Many entrepreneurs and business leaders do not leverage the power of innovative ideas in their business. Here’s a list of common myths about innovation I have encountered from many leaders, and the facts about applying innovative ideas today.
1. Only for Technology Companies. Many people believe that innovations are only for technology-based companies. Although technology businesses develop plenty of innovations, any business – regardless of size, location or industry – can develop innovations. These innovative ideas may relate to the company’s products and services as well as internal business procedures.
2. Just for Scientists and the R&D Department. Business leaders often leave the company’s innovation activities to the Engineering or Research & Development departments. However, this approach can fail to identify many valuable innovations. I have seen numerous examples of creative ideas developed by individuals without any formal science or engineering training. These individuals often come up with great ideas because they are not “burdened” by the scientific training of others. They approach problems from a different angle and do not limit their thinking to existing company products or systems.
3. Innovation is Expensive. Learning how to identify innovative ideas takes some time, but the returns produced by new products and new product features can far outweigh the investment of time. Educating all personnel about innovation builds a culture of creativity that produces a steady flow of innovative ideas throughout the business.
4. Innovation is Boring. People who have not been involved with an innovative company often do not understand that innovation can be fun. Celebrate creative thinking and reward great ideas that help the business grow. Offer innovation contests, brainstorming sessions and other activities that encourage innovative thinking throughout the company. Show examples of innovations that are strengthening the company’s position in the market.
5. Innovation is Not Important Yet. Don’t wait until your business grows to a particular size to begin developing an innovation strategy. Many small businesses can bring creative ideas to market faster than large corporations because of their smaller size. Take advantage of that flexibility and start building your innovation culture today.
6. Customers are Not Part of the Innovation Process. Many valuable innovations have been developed in response to customer suggestions and problems identified by customers. Treat every problem or suggestion from a customer as a “seed” for developing your company’s next innovation. If one customer is experiencing a problem or offers a suggestion, there are likely many other customers and potential customers who will benefit from the same solution.
If you still believe any of these myths, consider a change today to accelerate the growth of your company.
If you have any questions about applying innovation in your business, please leave a comment below. I will personally respond to every comment.