Innovation is a loaded term that comes with many pre-conceptions. What are some of the myths and misconceptions that prevent leaders and organizations from unlocking new value?
Myth #1: Innovation = Technology
One of the most common misconceptions about innovation it that it is a synonym for technology. While most technologies are innovations, not all innovations are technological. New business models and processes are also innovations, and can have as much impact as new technologies on growth.
While technology innovations are great where the opportunity has been proven or is expected with a high degree of certainty, process-oriented innovations can have dramatic impacts on the experiences of both service users and their deliverers.
Myth #2: Innovation Outcomes Are Unpredictable
Traditional approaches to innovation have generally produced change through brainstorming sessions that took place without the any input from the users of those services. This presumes that the organization knows what the market needs more than they do, which often results in costly investments that fall short of expectations.
A collaborative approach to innovation that involves all stakeholders early on allows the organization to continuously develop, test, and modify innovation prototypes, therefore dramatically reducing the chances that the idea will fail when it hits the market.
Myth #3: Innovation Belongs to Department 'X'
Effective innovation will rarely be the result of one department's efforts. For lasting innovation to take place, it is crucial that innovation be collaborative. Innovation teams are an excellent way to lead projects, but they should also act as mentors, guiding the other departments through the process. Not doing so will likely result in innovations that fail to be adopted by the entire organization, compromising its effectiveness when rolled out.
Myth #4: Innovation is Only for Large Corporations
Finally, there is an idea that innovation is the domain of large corporations. This is not the case. Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are also capable of innovation. In many cases innovation is easier, as there are fewer individuals involved and ideas can be generated, prototyped, and tested very rapidly. As major drivers of most industrialized economies, innovation among SMEs is essential to global prosperity. All they need are the right tools and support.
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