Three Myths About Innovation Exposed

Three Myths About Innovation Exposed

By Vidhya Sivakumaran

Traditionally, innovation was something managers, CEOs, and the general population considered as “coming up with a new product”. But, in recent years, that definition has changed. Innovation is gradually being applied towards the development of business models, marketing, and management practices. There is more appreciation for fresh ideas that can transform any part of the corporate environment and value chain, not just products and services!

But, what is innovation? The easiest way to define innovation is to describe it as simply a new idea, device, or method. Anyone can innovate, in any area they choose. The problem is that many people don’t believe they have it in them. They think, I’m not creative enough, smart enough, or I just don’t have the time. But those are simple myths. There are more challenges to innovation than being creative or smart. Below, we discuss three serious innovation myths and how to approach them.

MYTH #1: Innovation only applies to products and/or technology.

As we mentioned earlier, innovation does not only apply to products and/or technology. Are new shimmering electronics, snazzy gadgets, or sparkly doodads enjoyable? Sure. Do they increase the market profile and success of a company? Sure. Is this where most of the press and hype comes from? Definitely. Everyone gets excited about the latest smart phone or the newest innovation in artificial intelligence, but in reality, innovation is more than just these newest products. Innovation can be anything that changes, shifts, or pushes the current state of affairs to improve a business and helps increase the bottom line (typically). Thinking outside the box and where value in a company can be placed will also help increase the bottom line.

MYTH #2: Bad ideas, no such thing!

In school or from our families, we are accustomed to hearing the phrase “there are no bad ideas.” However, in innovation, this isn’t the case. Unfortunately, bad ideas do exist. We see them all the time, through late night brainstorming sessions and group meetings. For example, if your product doesn’t meet consumer expectations, that’s probably a bad idea or a bad innovation. Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t express your ideas, it just means, a lot of thought has to go into discussing the pros and cons, before jumping in.

MYTH #3: Creating a new market is possible through innovation!

Not every new idea is going to open up a new market. Creating a new market requires more than just a good idea. It requires a pattern of thinking that will openly look at unchartered territory, increase value, and cross boundaries. Not everyone can be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, but we can strategically think about our ideas, and what markets they can fill the gap in – and thus create a new market.

Innovation is a science. Using your observation skills, analyzing patterns, and doing some research is what innovation is all about. And while new ideas are awesome, not all innovations lead to increased revenue, which is why innovation is a science. Some seemingly great ideas have led to some detrimental effects, for examples, phone upgrades that catch on fire! It’s impossible to foresee the impact of every idea. Remember, innovation is not about the newest thing and it is vital to create an environment that encourages innovation, engagement, and creativity.

There are several books written in this field, such as “The Myths of Innovation” by Scott Berkun and “101 Design Methods” by Vijay Kumar. Check them out for more information.

Image courtesy of freerangestock.com

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