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The Five Characteristics of Successful Innovators

There is not much agreement about what makes an idea innovative, and what makes an innovative idea valuable. For example, discussions on whether the internet is a better invention than the wheel are more likely to reveal personal preferences than logical argumentation. Likewise, experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Somestudiessuggest that radical innovation (which does sound sexy) confers sustainable competitive advantages, butothersshow that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with somestudiesshowing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, butothersarguing for it. Even Henry Ford’s famous quote on the subject – “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said fast…

Five Things Everyone Will Be Talking About Today

Big moves this morning, get caught up here

The Draghi-rally continues, U.S. tech giants surge and it's PMI day in Europe. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.

Draghi rally

While the European Central Bank did not change interest rates or add any new stimulus at yesterday's meeting, ECB President Mario Draghi's comments in the press conferencewhere he signaled further easing, including a possible deposit rate cut at the central bank's December gathering), led to the biggest equity rally in Europe following any ECB meeting since July 2013. The Stoxx Europe 600 was trading 1.4 percent higher at 11:00 a.m. London time and is on track for its strongest one-month gain in four years. After U.S. equities staged a big rally yesterday, S&P futures are pointing to further gains today.

Euro-area sovereign debt

It's is not just equities that were boosted by Draghi's comments, with Euro-area bonds rising sharply in the aftermath of yesterday's meeting. German sovereign securities nowyield less than zero out to six years with the two-year bond yield dropping to a record low. Meanwhile Spanish and Italian two-year yields dropped into negative territory. The euro traded at $1.1110 at 10:50 a.m. London time, down over 2 percent from yesterday's open.

Tech earnings Inc.Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp. all reported earnings after the bell yesterday with all three beating analyst expectations and rallying strongly, adding a possible $100 billion to their combined market capitalizations based on after-market trading. Each company's impressive earnings can be attributed to the industry's shift to the cloud, a move that is coming at the expensive of legacy firms.

Europe PMIs

The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index from Markit Economics for Germany shows that manufacturing in Europe's largest economy grew at the slowest pace in five months in October as the index fell to 51.6 from 52.3 in September. The services sector in that economy, however, showed the strongest growth in seven months, lifting the composite gauge to 54.5. The composite gauge for the Euro-area as a whole unexpectedly rose to 54, with Markit warning that forward-looking indicators are pointing to a risk of a slowdown. Manufacturing PMI for the U.S. is due for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.

Oil price takes toll

Tumbling crude prices continue to take their toll on the oil and gas industry. With earnings season just beginning, companies have already taken $6.5 billion in write-downs, a number that Barclays analysts expect to rise to over $20 billion for just six of the producers reporting. In Norway, western Europe's biggest producer, weak crude prices may force the central bank to cut interest rates, already at a record low, to zero as recession risks rise. West Texas Intermediate for December delivery rose 10 cents to $45.48 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11:15 a.m. London time.

What we've been reading

This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.