Top 5 Myths of Innovation

The word innovation gets tossed around as carelessly today as the term digital transformation. Yet it is one of the activities businesses and governments, need to be constantly doing. Tied in with with this are ideas that have evolved into myths about what innovation is.

In this short article, we take a look at some of the most common myths around innovation today.

  1. It’s All About Products: No, it isn’t. In fact, product innovation is one of the easier ways to innovate and is also one of the easiest ways for a competitor to catch up quickly. If you’re going to innovate with a new product or service, you need to tie it with innovations in another part of the business.
  2. Innovation is Company Wide: Sometimes, but rarely. While an innovation should benefit the whole organisation through contributing to profitability or delivery in terms of governments and non-profits, it does not have to mean the whole organisation. You can innovate a system in one department to have effect.
  3. Innovation Means Organisational Change: A common myth and one that often scares leadership. Change takes time and there are risks. This is true. While change goes hand in hand with an innovation, it doesn’t have to mean the whole organisation.
  4. Innovation is Just Strategy: They’re often conflated. They are two different things. The innovation is what you’re doing to improve profitability or efficiencies for example. Strategy is how and where you will play once the innovation is ready to go.
  5. Innovation is About Technology: Not always. In fact, technology should be secondary. Since technology plays a role in just about all functions of an organisation, it will likely factor in. Usually, technology innovations work with innovations in other parts of the organisation such as profit models, customer experience and brand. If it is a technology idea, then yes, it’s at the forefront, but shouldn’t stand alone.

The best innovation moves come when they are combined. Especially when you mix an operational type of innovation with a customer or market facing innovation. If approached by an “innovation” or “innovative” agency that focuses on products, it is always helpful to earn if they know about other forms of innovation and how combining works better.

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