My colleague James will be somewhat frustrated that I've beat him to an article about his beloved sport of sailing, and furthermore that it involves the Team New Zealand win in the America's Cup.
In fairness, I gave him 48 hours.
Now I'm not the biggest sailing fan (apart from when Ben Ainslie is adding to Team GB's medal tally at the Olympics) so I cannot profess to know the technicalities of the sport.
I did however find Team New Zealand's decision to opt for a bicycle system fascinating...
Going into the final against Team Oracle the technical advantage favoured the Kiwis. The ultimate result being a 7-1 decimation of Team Oracle with the cup headed back to Auckland.
Whilst sports metaphors are often applied to the business world this example is no exception. What the Kiwis clearly demonstrated is the speed with which innovation can lead to a differentiating advantage.
We cannot always be trailblazers, however it is critical to keep on top of market trends. This does not have to involve the backing of a bank roll, but rather the ability to adapt when there is a clear opportunity to set yourself apart from the field.
Team New Zealand needed to rely on innovation to be successful according to the team’s CEO, Grant Dalton. “We knew we couldn’t outspend them,” Dalton said after the regatta. “If they had to outspend us 5-1, or 7-1 they would. So we had to outthink them.” The best example of this innovation was the decision to opt for a bicycle system – or a “cycle grinder” to harness leg drive over arm spinning to power the flying catamarans. The only team to adopt such a tactic from launch, it allowed the New Zealand sailors the use of their arms for trimming, enhancing their efficiency for other tasks across the entrant.