Innovation’s Unforced Errors

One of the top issues on senior executive’s agendas is the quest to inject a bolus dose of innovation into their businesses in order to meet continually demanding growth objectives. Innovation can have the positive results of differentiation, productivity and neutralizing a competitor’s advantage. Unfortunately, research has shown that the most common result of innovation efforts is waste.

As innovation involves risk, there will inherently be some waste in all innovation efforts—similar to a forced error in tennis. The waste we’re talking about comes from the unforced errors—the ones that could have been prevented by thinking through the situation first. Following are a few of the potential unforced innovation errors:

  1. Innovation the market isn’t willing to pay for.
  2. Innovation that doesn’t add relevant differentiation to your offerings.
  3. Innovation that doesn’t solve existing problems or prevent future problems.
  4. Innovation that competitors can quickly match.

Which of these unforced errors has your group experienced with its most recent innovation efforts?

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