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NewsOct 28, 2019

Inc.’s Five Innovation Myths

Sarah Barber

The need for companies to innovate has never been more important than it is today. With advancements happening faster than ever before and technology causing disruptions in almost every industry, the topic of innovation has gone mainstream as companies try to stay ahead of the curve.

But as innovation grows in interest and popularity, so do the range of definitions of what it means to be an innovative company. For a word that is used so much, it lacks a clear and consistent definition, leaving room for many interpretations, misconceptions, and running the risk of becoming cliché.

Because innovation is the imperative of today’s time, it is a must that your employees share a clear understanding of what it means, and what it doesn’t mean, to be innovative. This allows your teams to set quality and actionable goals, measure performance, and rally around the same vision of truly growing as innovators.

To bring clarity to what innovation actually is, a recent Inc. article shares five innovation myths that can stop companies from being successful. Inc. contributor, Andrew Thomas shares from his experience with an organization that created over 100 patents and quotes Credera partner and innovation expert, Jake Carter.

1. Innovation is the product team’s job.

A common misunderstanding about innovation is that it’s the product of the most creative minds, huddled together in an innovation lab, dreaming and scheming. While there is definitely value in this sort of think tank experiment, if it’s your organization’s only strategy for growing in innovation it will make little impact and lead to disappointing results.

“Many organizations fail before they begin by failing to lead innovation from the C-level,” explains Jake Carter, citing Credera’s whitepaper on innovation.

Innovation must be championed by the C-suite of your organization, and C-level leaders must be given the time away from the day to day tasks to dream.

2. Innovations sell themselves.

Maybe you give your leaders time to dream, which leads new plans, new investments, and building an awesome, innovative product. But if you don’t properly market or launch your product, there will be a serious lack of adoption. Innovations don’t just sell themselves.

“Customers don’t know about your amazing product unless you tell them or someone else does. That means you must invest in building a brand and marketing your product to the world,” says Thomas.

Make sure to invest adequately in the marketing and operations side to ensure that your innovation will stick.

3. Customers will tell you how to innovate.

While it’s true that listening and learning from your customers is crucial to improving products and services, it’s unwise to expect that you can solely rely on customer feedback to spark your next innovative idea.

“Use customer feedback to spot areas in need of improvement, but don’t expect to survey your way to innovation.” Thomas shares, “Instead, look ahead to how technologies and consumer preferences are converging. Then, invent new solutions and ask your customers to try them out.”

4. Innovation requires flashy technologies.

Even though most feel that innovation is synonymous with new technology, some of the most innovative solutions over the years haven’t been high tech at all – they’ve simply been a disruptive idea that was much needed.

“Simple, basic solutions often meet that criterion better than more complex, tech-based ones.” Thomas suggests focusing on the problems, then finding the cheapest ways to solve those problems.

5. Innovation means shooting for the moon.

Home runs sure are exciting, but you can score a lot of points from consistent base hits. The last myth that Thomas highlights is thinking you have to hit a “home run” of innovation.

“Aiming for the moon isn’t the only, nor the best, way to innovate. Roy-André Tollefsen, head of research and development at Visma, Europe’s largest software company, suggests the smarter approach is what he calls ‘roofshots.’ Roofshots are ambitious but achievable projects that take an iterative approach.”

Continue reading the full article here.

Combating these innovation myths is hard for an organization to do alone. At Credera, we work with clients at every stage of the innovation process, from strategy to ideation and implementation, helping them go to market faster and more effectively. If you are interested in discussing your company’s innovation needs, we’d be happy to speak with you to determine if there is a mutual fit. Feel free to reach out at findoutmore@credera.com.