Archive | May 6, 2013

Is Innovation overrated?


Innovation over-highlighted in companies?

On the web, we can read articles saying that companies & people overrated Innovation. Arguments are clear: consumers that would like some products do not especially want innovative products. These consumers need very good products, with the right price – depending on level of life of consumers & at the right moment – accessible during the seasons, the locations, the time and so on… It seems to be absolutely true, isn’t it?

We are not buying a car because there is tablet inside but because the design of the car is what’s we expected, the fiability and global quality is very good and the car bought is in relation with what’s we would like to do with it: driving in cities, driving in the nature or allowing us to drive with 4 children.

Does it means that cars produced do not require important innovations to build the best car for the smallest price?

What is innovation?

Wikipedia answers to this question: “Innovation is the development of new values through solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulate needs, or old customer and market needs in value adding new ways. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments, and society.”

It means that reducing company’s innovation to innovative products is really viewing it as a small piece of what can be innovation. Innovation concept is larger.

Culture of innovation

The standard structures of the company are managing the recurrent operations. We do not have to reduce the importance of these structures: financial results made with them, allow companies to have an innovation structure.

But innovation cannot be processed as in standard structures: there is no recurrent action in its management. Innovation needs its own organization with dedicated managers and experts. Innovation does not have to be separated from the rest of the company: people in the standard structure needs to participate to innovations.

Innovation structures need their own budget with dedicated KPIs, radically different from other budgets. Another key point is the sponsorship. It must clearly be sponsored by executive board members. Steering committees, less structured, must be put in place.

At the end, all collaborators of the company, employees, directors, board members and CEO must contribute to innovation process. Putting a culture of innovation is a key element in a company.

Is Innovation really overrated?

For a company, innovation is larger than having innovative products. Having a process reducing time to proceed operations, having new product with new services more adapted to the market or using new technologies for selling or for having better products is innovation!

I have already heard that coming back to the root of project management is probably more important than having innovation focus. I have to say that there is no link between project management and innovation. Both are required in different steps in any company.

Since 5 years, innovation is entered in all companies, the small ones as the big ones, companies from every countries and from all sectors. It is not a fashion way that will disappear within 5 years. Innovation is a key element that companies have right now to integrate in their strategy for a long time.

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