6 major innovation mistakes

by | Aug 16, 2013

The same mistakes can be encountered again and again when a company begins its innovation journey. For example, these 6 classic ways to commit innovation suicide.

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1. Start without a business need.

Innovators are often faced with a company that is stuck in the same ways of doing things. The only reason many people change is when a newer, simpler, easier solution comes along that meets their needs. If business is booming, it’s unlikely people will want to change. Don’t try to force innovation when there is no need. The idea will be turned down.

2. To first appoint an innovator

When companies decide it’s time to get serious about innovation, they will put the most innovative person in charge of it. This is a mistake. You can invent on your own. But you can never innovate alone. Innovation is a team effort, which requires units from across the business to work together for the common goal. Also, having a designated innovator means other people may put their feet up and not provide any support.

3. Start with your idea

Innovation is more than just ideas. It’s about getting the right ones, putting them in action, and adding value to the business. You may be in love with your own idea, but others may not. Others within your organisation may criticise your idea, because it is your idea and not theirs.

4. Bet on one idea

For every seven ideas for a new product, four enter development, one to two are launched and only one succeeds. It resembles the tale of Magellan. In the 16th century, Spaniard Magellan launched five ships to discover a route to the west. Three years later, only one ship returned to its original departure point. However, the goods it brought back from around the world were so valuable it paid for the entire voyage and completed the first circumnavigation of the globe. Don’t put all your eggs in one ship. There is a huge chance it won’t return.

5. Start with a brainstorming session

True innovation rarely rises from a brainstorming session and many companies shy away from them. It is normally the same group of people yelling out their same old ideas. The challenge isn’t to come up with new ideas – it’s to get the old ideas out of one’s mind.

6. Start by neglecting customers

Don’t start by asking what customers want. They often won’t be able to articulate their needs. Instead, consider their potential concerns that may rise up in the future. Neglecting customers in your innovation will never produce results.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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