And we can similarly about successful marketing - ideas, campaigns and products. Once it has been successful, it is very easy to go back, dissect it and decide why it was successful,,
The other day I was having a similar discussion, when some one came up with a short one-line explanation for the success of CCD (Coffee Cafe Day), how it started as a small cyber cafe in Brigade road in Bangalore and has close to a 1000 coffee shops today. The idea was to provide youngsters an option between a pub and a typical Darshini (a quick service option in Bangalore). A simple idea with a lot of potential.
The only alternative coffee lover had before CCD was the Indian Coffee house , which today, interestingly has a very specific segment of people who come there, anyway that is another story by itself..
For CCD the timing also helped, because we had the young crowd take over the country including the coffee shops, with high disposable income and so on.... (people interested in knowing more about CCD's success can read BT's cover story, link), and rest all as they say is history.
CCD's success, is also because of the vision and risk-taking capacity of an entrepreneur to bet on a future he believed in. Because, in 1996 if anyone were to be told that there is a potential for Asia's largest chain of coffee shops in India , with coffee selling at a price 10 times more than what one can get in the next-door Darshini ....
So though it is easy to talk about success ingredients 20 years after ... think the challenge lies in identifying it well before others do and hang on to it..