As a business leader, manager, or CEO, you probably by now have come to grips with the importance of innovation in building and sustaining business success. Take a look at the most formidable companies around the world; the likes of Apple, Google, NBA, Shopify, Domino, Amazon, Netflix among others, you will find that the companies that receive most accolades in their industry are most often the most innovative. Because of how hot this "innovation" topic is, countless websites and companies have released articles about how to use innovation in the workplace to boost productivity and profit margins, stating why it is dangerous to ignore innovation in the workplace.
Research shows that 84% of business executives have accepted that their future successes are highly dependent on innovation and that innovation is important to their growth strategy; but because of how cliché the term has become lately and used incessantly without being clearly defined and understood, it is easy for your employees and colleagues to miss the point and end up doing something entirely off-book.
This is why you need to recognize these misleading beliefs about innovation that must be corrected or risk it hurting your company's growth and success.
1- Innovation is Creativity
This is not true. Although both terms are related in practice. There are key differences between them, and they shouldn't be confused as the same thing. First off creativity deals with imagination while innovation focuses on implementation. Shawn Hunter, author of "Out Think: How Innovative leaders drive exceptional outcomes." (Wiley,2013), defined creativity as the capability or act of conceiving something original or unusual, while innovation is the implementation or creation of something new that has a realized value to others. He explained to Business News Daily that "creativity isn't necessarily innovation because if you have a brainstorming meeting and dream up dozens of new ideas then you have displayed creativity, but there is no innovation until something gets implemented"
2- Innovation is Expensive
This is one of the main reasons a lot of businesses and companies shy away from innovation talks because they somehow believe that it requires spending millions to roll out major new products and services or maybe re-engineer their entire IT systems. The truth is that innovation doesn't necessarily have to cost anything at all. of course, some innovations can be costly, depending on your company's size, needs, and target. But most innovations simply require a change in your business operations. if your business hasn't gotten to the stage where it can afford innovating through technological systems or expensive marketing, you can always try innovating with changes in the management structure. changes in your branding, company voice and even changes in the way your sales rep talks to prospects. There are design companies in Lagos, like ours, that can help your company improve through innovation.
3- Innovation is not for everyone
Sometimes, people get the notion that innovators are space engineers who create extraordinary solutions that are out of this world. They somehow believe that innovation is only for a selected group of people who wear lab coats and expensive goggles. This is true sometimes but more often than not, innovation can happen with anyone and anywhere; in a fashion designer’s studio, a pharmaceutical company, a fast-growing food restaurant and even in banks. The possibilities are endless. In organizations, innovation can be as a result of the effort of any person or a group of people, irrespective of the department.
4- Innovation can't be taught
This is a fixed mindset problem and that’s a great thing because it can be fixed. You just need to shed the fixed mindset and switch to a growth mindset that believes every skill can be learned and taught. This belief that innovation can't be taught is so limiting as it stops people from even trying to understand the process of innovation. Indeed, Innovation is a process that involves steps and techniques; teachers of innovation apply techniques to spur an innovative mindset for their students. Websites like MINDSHIFT (A service of KQED News) teaches techniques and strategies to foster innovative thinking in people. Learning innovation is more about understanding how to harness and develop your existing natural curiosity in order to unleash your innate capacity for innovation. This is one of the reasons why we set up our Workshop series, to teach relevant stakeholders in different companies practical and profitable ways to begin to innovate within their organizations.
5- Innovation is always Good
As much as we would like to believe this, it’s simply not true. Most times, Innovation made with good intentions can turn out having a terribly devastating effect on a company and its brand, if not properly done. Let’s take a moment to recall one of the biggest product fails in history, evidence of how innovation can go wrong – The New Coke (1985), they created a change that the customers didn’t ask for and the public backlash was a disaster. The product failed not because it tasted horrible- it failed because of the implication that there was something wrong with the Old Coke… this proves that even giant brands make mistakes as they grow. All the more reason why you must consider inviting an expert consulting agency specializing in designs and innovative strategies to take your business from where it is now to where it needs to be.