What have we learnt about innovation from the last Formula 1 race?

Fernando Alonso driving for Ferrari during a p...
Fernando Alonso driving for Ferrari during a practice session. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The last Formula 1 race in Malaysia can be a visual training lesson about innovation in a fast, technological and very competitive industry.

First of all, Ferrari has shown us that the performance of our car depends on weather conditions, or in innovation terms, the performance of our business depends on the conditions of the environment. When extreme conditions arrive, the best business is not the optimized one for the best conditions. This is an important lesson today, because, actually, we are living in a world with a turbulent economy, old habits searching for optimal solutions should be revised when we are thinking about practical innovation for a business. Optimum focus does not guarantee the success in any environment.

On the other hand, Alonso has shown us that fortune must be searched, or in innovation terms, success must be researched, and he has demonstrated too that the experience of a champion when he is well positioned for withstanding pressure can be much better than the wish of victory of a young driver. In innovation, this lesson can be expressed as the business experience of a recognized expert innovation manager can be sometimes much better than an inexpert business manager in a company with better technology products, because products are not usually sold by themselves. The innovation process finishes with the product in the market, and not with the prototype in the laboratory.

We can continue with this lesson, thinking about the performance of McLaren in qualifying: A change in the rules of the championship can change the position of the last leading team. Or back to innovation, a change in the regulation of the business is a good opportunity for innovators to improve their positioning.

This change of the rules is making easier to preserve competition and the show for public, or in other words, governments should preserve competition in every industry avoiding monopolies and oligopolies in order to improve the value for customers created in the industry. Of course, it must limit its actions in order to avoid penalizing excessively the most innovative enterprises.

And finally, we have learnt something from Charlie Whiting, the most important thing that a regulator must preserve is the life of the drivers to maintain the show. Or thinking about innovation, governments must think that the final objective of innovation in an industry is to improve the conditions and the way of life of customers and the work of enterprises.


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