Beware The TOP 5 Innovation Killers

Two men having fun on computer
December 19, 2017
Author: Stuart Cross,

Although we live in an age that glorifies innovations, it’s really difficult to keep innovation alive in the organization. Economic, technological and social turbulence is creating new needs, and new forms of value are needed to fulfill them. Innovation is no longer a strategic alternative; it’s a strategic necessity according to consultant, coach and speaker Stuart Cross.

He gives us his top 5 innovation killers:

1. An intolerance of failure

The #1 top tactic for innovation, according to expert innovators, is to ‘experiment fearlessly’. Nothing works first time, so you may as well get it wrong as soon as you can. If you cannot accept failure you are unlikely to see too much innovation, no matter how much money you throw at it.

2. An excessive customer focus

Professional managers are great at using customer research to improve existing products and services. But, faced with a radically new proposition people are poor predictors of their own future behavior. In these situations, rapid prototyping and testing, rather than ‘academic’ focus groups, are the best way forward.

3. A desire for a magic pill, not a daily exercise regime

Companies that deliver consistent innovation-driven growth view innovation as a way of life rather than as an isolated change programme. 3M is the avatar of this approach, allowing its developers to spend a proportion of their time on their own development projects as a way of encouraging a stream of bottom-up ideas.

4. An unwillingness to cannibalize sales

The only way to prolong success is, paradoxically, to destroy it and create something even more valuable. Technology companies know that they must consistently add new features at lower prices if they want to stay ahead in the market. The same principles are true in other markets. Gillette has consistently strengthened its leadership in razors through its willingness to make its existing ranges redundant and introduce new, higher performing products and brands.

5. A reliance on a small cadre of innovators.

Relying on a small development team to identify, create and deliver game-changing innovations is unrealistic. You have to cast your net much wider. Over the past decade, for instance, Procter & Gamble has dramatically increased its willingness to source ideas from – and work with – external organizations, aiming to develop at least half of its new growth ideas through these external networks.

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