Innovation is Expensive and Other Myths

Innovation is Expensive and Other Myths

By Rajeswari Jayaraman

Innovation is equated to the development of new products, technologies, services and business models that fuels the growth of companies while creating benefits for consumers. However, such an important discipline is also often misunderstood. It is pretty common to hear statements such as “you have to be creative to be innovative”, “innovation is expensive”, and “innovation is solely the job of R&D” echoing down corporate hallways.

In a previous article, we exposed the truth behind 3 common myths that have haunted innovation and the efforts of countless companies for decades. Here, we continue to expose innovation myths and debunk another 3 innovation myths in corporate innovation.

Myth: Innovation occurs through a “stroke of genius”: the Eureka moment.

It is a common misconception that breakthrough innovation occurs through a sudden flash of insight from a visionary and creative genius.  Instead, as it is often said, genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Successful innovation is the result of creating a well-planned organization, hiring motivating leaders and engaging employee contributions at every level. Smart companies strike a balance between bottom-up and top-down innovation efforts to align high levels of employee engagement with the company’s goals.

Myth: Innovation is cutting-edge technology.

Innovation is often associated with shiny well-designed new gadgets and gizmos with the fastest, lightest, and shiniest designs. In reality, successful innovation is not all about products! It’s about new ways of doing business. Innovation applies to redefining business models, networks, processes, service offerings and many more. What makes Apple, Dell and GE globally-leading companies? Sure, they use most advanced technologies, but their success lies in their breakthrough business model; a model that provides a deep understanding of consumer needs, establishes a network of suppliers and partners, and directs technology and service innovation in the right direction.

Myth: Innovation is expensive.

Will more resources lead to more innovation? With the emergence of second generation internet technologies (Web 2.0) and open innovation platforms, generating new ideas is the least expensive link of the chain. Ideas can be tested inexpensively using rapid prototypes and straw models before they go into the expensive production and implementation cycles. Successful innovation is not money-expensive but time-expensive. After generating ideas, companies should be prepared to invest a lot of time and effort into careful and thoughtful follow-up work.


Innovation is at the top of the agenda for many companies into which enormous time and money is invested. New online tools, open innovation forums, and external collaborations have made it possible to gain access to radically new ideas. However, it is in the hands of organizations to build a clear understanding of the particular challenges faced and to implement the best business approach. This together, with a sense of proportion, will ensure that your company will not fall prey to the myths of innovation.

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