The goal of innovation should be to create sustainable competitive advantage—not just create inventions with little or no market value. In order to compete, the product of service being offered must provide value to the consumer, be differentiated from competitors’ offerings, and be protected from imitation. Frequently employees and managers involved with product development are not aware of the broader picture and the essential elements necessary to create innovative products.
Successful companies fail to innovate for several reasons. One is that organizations will try to create a blockbuster innovation immediately after instituting an innovation strategy versus building on the successes of smaller more manageable and possibly failed innovations. Secondly, companies let their guard down after a victory. The huge success of the Motorola RAZR was followed by several flops from which Motorola still seems unable to recover. Thirdly, managers should pay closer attention to the key elements: understanding the interaction of the elements and focusing on more than one factor of the problem at a time.
If the business aspect is missing, there is a great idea but no market pull to create demand and drive sales. If the creative element is lacking, the company is saddled with a stale product or service. There is no market buzz; it’s the “same old same old”. When companies fail to have the structure and systems in place ensure execution, the idea never makes it to market. It’s not feasible to produce or it’s unattractive to consumers due to lacking features and a bloated price tag. Finally, when people are not considered the innovation process lacks passion and people in the organization burn out and leave taking away precious intellectual capital.
Keep this in mind: consumers buy good products but great products are loved. When consumers love a product or service they can’t help but tell people in their network thus repeating the cycle leading to mass adoption. Strive to involve all four elements of innovation and be sure to understand how the interaction of people, creativity, implementation, and business can come together to produce the next great thing.
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