that, you need to make a plan. Which is what this entire book is about.

"Same Old, Same Old." Uh-oh. Sounds like what the dinosaurs used to say to each other just before the meteor struck (or the Great Flood, depending on your evolutionist beliefs). Department stores were doing "same old, same old" just before big-box discounters showed up. Big-box discounters were doing "same old, same old" just before the Internet showed up. Airlines like Delta and American were doing "same old, same old" just before Southwest and JetBlue showed up. Railway Express was doing "same old, same old" just before FedEx showed up.

"Same old, same old" leads to rearview-mirror vision. You start thinking that things will be okay in the future because they've been okay in the past. When banks and brokerage firms want to advertise how well they're doing, the Securities and Exchange Commission requires that they put some fine print in the ad or voiceover on the commercial: "Past performance is no guarantee of future results." Everyone who's in business should have those words posted over his or her desk. What worked today may not work tomorrow. In fact, it's a pretty good bet that what worked today won't work tomorrow.

"Great! Couldn't Be Better!" Really? Couldn't be better? Well then, be afraid—be very afraid. There was a time, around the 1930s, when the unquestioned number-one soft drink brand in the United States was Moxie. It was ubiquitous. The Moxie sign was on every neighborhood grocery store. It was sold both in bottles and in bulk as a soda fountain syrup. In fact, the name Moxie entered the English language as a noun, meaning "energy, courage, and determination." So the company decided they were so well known that there was no reason to continue advertising. Big mistake! Today, Moxie is a minor regional brand while Coca-Cola and Pepsi rule the soft drink world.

One of the truths of business is that, the more successful you are, the more tempting a target you become. Whether it's knockoffs and counterfeits; someone's figuring out how to do what you do faster, cheaper, and better; or it's changing tastes and styles, you'd better have a second act prepared and ready to go. Procter & Gamble has mastered a friendly amendment to "Great! Couldn't be better!" They're always pushing their marketing teams to improve their brands and develop new products—even though they're already number one or number two in all their categories. P&G is all about "Great. Could be better."

* * *

OKAY, SO WE lied. There's a fifth answer to the question, "How's business?" And every business should strive to give this answer: "It's great. Could be better." Nothing remains the same, so no matter what shape your business is in, you should be actively engaged in an effort to improve it. And not just by increasing your share of the market, but by remaining (or becoming) an innovative leader.

Once you adopt this positive, aspirational mindset, the first question is: What do you have to do to even start the process? And chances are, the answer is that you have to take a close look at the status quo in your organization.

Big Business, Small Business, All Business

When we looked at the successes (and failures) of new business/new product development, one of the first things we noticed was that the size of the business has no bearing on whether the 7-step process works. Each business has unique problems to surmount and unique opportunities to address, and businesses of all sizes can benefit from our process.

For big businesses, the greatest obstacles are internal inertia and internal systems. Interdisciplinary "silo busting" is tough and fraught with peril. On the other hand, big businesses have more money to allocate to R&D, testing, new product development, and rollout.

For small businesses, the biggest obstacles are R&D, testing, new product development, and rollout—and lack of resources or personnel. But on the plus side, most small businesses don't have complicated internal approval processes that can stymie new product development.

Whatever size business or style of organization you are, read all the sections of this book carefully. Know that some of our content might apply to you in depth while other advice may already be in place and part of your ongoing process. Either way, you'll need to take all the steps to get where you want to go.

The Religion Called "That's the Way We've Always Done Things"

That's a powerful religion. It's comforting. And it's dangerous. You've got to challenge it to have any chance of getting started.

Ask yourself: "What religion do I have to debunk or what sacred cow do I have to slaughter to make a new idea happen around here?" If the answer is, "The CEO," our suggestion is that you give this a shot but get your resume up to date. If the CEO doesn't approve a new product development team, it's time to move on. And if he or she is a world-class bozo, you might get fired for even suggesting it. Either way, having your own exit strategy might be necessary.

How you tackle the problem depends on your personality. You could be a Martin Luther and nail your manifesto to the CEO's door. You could be a Rasputin and start whispering in the ear of the CEO (or his/her direct report). Machiavelli. Martin Luther King, Jr. Gandhi. Dick Cheney. There is no shortage of ways to whisper in the ear of the king or to challenge the status quo. Find the way that fits your personality and fits the corporate culture.

Become a Living, Breathing Proponent of Evolution

As you're reading this (and the next several) chapters, start making notes as to how to pitch a Big Idea up the line. Obviously, the further down on the food chain you are, the trickier that's going to be. Our executive editor would like to suggest that you buy everyone in your organization—or at least everyone you want to have sign off on the idea—a copy of this book. And now that she mentioned it, we agree with her. However, you've got to know that the very idea of a new idea is going to be alien and uncomfortable to your management.

Start with What You Know

You know far more about new product development than you realize. Develop a presentation that asks (and answers) some basic questions:

1. Where are we heading?

2. What factors should contribute to our success?

3. What are the known threats to our success?

4. What can we "own"?

Start to ask (and answer) these questions about where the company is now, where it's heading, and where it could be heading. Begin by amassing a lot of not-so-subtle hints. Leave a copy of this book on the CEO's desk. Clip the articles that talk about Google's work requirement that employees devote 20 percent of their time to something they love. Start talking about GE's and P&G's model of owning businesses that are number one or number two in their category.

