Why uncreative companies survive?


We Don’t Want to Innovate!

“Creativity? What’s that? I don’t want my people to be creative”, said the owner and CEO of a very successful company. About ten years later his company, an important financial services company, has grown very profitably and it is still doing very well.

We often say that today companies have no option but innovate or die. Yet why do some uncreative organizations survive and even do well?

There are no competitors

Monopolies can flourish for many different reasons – regulation, small market size, government control. But also some monopolies have produced incredible innovation: NASA landing man on the moon, the state health system of Germany and France. Many have succeeded in prolonging stagnation. The catholic church took hundreds of years after incontrovertible proof was provided to accept that the earth revolves around the sun, and it did so only when science became perceived as a true competitor to religious dogma.

Competitors are even less innovative

“The one-eyed man reigns in the kingdom of the blind” goes an old Greek saying. Or, as some have said in the modern conference room, when a bear is chasing you and your friend, you don’t need to run faster than the bear, just faster than your friend. Being slightly innovative when most others are entirely uncreative does indeed give a competitive edge. And for a variety of reasons some sectors/countries/niches etc are clearly slower to change than others. In these cases companies are clearly “getting away” with little or no innovation. The question is for how long?

Innovation works well at one level only

While the full innovation potential of an organization may not be realized, it is quite possible that it is or has been by design or default quite innovative at some time and place. The case of pharmaceutical companies with brilliant product innovation in spite of unimaginative marketing comes to mind. Or the opposite where brilliantly innovative marketers sell products that leave much to be desired.

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About olivierlehe

Passion for Innovations

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