Recruitment consultants ask for 'innovative’ members of staff. Marketers label creative ideas as ‘innovative’. Product developers call the latest release of a food, drink, gadget ‘innovative.’
When it comes to Innovation there are countless meanings, however at G2, we believe Innovation boils down to:
In short, it’s not innovative unless it adds Value!
Unfortunately with multiple meanings, comes multiple misconceptions, and in a bid to hit some of these misconceptions out of the park, we’ve compiled this short list of Innovation myths and realities to guide you through the minefield.
So, to paraphrase Young MC, let’s “bust some myths” and confirm some facts:
Only creative people can be Innovative
False. Innovation is not the same as creativity. Whilst being creative has its benefits, Innovation is driven by process, so even people who aren’t innately creative can create a powerful Innovation, provided they follow the right process.
Ideas are the most important stage of Innovation
False. Every step of the Innovation process is important. At G2, we find that a focus on good stimulus and insight drives an abundance of ideas.
Stimulus is more important than Insight
False. Stimulus is equally important to Insight, but to innovate well and continuously you need to be actively seeking both.
Money is the main driver of Innovation performance
False. Working all hours in order to achieve monetary rewards, does not necessarily drive Innovation. Unhappy, fiercely competitive, exhausted employees (even if well paid) are unlikely to feel inspired.
Strategy is the single most important aspect of successful Innovation.
False. Successful Innovation hinges on three overlapping entities – Culture, Strategy and Process. If Culture eats strategy for breakfast, then Strategy feeds Culture and Process provides the recipe.
You can incrementally innovate a product into a radical Innovation
False. Think of the candle stick. Incremental Innovation would be changing its size, shape, colour, wick material, burn time, burn brightness, making it smokeless or scented. You could never incrementally develop this into the Lightbulb.
To radically change the product, you have to go back to study the end user and understand the real need, which in this case is provide safe, controllable light on demand whenever you need it.
Radical Innovation = The Light Bulb.
But, you can group a number of incremental Innovations to develop a radical solution.
True. If you think about the iPod; it was not the first MP3 player, but it looked at the leading edge of micro hard disc storage, battery technologies, user interface and grouped this with a simple platform to store and buy music and combine it with alternative sales channels like gift cards.
Bang. Radical disruptive Innovation to the music industry.
The most successful Innovation portfolios are dominated by Radical Innovation.
False. In their May 2012 article Managing Your Innovation Portfolio for the Harvard Business Review, Bansi Nagii and Geoff Tuff noted that companies who allocate their Innovation portfolio as 70% Incremental 20% Adjacent and 10% Radical Innovation typically outperform their peers. Even so, every organisation is different and whilst it’s well worth considering, that ratio won’t work for everyone. A balanced portfolio should consider all three types of Innovation, but the percentage allocation must take into consideration the organisation’s own resources, risk tolerance and importantly its own Innovation strategy.
Motivation is the main driver in an Innovation culture
True. We are motivated when we have passion, clear vision and a purpose that we believe in. This will provide the drive and determination to achieve the benefits that only change can bring.
Innovation happens at boardroom level or in R&D.
False. Every employee can create something new that adds value to the business and/or its customers. People mistakenly think that Innovation must be complicated, technical or ingenious, but the reality is, Innovation could be as ordinary as finding a different, cheaper, faster process for sorting mail. In a truly innovative Culture, everyone should be encouraged to look for new ways to solve old problems.