In other words, become a living, breathing proponent of evolution (or enlightened revolution).

Get excited. Get jazzed. Get going!

Chapter Two

Why Rules Are Traps

THERE WAS an old saying in advertising—we haven't heard it used on TV's "Mad Men" yet—that "the second wife never trusts the secretary." Many years ago, Steve was working at the advertising agency Backer & Spielvogel on the Sony business. Backer & Spielvogel was founded by six partners who were on the Miller business at McCann Erickson. One day, the senior account, media, and creative team just pulled out of McCann and opened their doors. Shortly thereafter, the Miller brand followed.

Steve was working at B&S for Norman Tanen, and they had a great rapport with the Sony client. But the client was unhappy with the account management team. B&S replaced the account supervisor twice, and both times the client called Norman and Steve and mentioned how unhappy he was with the account executive. Now, one of the basic rules in advertising back then—spoken or not—is that "the client only talks to the account team." The third time we dutifully reported to Carl Spielvogel that Sony was unhappy with their account executive, we were handed severance checks and ordered to leave the building by 5 PM that same day. We thought we were being good soldiers. We didn't realize the client had sent us on a suicide mission. So much for rules.

In business, rules are seldom called rules. Instead, they are generally agreed-upon practices covering things like when to arrive at work (work starts at 9 AM), how to proceed at work (work until noon or 1:00, then take an hour for lunch), and when to stop (quitting time is 5 PM, whether or not you punch a time clock). But they're also understood to be the way things are done—in meetings, in the power of hierarchy, in budget and market approvals, and in annual planning. You can call it your corporate culture, but make no mistake—they're rules. But rules don't always work. (Even in the army, where it's expected there'd be no shortage of rules, there's a recognition that the rules don't always work. As enlisted men and women like to say, "Embrace the suck"—which is their rather blunt way of saying, "Deal with it.") Adhere to the rules and you can rise in the organization. Bend or break the rules—especially early in a career—and you're likely to get bounced out of the organization. When everything's going well, the basic rules work just fine. Businesses grow modestly each year, bonuses are doled out, and management rests easy. How quaint. How boring. How dumb. Because in business, standard operating procedure works less and less well every year.

If you're working for a company that's more than ten years old, you're probably operating with a set of rules (in a corporate culture) that hasn't been adopted or adapted to the new rules of the marketplace.

Changing economic, competitive, and consumer dynamics challenge businesses all the time. "Same old, same old" is a prescription for stasis, not growth. And those who repeat history are likely to find their businesses become victims of history. New, fresh, winning ideas, processes, and products and services are the stuff of the future—any and every future.

The Rule's the Limit

Rules are the domain of conventional practice, conventional thinking, conventional wisdom. But conventional wisdom is an oxymoron. If the idea or practice is conventional, how can it reside in the domain of wisdom? Conventional thinking is by definition the generally accepted way of thinking. It's widely known and available to all. There's the rub. Conventional thinking can get you just so far—about as far as it's gotten you, in fact—and in today's digital, global marketplace there's someone (in fact, probably many someones) out there ready to take what you've done and build a better mousetrap.

The browser and search wars are just a couple of examples of the hundreds of battles going on in the marketplace for share of mind and share of audience. New invention and dynamic growth come from understanding precedent. But the new, the dynamic, the phenomenal come from breaking the rules, stepping well beyond conventional practice into the exciting unknown.

New ideas are the province of disbelievers, explorers, and malcontents. Hmm, now it's getting interesting. These folks sound way more interesting. They're the people who look at what is and think about what could be. They operate in the pursuit and desire of something not just different but also better. They're game changers—rule breakers passionately seeking to find something superior. For change agents, rules are uncomfortable. They feel anxious and constrained that doing the same thing over and over again just won't work. It's a dead end.

The Research Requirement ... and Trap

We're going to assume that your company has some kind of research methodology in place—some way to tap into the voice of your customer and get a feel for your products, your services, your brand, or your message.

If you're a Fortune 500 company, you probably have a wellstaffed research department and a Chief Research Officer (CRO), or some such vaunted title. In a world where consumer attitudes and ever-elusive consumer touch points are moving so fast and changing so dramatically, research is critical. You want to know: Is what you're putting out there authentic? Credible? Compelling? Connecting? If it isn't—in the two-way world of digital communication—you'll hear about it. You'll get ridiculed and slammed, blogged to death by consumer critics who are evervigilant for and vocal about dumb or insulting ideas. And you'll get the message fast, loud, and painfully. Good research can provide great guidance based on what customers know and feel.

If you're a medium-size organization, you should be monitoring all that information through third-party research that you subscribe to or buy on a regular basis. If you're a small business or SOHO operator, it's even more critical that you keep an ear tuned to customer attitudes. Even if it's as basic as conducting a customer-satisfaction survey each year or using SurveyMonkey or another on-line tool.

The dilemma is that Big Ideas—really Big Ideas—often defy the ability to get a clear or clean read from customers who don't have a reference point for the innovation. How can you measure what doesn't exist yet? This is the trap and the danger of research—it can't easily answer the question of what might be.


Excerpted from BREAKTHROUGH! by PAUL KURNIT STEVE LANCE Copyright © 2011 by Paul Kurnit and Steve Lance. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)