3 Myths of Innovation Debunked

Innovation is not only about generating implementing ideas instantly. It is a broad process of generating, filtering and implementing ideas in order to create a positive impact. For example, if you are running a for-profit organisation, cost saving and increasing revenues ideas are implemented to generate higher profits(impact).

There are three elements of an innovation – an idea,  its implementation and its impact. Note it, innovation is not only restricted to product or service category. It has a broad field to explore. You can use it in your processes, customer experience, business models etc. Today in this important article, we are going to debunk or root out the three common myths of innovation.

1. Innovation Starts with Creativity

It is a common belief that in order to be an innovative person, you have to be creative. People mostly use these two terms interchangeably. But i believe that this is a limited notion about innovation concept. Let’s understand this with the help of a true story about a real innovator.

James Brookshy was the chief engineer in Empress mills started by an Indian Entrepreneur Jamsetji Tata in 1874. In 1883, Brookshy was on a leave to Lancashier saw ring spindles which were invented in USA. Empress mills were using an old technology of mule spinning for textile. He noticed, ring spindles were producing more yarn that mule.

While working in the same industry of textile, he must have asked one question to himself ‘can this work in empress Mills?’ He must have become curious about bringing ring spindle to Indian Empress Mills right. In short this story of Brookshy tells us one thing that innovation has its origin from curiosity not creativity. I do not mean creativity is not important.

The way we identify and define a problem(curiosity) in market is more important than how do we solve a problem?( Creativity). If you have a business, you should first think and check what you are curios about? It simply means identification of key areas in your business that the customer is unhappy about. Suppose your key area is your product’s warranty card about customer is unhappy. You should probe it out which factor of my warranty card is the defect for customer?

2. Innovation is a Smooth Linear Process

Second myth about innovation process is that when you get an idea, simultaneously execute it. This kind of thinking can lead your business to crash not to cash. Always process ideas through filtration funnel. What i mean by filtration funnel is that do not execute your ideas till you experiment them.

You have to evaluate your ideas with your performance standards in order to control and reduce down the risk associated with. When your ideas pass through your experiment, validate your assumptions and then implement them. Thus in nutshell innovation is the outcome of a series of experiments not a smooth linear process(myth).

3. Innovation is about Risk Taking

Third myth is about taking risk. Who does not take risk? When we move out of our homes towards office, we get stuck in traffic and hence pushing us to threats such as loss of pay, absent marking if we do not reach on time.But you have to think about strategies which will reduce your risk of getting pay cut.

Risk is always there with an innovation but with the help of experiments you are bringing it down and in control. In other words,innovation involves assessment and mitigation. If you push ideas through the filtration funnel, few of them come out successfully and selective of them reach to markets in the forms of products OR services(solutions). Executing experiments on your ideas actually is mitigating the risk involved. Thus in short, third myth about innovation gets debunked. At last remember it well, innovation is about risk taking, assessment and mitigation.