7 innovation myths busted

by | Aug 14, 2013

Companies need to work smarter these days. Clients’ demands are ever-growing. Costs can’t be reduced any further. Competition only grows and the economic climate is volatile.

Innovation seems to be the go-to word when the going gets tough, but it is commonly misunderstood and companies of all sizes can fall into many pitfalls.

Writing for Forbes, Jonathan Vehar lists seven common innovation myths that many corporations still have faith in.

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1. Organisational innovation makes sense

An organisation is meant to create standardised processes that are easily repeatable. Innovation is about breaking new ground to boost the business, create inventions or add value. Leaders must find the right mix of doing the same things repeatedly versus doing things in a new way.

2. Innovation is just a R&D thing

Innovation is more than just about producing cool new gadgets. It includes business models, networks, services, channels and customer experiences. Anyone in the organisation, regardless of where they sit, can and should be able to come up with bright ideas and be able to communicate these to the rest of the company.

3. You’ll know a winner when you see it

New ideas can often seem strange. Fostering a culture of innovation means seeing the positive and finding value in any new idea that comes up. Once you have lived with a new idea for a period of time, its benefits may rise to the surface.

4. Innovation can be de-risked

You are not guaranteed a 100 per cent success rate – or any success – regardless of how well you may carry out innovation. When we try new things, we may fall. We learn by doing, and falling, and bouncing back from the fall and holding on to lessons learnt. Take a chance often, early and in low-risk circumstances whenever possible.

5. Innovation incentives work

Leaders can often get excited about innovation competitions. However, rewarding one person who comes up with a great idea may put everyone else off-side. Recognise everyone’s hard efforts, whether they succeed or not, and integrate innovation into your company’s culture, rather than having people see it as a gimmick.

6. Have a big launch

A giant kick-off event to announce innovation is now a priority with the decision makers now on board … we have all seen this happen before. If there is nothing to back it up, momentum can be lost. People may be punished for a lack of innovation, which leads to bitterness and low morale. Instead, help people in their innovative development. Support highly visible projects, offer help when it's required and let the result speak for themselves.

7. I can’t do anything about innovation

There may be hundreds of excuses, but whatever they are, rise above them, and don’t push innovation on to someone else. Be an innovative leader, break new ground, go against the grain, take action and lead by example.

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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