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Continued: Inside Track: Biz in a tight spot? Ino-v8

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  • Last update: November 23, 2008 - 10:47 PM

A woeful economy is no reason to discourage innovation as an expense that a company can't afford. So says a study co-written by Rajesh Chandy, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

Chandy argues that new products that involve different technologies and provide greater customer benefits will drive new growth and sales. Cases in point? The iPhone and Viagra.

The findings of Chandy and two colleagues at the University of Southern California and Cambridge University are in a paper titled "Radical innovation in firms across the nations: The preeminence of corporate culture."

It's being published in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Marketing.

The authors emphasize the significance of corporate culture as "the most important factor driving innovation." Chandy and his co-writers concluded that geography is not a factor in innovation and that the importance of corporate culture goes beyond national borders.

"It's unwise to think in terms of whether American companies are more innovative than other countries' firms," Chandy says. "A sharp manager would look across industries and countries to spot innovative traits and strategies."

Sales program milestone

The College of St. Catherine and its corporate sponsors last week celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Center for Sales Innovation, a program designed to help women advance in business-to-business and health-care sales. The program was initially funded with a grant from 3M Co.

Current corporate support is a list of blue-ribbon companies, including Ecolab, ING, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Liberty Mutual, Loffler, RBC Wealth Management and Wells Fargo & Co.

The four-year sales degree program, which also studies national sales trends, has 275 graduates and current students.

A smashing campaign

The Minneapolis ad agency Colle+McVoy last week unveiled a campaign for the Minnesota State Lottery designed to stimulate ticket sales of the daily lottery games.

The campaign includes 84-pound cast iron balls with numbers on them that are dropped on various down-and-out household items such as an aging car, an outdated dining room set or a leaky aquarium. The balls smash the items to smithereens as the announcer says, "Let's drop the winning numbers and see if we can't get you a new car," or whatever item is trashed -- you get the idea.

"People love to see stuff get destroyed," said creative director Dave Keepper, who is hoping that the concept will encourage folks to play the various daily lottery games in the hopes of replacing their aging goods with new ones.

The lottery has a daily show that broadcasts the day's winning numbers each evening on television stations across the state.

DAVID PHELPS

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