I have produced a hard-hitting list of the top five myths surrounding innovation in business. You may or may not agree with my opinions in this list but I hope you enjoy the read.
- Businesses today do not innovate anymore – It is a common opinion in today’s world that businesses are no longer coming up with innovative concepts. Mobile phone manufacturers are a perfect example, ‘… they simply launch new products that add subtle new features and are slightly slimmer than the previous model. They all look the same and generally do the same thing’. This feeling that businesses are no longer innovative is a myth. Dig a little deeper in to what businesses are doing with driverless cars, virtual reality and automation and you will see that innovation is everywhere.
- Product life cycles are getting shorter and shorter – This all depends on the market place that you are operating within. In the technology field for example product life cycles have become extremely short because products are not containing features that significantly differentiate them from the competition. The life cycles of a mobile phone, tablet devices or even laptops and desktop computers are extremely short today and many of these devices are out of date within months as something better comes along. Products in other marketplaces where there are high barriers to entry can have extremely long life cycles. Food and drink products are perfect examples of this with the top brands having products in their portfolio that have been around for decades and are still selling in high volume.
- We need to be more like Google or Apple – To be innovative you do not need to base your business model on large corporations such as Apple, Google and Microsoft. Of course these companies are innovative in certain aspects but because they have cornered their respective markets their innovation tends to slow down. This is certainly the case with some of Apple’s products such as the iPhone. Yes, the iPhone was an innovative product when it was first launched but how much different is the first iPhone compared to the new iPhone 6? The basic functionality is pretty much the same, yes the processing power has improved and there are some new OS features but essentially they are the same product. Google’s primary product which is its search engine is the same now as it was when it was first launched except for some algorithm changes. As a small start-up you have the perfect opportunity to be innovative and come up with something completely new as your business will be agile. If you are developing a new smartphone don’t try and replicate what Apple have done as where will that get you? You simply will not be able to compete. Do something innovative and different that wows your target market.
- People who innovate are mavericks with large egos – I am sure there innovative people out there who fall in to this category, Steve Jobs may even have been categorised as such according to the press. Innovative people do not fit a stereotype, they are all different and anyone has the potential to be innovative in business. You simply need to be able to evaluate leading competitor products and come up with something that offers the consumer more value for a longer period of time.
- Innovation is a good thing – My personal option is that differentiation is a good thing, In reality revolutionary innovation simply creates risk, costs money and does not necessarily give you a competitive advantage. To influence your consumers buying decisions your product or service needs to do what the competitions offering does whilst adding more value for the consumer through differentiation and evolutionary innovation (continuous or dynamic evolutionary innovation or incremental advances in technology or processes).
“Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs.” – Wikipedia
This list is a must read for anyone who with questions regarding the innovative capacity of their organisations Ultimately companies must innovate by differentiating their products and services inline with what matters to their current and potential customers.