Where do great ideas come from?

In the commercial below, Domino’s Pizza CEO, Patrick Doyle demonstrates a value destructive bias held by many big company execs when he starts the commercial off saying:

In a big company, good ideas don’t usually come from the local store level…

In this case they didn’t let that bias get in the way, because the commercial features a good idea that came from a Domino’s store owner in Findlay, Ohio, Brian Edler: Parmesan Pizza Bites.

Doyle is right in his follow-up sentence:

…but, a great idea can come from anywhere.

Just look at the beginning of Domino’s Pizza, or most successful companies.  Very few were designed in a boardroom at a corporate headquarters.  Two brothers founded Domino’s Pizza when they bought a single shop for $900 in 1960.

Subway Sandwich Shops and Subway’s $5 foot-long are other good examples.   The founder of Subway borrowed $1,000 to open his first store (again not designed in a boardroom).

And Subway’s $5 foot-long promotion was discovered by a franchisee in Miami.  Executives at HQ were not fans of the promotion, but other franchisees began adopting it on their own, because it produced results for them.  Eventually these franchisee results convinced corporate.

I’ve seen this attitude at many companies.  I’ve seen quite a few failures resulting from business models designed by bureaucrats and consultants in HQ.

Good ideas can come from anywhere, sometimes even competitors (Blockbuster?).  I would advise companies to cast their idea net as wide as possible and be as open-minded as possible.

Here I wrote about McDonald’s approach to innovation.  They have a test kitchen and they let their franchisees experiment.

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