Durban, South Africa

Converting Innovation into Strategy: It takes Two to ‘Tango’

RRS ~ Action meets insights...

Converting Innovation into Strategy: It takes Two to ‘Tango’

I wasn’t a pizza fan before I got married. Though I still do not regard myself as a pizza fan, my husband has succeeded in making me add pizza to my list of indulgent foods. So, I eat a slice or at most two, once in a while. Let me take a guess: You are probably wondering what pizza has got to do with innovation and strategy? 

It is no more news that the lockdown which resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked havoc on many businesses. A well-known Pizza Company which I will refer to as TZ’s Pizza was recently acquired and is now under new management.  

The acquirer’s name is very close to the old name and they seem to have done their market analysis well as the recipe has been improved to adapt to the local taste and preference for oily food. Nevertheless, it appears the new company is missing a very simple point. TZ’s Pizza seems to have prioritised strategic thinking over tactical/operational thinking. 

Pizza has traditionally been used to teach basic fractions to beginners. The use of pizza fractions to teach the foundation phase mathematics has since gained widespread popularity amongst educators, given its standardised triangular shapes, students’ affinity with it, and its potential to evoke stimulating engagement in classroom settings. By implication, pizzas have been positioned to be cut into equal parts. 

My husband recently bought a box of pizza from TZ’s Pizza and as usual, I resisted the temptation to eat a slice and rather helped him store it in the freezer. Honestly, you don’t need to be a research analyst to notice the weird shapes of these pizza pieces. They were nothing close to what you and I know as pizza pieces as they were unusually skewed.

TZ’s Pizza scenario is a classic case of how cognitive/adaptability/organisational culture myopia can hamper the flow of strategic thinking to bottom-line operational end-users. Overlooking simple ‘finishing touches’ such as intentionally slicing pizzas (remembering to use ‘magic words’, professional and diplomatic customer relations, transforming innovation/consumer insights into user-friendly strategic outcomes – fill in the blank) could ruin an image that has taken decades/’sweat and blood’ to build.

Abosede Ijabadeniyi (PhD)

Research Director: Regenerate247 Research Solutions


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