Most tenders have an innovation component and from our experience, we find this is one of the harder sections for our clients to answer. True innovation, something that is truly unique, can fundamentally change an industry and in the world of competitive tendering, this can mean the difference between winning and losing.

In his TEDx talk on the Art of Innovation, Guy presents 10 key points on how to innovate. Guy’s perspective is that true innovation is not about doing the same things better, faster, cheaper. It is about pioneering a new industry, one that completely re-writes the ball game. The example he used is the ice industry. Back in the day, ice was cut every winter and transported to cold towns. From here, the industry morphed to establishing ice factories – in essence eliminating the constraints of climate and season. The next massive step forward was fridges, or as Guy refers to them as PC’s (personal chillers). In each of these massive transitions, not one of the existing industry players moved into the next version of the ‘ice’ industry. Their ability to innovate was isolated to their own industry curve.

In summary, Guy’s 10 points are:

  1. Make meaning, not money
  2. Make a mantra: don’t get bogged down on a lengthy mission, a two or three word statement on why you exist is perfect
  3. Jump to the next curve: don’t just target 10% better, revolutionise the industry – and define yourself as benefits, not what you provide
  4. Roll the dice: provide something that is deep (with lots of features and functionality), intelligent, complete, empowering and elegant
  5. Don’t worry, be crappy: your product needs to be revolutionary and quality but it’s okay to have the elements that are still crappy – if you wait for everything to be perfect, it will never launch
  6. Let 100 flowers blossom: positioning and branding come down to what the consumer decides, not us, so don’t be proud – take your best shot at marketing your product initially, but be led by your customers
  7. Polarise people: to be innovative, you can’t please everyone
  8. Churn baby, churn: innovation is iterative and as soon as the first version is released, the next version is already being worked on to incorporate customer feedback – change it through listening to people
  9. Niche thyself: Offer something that is high in value and extremely unique
  10. Perfect your pitch: customise your introduction – customise it to your specific audience and follow 10/20/30 rule for presentations: 
    1. 10 slides max
    2. 20 minutes max
    3. 30 point font

Most importantly, do not let the bozos grind you down. Some of the great examples Guy gave of bozos, who were also great innovators, included Western Union dismissing the need for a telephone and IBM saying the entire world market for computers would be a grand total of 5, which is less than what exists in most family homes nowadays.

From a tendering perspective, everything we do is trying to niche our clients, to prove their uniqueness and demonstrate this value. When presented with an innovation section of your tender, you should do everything you can to jump to the next curve – show you can offer a client true innovation in your submission, specific to the problem they are trying to solve.

View the video here:

For help on your next tender, contact one of our experts on 07 3211 4299, or email us at

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