Innovation is the word on everyone’s lips, it has been in one form or another since well before the millennium. If it has been around for so long, why are so many companies still getting it so wrong so often?
People Are Scared of Failure
You can never innovate a truly unique product unless you accept the chance of failure. Bringing something completely innovative and game changing to the market is always going to be a risk – having senior management being afraid of failure is the first nail in the innovation coffin. The only way to overcome this is to work with visionaries, people who are able to put complete trust in their team to bring something to market that will work.
As the old adage goes, Fast, Cheap and Quality – you can only ever get two of these. And to be honest, these days, you can only get two of these if you are lucky. Where are the priorities of the board? Are they looking to truly innovate and be a market leader? Or just trying to keep up appearances and get anything out on the market as quickly as they can? Clearly this is a decision that needs to be made as soon as the innovation process starts and you need to make sure the company are fully bought in. This leads on to the next point…
How invested is the company in the innovation process? Your answer to this will generally be answered by how much cold hard cash the owners are willing to put up to make this process happen. This affects everything, how much time they are willing to give to let people come up with the right product, the ability to bring the right people on board and how the product will inevitably perform in the market.
Humans are naturally risk averse – it is one of the reasons we are still here today, but we cannot forget that evolution also played a major part in this. This is where the dichotomy of the status quo and innovation meet, you cannot stay the same and survive – you cannot get rid of your whole product set and start innovating a new one. As such you will need to find a happy medium.
Without a doubt, the most important feature in building an innovation team is the team itself, an idea is only that until you have people who can bring it to life. This is the one place where your innovation will thrive or die, before it has even happened. If there is anywhere to place your time and resources, it is making sure the right people are in the right places to make innovation happen.
I have collated some of the reasons as to why this is happening, clearly this could have easily been 5, 15 or 50 reasons why innovation fail, but I wanted to put together what I consider the top five reasons and feel like these are a good starting point.
I would welcome the opportunity to hear from anyone about additions to this list and what remedies you can suggest.