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Why unnovation is a threat to your business

By Kate Lee | 08/12/2014 | 2:53 AM

Connectivity, mobility and accessibility are game changers for business.  Companies that recognize this and adapt accordingly will succeed, companies that don’t will not.


Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, calls this refusal to innovate “unnovation” and defines it as the following:

If unnovation ever made it into the Oxford English Dictionary, I believe the description would be something along the lines of "unnovation (noun) ... the refusal to identify, create, embrace or adopt new ideas, leading to the unnecessary and un-timely end to a business, which is ultimately overtaken by external progress.

What are companies who have fallen prey to unnovation?  Yell (Google), Borders (Amazon), and Blockbuster Video (Netflix) are just three examples.

Companies within the supply chain, and the supply chain industry in general, are at risk of falling prey to unnovation despite being in a prime position to innovate.

Unnovation and the supply chain

KPMG’s 2013 Global Manufacturing Outlook reported that the US manufacturing sector “seems primed for an era of ‘hyper-innovation,’ in which companies develop not only new products, but also entirely new ways to build them.”  Unfortunately, companies within the manufacturing sector are not primed for innovation.  KPMG found that 44 percent of survey respondents reported that they still use “old” technologies such as email, fax, and “snail” mail to manage their supply chains.

Similarly, the supply chain industry has been slow to participate in social media and to invest in creating a strong online presence.  The primary reason: a lack of understanding of the business case or value.

Participating in social media and investing in creating a strong online presence are fundamentally different from the traditional strategies which companies within the supply chain industry have employed to attract new customers, foster relationships with current customers, communicate with partners, and grow their bottom line.  Because of the stark contrast between “old” and “new,” companies do not recognize how these strategies can positively impact their bottom line and therefore decide to steer clear – they feel engaging is too risky.  The reality is that not participating is risky; not participating is unnovation.

These companies embrace change

Keychain Logistics

Companies that choose to unnovate will be eclipsed by companies who embrace the world of mobility, connectivity and accessibility.  Keychain Logistics is one company that has decided to embrace change.

Bryan Beshore, Keychain’s founder, recognized the changes taking place and decided not just to embrace them, but to also capitalize on them.  Keychain leveraged the ideas of mobility, connectivity and accessibility and created a new way for the freight transportation industry to conduct business.  Keychain is a marketplace that connects drivers directly with shippers – and is available via mobile app.

Keychain has also become an active participant on social media.  This participation has enabled the company to shape their offering with a solid understanding of what people want from a transportation provider.  Furthermore, Beshore notes that social media has helped grow their business: “From phone calls to interviews, crowdfunded campaign partnerships, and beyond, social media has certainly helped us grow our business.”


Another company that has been successful – Cerasis.  For 15 years the freight logistics company used traditional sales and marketing strategies.  This strategy worked; however, the company recognized that if it were going to remain competitive and grow it needed to adapt.  The company launched a digital, social media, and content marketing strategy.  The strategy lead to an increase in website traffic of close to 670 percent, an increase in search visits by close to 2,190 percent and, most importantly, the company acquired 35 new customers – a significant number for the industry.

Swantee believes that if companies choose unnovation, “Ultimately, it could lead to disastrous consequences for their businesses, their staff and their future.”  I agree.  If a company wants to remain relevant and competitive, and if a company wants to grow – it needs to recognize that connectivity, mobility and accessibility are game changers for business.



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The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Elizabeth Hines

Elizabeth Hines

Elizabeth is a content strategist with 12+ years of experience in content development, branding, marketing, and communications. As the creative/editorial director at Fronetics, she oversees all efforts related to content and creative assets, including strategy design and brand development.

She has written extensively about supply chain and logistics, and has developed content strategies across a number of verticals, including the B2B space. Prior to joining Fronetics, Elizabeth worked at Boston University, Prospectiv, and Cengage Learning.


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