Achieve Breakthrough Innovations
"Achieve Breakthough Innovation" is just one of several ad headlines. Surely, it must be simple to achieve "Breakthrough" innovation on a regular basis. We probably just need to follow an easy 12 step formula to become a world leader in innovation in our industry. At least, that's what the ads would like for you to believe. Starting an innovation initiative is relatively easy - becoming consistently proficient at innovation over the long term is possible but requires a lot of dedication. Becoming a "master" at breakthrough innovation - constantly disrupting the market with brand new products and services or business models - is unrealistic and sets up too many firms for failure.
Why promise the moon at the start of a relationship or project? Creating and maintaining a culture that supports and enables innovation takes time - most firms that have been working at this for any length of time at all will tell you it will take one to two years to fully engage the company in an innovation process. And that's just to get the incremental ideas flowing. Given the fact that the "breakthrough" ideas are much more difficult to create and implement, it's a virtual certainty that most firms will not have many "breakthrough" innovations in a period of even five years. So, why all the hyped advertising and outrageous promises? Why not set some realistic expectations about the work involved to become more effective at innovation, then mature the process and the firm through the stages to get to the breakthroughs?
Innovation, like any business process change, is not quick and is not simple, but it can have dramatic results. Implementing a more effective innovation culture and process means changing the way people think, work, and are compensated, to generate ideas and implement those ideas as new products and services. Hopefully, some of those ideas will be breakthroughs. But setting the bar so high, so early will most likely lead to disappointment and failure.