Failure is a part of innovation. For every successful product Google has released they've seen numerous others fall by the way side (Nexus 1, Wave, Buzz, etc...). There are detractors, but I'm one that believes you have to fail, sometimes fast, at times repeatedly in order to mover forward. Some organizations have such a strong platform that launching complimentary products becomes seamless (apple). Making it appear as though innovation is something they do particularly better than others without burning resources. And while that may be true in some cases, there are the Starbucks of the world with innovations like adopting square or crowdsourcing ideas that enable useful and practical innovation through little failures along the way.
So on the competitive strategy side if these innovations succeed are great... but the benefits extend to the non market arena as well. Perceptually companies like Starbucks or Patagonia are developing attributes not shared by competitors. In part because of their activity in digital and strategies unlike any others seen in their industry. Patagonia encouraging less purchases is another innovation worth noting. Appears contradictory to the role of a firm (to create value, profits) but that's where the differentiation comes in. They are changing the "value" portion of the role of a firm. And it's working. So while many brands are tracking awareness, traditional perceptions, likeability and focusing on pricing strategies...there are Starbucks like businesses gaining attributes unlike others shared in their industry.
Another reason why everything from Porter's 5 forces to anything that comes out of HBR should be read critically. These companies aren't following those guidelines, and they're winning.
by arturo gutierrez