Creativity, Positivity, and Prosperity- that’s what’s promised, when you press the innovation pedal. There are countless examples of organisations enjoying the fruits of that promise, and delivering amazing innovation. In fact, you have tangible, physical evidence to prove it right in front of you right now. But with such a powerful pedal at their feet, why are so many investors reluctant to make the commitment? When we face the likes of Covid-19 and financial chaos, why don’t we see investors rush to support innovation? This article will not only address this issue but provide a gateway to the riches that innovation promises.
When people invest, they expect a return. In some cases, they accept a small percentage for low-risk investments (this is not the concern of this article). In other cases, they accept that there will be either a high return or a nominal loss, due to the substantial risk involved. This is typically the case with new innovative products, and it’s normally okay. But what happens when ‘innovative’ projects are late, unprofitable, and fail, over and over again? Simple, the investors run out of patience and their confidence in you is dented, whether they say it or not.
So the key question is why does innovation fail? We could say it’s all down to luck or fate. We could say it’s the fault of the engineers or the project leaders involved. We could even blame our competitors and other surrounding issues. I firmly believe that most of the time these are simply excuses, and as Howard Wright put it, excuses are lies wrapped in reasons.
Why does innovation fail?
So, what’s the truth? Why does innovation fail? The truth is that innovation never fails, we do.
Innovation is the process of bringing great ideas to life. As with any process, if you get the input right, you get the output right. But, if you don’t understand the customer and their requirements sufficiently, if your ideas create more problems than they solve, if you know that you will have to be dishonest in order to sell your products to customers, and if the only thing that you’re totally confident in is that your products have quality issues, you really can’t blame innovation.
So where are we going wrong? In recent years, organisations across the globe have invested in many initiatives to try to improve innovation. Lean, agile, and design thinking are just a few of the recent additions to the innovation dictionary. But each new addition creates new problems and in some cases not only wastes money, resources and time, but also fuels resentment and organisational discord. I myself, am guilty of having made these mistakes in the past, and I’m tremendously sorry. But personal failure should never be seen as a limitation, rather it is a stepping stone towards success.
So, what should we do differently?
What’s the solution?
In my experience working with innovation leaders, I found something rather peculiar. Even with demand, desire, investment, great project leaders, and a capable project team in place, innovation was always a struggle. And whenever I questioned the people involved about it, they would describe an aspect that was constraining their ability to innovate.
If you’re surrounded by constraints, you simply cannot innovate. Therefore, the solution, which may sound obvious is to simply remove these constraints and barriers to innovation. Each organisation will have its own barriers to innovation, but like the Berlin wall, we need to bring them down. By doing so, we will give our greatest assets the freedom they need to innovate, and then we will enjoy the creativity, positivity, and prosperity that innovation delivers.
Freedom to Innovate
Do you like the ‘freedom to innovate’ idea? Please leave a comment below. It’s our motto and purpose, so it means a lot to us.