Last week I finished writing a book review for the Journal of Product and Brand Management. The book, The Wide Lens written by Ron Adner, proposes a new perspective on innovation as a relates to products and services. One of the breakthrough concepts proposed is that businesses can no longer just focus on their internal execution of products and services and have to look at their entire ecosystem to ensure commercial success.

The author cites some spectacular failures such as Michelin’s run flat tires, Nokia’s attempt to transition from 2G to 3G phones, and Sony’s ebook reader. Each failure had neglected some aspect of the ecosystem that made one of the stakeholders (co-innovators, distributors, retailers, and end customers) unwilling to take the risk necessary to make the new innovation a success. The book also highlights successes like digital cinema, the Amazon Kindle, and the Apple iPod and iPhone.

The insights shared can be extremely valuable to small business owners as they think about new products and services they want to offer. Long term success requires us to acknowledge that we need collaboration to succeed and that we have to relinquish control even to the point where we cede leadership to someone better suited for the role.

I often come across many entrepreneurs and new business owners who lack understanding of the needed ecosystem for success. Their internal focus and lofty aspirations blind them to looking externally and objectively. They would be wise in adopting wide lens strategies into their business thinking. Combining these strategies with other concepts such as Business Model Generation can be the building blocks for success.

Do you know someone who needs to take a wider perspective on their products and services? Share this article with them and help them from being blindsided.