Noun. a widely held but false belief or idea
Innovation. It’s become the catch cry of organisations everywhere. It’s in tag lines, advertising, on products, in corporate profiles. We’re seemingly surrounded by innovative companies and brilliant new products.
So what about when innovation doesn’t work? Ideas, products and tools can and do fail – whether it be a product that misses the market; or a process that delivers complexity instead of simplicity; or a tool that simply doesn’t do what it should.
How often does an organisation have the opportunity to say:
“We tried. We failed. Our innovation didn’t do what it was supposed to”.
And then add, “and in hindsight, this is what we’d do differently.”
For Hargraves, that’s an integral part of our ‘collective wisdom’. As a community, members don’t just talk about what worked; they talk about what didn’t work. What they tried, that failed. What they’d do differently so peers can take the good bits and mould them, and maybe, with the benefit of hindsight, make it work.
Allan arrived at conference fresh from a conversation about failed innovation. An innovative company introduced an expensive new system designed to ‘do it all’. Except it didn’t. Rather, it generated far more work than its predecessor to get a similar result.
He called it a ‘myth of innovation’ – because what was believed would happen, didn’t.
So at conference we asked participants,
“Please tell us a myth. Something you expected or believed would happen, that didn’t happen, around innovation?”
Yes, some of the myths contradict each other. We’re a diverse membership and we know what works for one organisation may not work for another. But we also know that what didn’t work for one organisation may work for another using shared insights.
From participants at conference, here’s our ‘Myths of Innovation’
- “That everyone has the same understanding of the meaning of “innovation”.
- “That a dedicated innovation team will solve the problems and will make the business more innovative.”
- “That the benefits of innovation will be so obvious that everyone will get on board.”
- “Using cool innovation techniques to generate ideas from the same product people and leaders somehow creates amazing disruptive ideas.”
- “When implementing a collaborative chat tool we expected natural take up and that didn’t happen.”
- “All innovation is a major change/leap that requires massive effort. (It can be cheap and easy to make a difference.)”
- “Chasing a toolset, a methodology or a training program to magically transform teams into innovators rather than allowing them and inspiring them to spend time in an unstructured way of thinking and discussing their problems.”
- “A technical product innovation that failed to deliver expected growth. (Did not resonate with consumers!)”
- “Focus (money, resources etc) alone will enable innovation to become ‘business as usual’ within large organisations.”
- “I always thought innovation could meet customer expectation. But the gap between customer expectation and delivery keeps on increasing in spite of innovation.”
- “Innovation is only about big ideas/changes. (I now know that innovation can happen on any scale.)”
- “People love and are easily engaged in innovation.”
- “That everyone will want to be innovative and creative once they find out how much fun (and challenging) it is! (Through training).”
- “That the software tools will change the culture.”
- “World class new product outperforming on multiple dimensions had very slow take up because of very complicated sale.”
- “All ideas are good.”
- “Implementation can be achieved through existing resources.”
- “Implementing solutions without understanding pain points and what is truly the underlying problem.”
- “Innovation can occur through mandate.”
- “Innovation is solely top down; driven by tech startups; focussed on STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics]; involves only the young.”
- “Innovation would be enough in and of itself to drive change in behaviours.”
- “I thought innovation was going to be fun, but it’s hard.”
- “Innovation is about heroic leaders.”
- “Innovation is complex.”
- “Hierarchy doesn’t matter.”
- “Online learning is a step forward.”
- “VR [virtual reality] and AR [augmented reality] are more involved with CX [customer experience].”
- “Corporates are ready to commercialise new IP sourced externally.”
- “AI [artificial intelligence] and machine learning is valuable to customers and they will buy it to generate insights.”
- “A lot of people talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.”
The myths are real and the shared stories around what didn’t work and why, are all part of our ‘collective wisdom’. And that’s what makes us different. Community, not consultancy. We don’t do your innovation for you. We connect you with people willing to share their experience.
Do any of these myths resonate with you? Or do you have your own myth? If you’d like to share your story or add your myth to our list, contact Leisl.
To find out more about our Hargraves member community, or corporate or individual membership, just say ‘hi’.
Written for Hargraves by Leisl Kimber, Hargraves Member Services, based on feedback written by participants at Innovation2017, our annual conference.
Download 20 Myths of Innovation [infographic]