If innovation is so important, why do so few care about it?

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If innovation is so important, why do so few care about it?

A day does not pass when we don’t hear how important innovation is for the growth of a company, indeed its survival. With this universal declaration of its importance, why is it so difficult to find evidence that companies actually care about it, as measured by their investment in innovation and their commitment to change?

 

It is a cognitive problem.

It is rarely understood what innovation actually means. While there is a consensus that it is something new, what that something is remains assumed and oddly unclear. Frequently that something is assumed to be an idea, but ideas that don’t solve real problems, encounter apathy, not resonance.

 

It is a resource allocation problem.

New ideas are inherently risky to apply, and executives are rewarded for mitigating risks, not embracing them. An array of problems is a ubiquitous condition of any business, and when executives are faced with the decision to invest in a proven method or a new idea that is associated with a particular problem, the problems that can be solved with the proven method are more likely to be deemed priorities over those that require a new idea.

Ideas are not innovation. 

Only the successful application of a new idea to a problem qualifies as an innovation, and the importance of innovation is measured by its scale. Companies don’t care about innovation, because they care more about solving problems at scale, and determining the probabilities of scaling success in advance is a cognitive challenge that requires leadership.

 

 

By Lemuel Lasher, Chairman, Leading Edge Only

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Leading Edge Only (LEO) provides a unique platform for organisations who seek a more effective way to source innovative technologies, products and services and for fast-growth start-ups, SMEs, Universities and other organisations to showcase their innovative solutions to a global audience.

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