I’ve been at Intuit for three months now. There was an article in The Economist on August 25 that I thought caught some of the essence of how Intuit operates. The article was titled The King of Disrupting. Unfortunately you have to subscribe to the Economist to read the article but I thought I would talk some about the way Intuit operates as described in the article.
I’ve been reading The Innovator’s Solution by Clay Christensen of the Harvard Business School. The Economist article starts out by pointing out that Intuit has stayed on the list of companies that continue to be disruptors. Other companies like Sony were disruptors but aren’t any more. Sony pioneered the use of transistors in consumer electronics . Their products were major disruptors but Sony no longer releases disrupting products. Intuit on the other hand continues to create disruptive products.
There is no question that the concepts described in The Innovators Solution are a part of the fabric of how Intuit operates. You can see the concepts reflected in a lot we do. The Innovator’s Solution says that "The Key to success with low end disruptions is to devise a business model that can earn attractive returns at the discount prices required to win business at the low end." Intuit did this with Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Medical Expense Manager. When we get it right we attract the non consumers and that leads to market disruption. I see us following the disruptor model in a lot of areas. I know that in the product I am working on building a low cost model while still building a product that customer’s want and need is key to what we are doing. It is certainly not an easy thing to do.
The Economist article also talks about Intuit’s passion for Customer Driven Innovation. It is clear to me that this is part of Intuit’s DNA. We have been visiting our Beta testers to see what works and what doesn’t work in using our product. It makes releasing a product harder but I firmly believe that we will eventually get it right because we are not relying on what we think customers need but instead on what they show us and tell us.
I highly encourage you to read The Innovators Solution. I am only half way through it and I haven’t read the Innovators Dilemma but certainly The Innovator’s Solution is a fascinating and thought provoking book.