Many organisations wrestle with the concept of innovation, mainly because they tend to believe business should be done the way it always has been. As a result, many great firms that were around before the dawn of the commercial internet in 1990 no longer exist. From Daewoo and Olivetti to Pan Am and Sears, their histories, management styles and legacy cultures made them unable to compete in a new era.

But innovating an old brand is not always about cutting-edge technology or new management styles. This message was brought home beautifully last week when a 200-year-old brand launched a product that was all about innovation — without compromising its existing business. Johnnie Walker, manufacturer of the world’s best-selling Scotch whiskies, released a limited-edition product called Blue Label Elusive Umami, defining it by the innovation that went into its creation...

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