The Slippery Slope of Innovation
According to Simon Sinek, here’s the new equation for Innovation.
(lack of time) + (lack of resources) + (optimism) = Innovation
The book “A Beautiful Constraint” supports Simon Sinek’s perspective. The idea that only a few well-funded and powerful Companies could innovate no longer stands. Take Adobe and its growth in Innovation. While also leaning on its own resources to further the Brand’s capabilities – it also bought and broadened its collaboration capabilities with Workfront, Frame.io, and Figma – to name a few. In this scenario, Workfront, Frame.io and Figma could also be considered innovators.
Anyhow, the allure of “Innovation” also has a shadow side. The upside of “Innovation” has become so tempting that many leaders bypass their employees’ Operational rigor, Logic, or Work-life balance to get their idea shipped. However, we have to seriously consider what is actually Innovation because chasing an illogical, unthought-through, massive project conceived in one corner of the Organization is killing your team’s morale. Think of all the folks that hustled to get Microsoft’s Zune (the failed iPod killer) to market.
When thinking about Innovation, you should always center your thinking around a breakthrough. It doesn’t have to be fully baked or perfect; Tesla is constantly getting software updates to improve its performance. But a massive breakthrough was the idea that a software update could improve a car. Not whether it was fully conceived with the introduction of the popular EV.
The point here is not to stop or slow Innovation at all. Creativity and Innovation are what make our lives incredibly exciting to live. It makes today different from yesterday. Our point is that the label of “Innovation” has to be vetted to determine whether we are just recycling past ideas or whether we are actually being Innovative.
But, please, do not stop trying to Innovate. The world would be a less than thrilling place if we were still using Abacuses or Dictaphones and telling time by the sun. “Breakthroughs” in almost everything is done while plenty of folks stand by and say, “That’ll Never Work.”
Express Yourself by Charles Wright, et al