Of course, our dear Einstein would tell us, “a person who never made a mistake, never tried something new”. We won’t argue with that. Innovation is hard, you make mistakes sometimes, but there is some kind of innovation mistakes you must avoid to do if you want to lead a winning entreprise. Here’s the list.
Focusing on technical aspects
Many people have the mistaken belief that innovation is primarily research and development function. Innovation is truly successful when it meets the right market. That is why, identifying its challenges and business values will enable it to effectively address the correct sectors or fields of applications. A few years prior to then, research was carried out for science, whilst today it is often thought of as being for economic purposes. Innovation should be understood as a global process that includes the entire value chain: from R&D to engineering, manufacturing, distribution, sales, marketing, and even facility utilization and investment strategy.
Going too far
Everybody knows the KISS principle as an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid”. Innovation is no exception to the rule. Many companies wait until a new product is perfected before designing an elaborate launch. However, dithering about the details of your idea or spending too much time on things that are not core to your value proposition is a waste. Make sure you get the core right before you deal with secondary or tertiary items.
Waiting for growth
When you start your business, whatever your field of application, you might struggle with self-doubt. « Am I ready to launch my idea? », « Maybe I should wait to get bigger ? » WRONG ! (bad buzzer sounding). Waiting until your business reaches a « reasonable » size is quite a big mistake. Why ? Because small organizations can embrace innovation and profit from their lack of size and increased flexibility, promoting rapid growth. This speed allows small businesses to get new products to market faster and position themselves as a market leader.
When we talk about business, it is all about context. If the environment is not ready, you won’t succeed in your project, whatever the value of your business model. On the one hand, if your business comes too early in a market that isn’t large enough you don’t get any visibility. On the other hand, if you come too late, you will get a foothold in a crowded market with many competitors. If you want your innovation to become a success when it enters the market, you have to strike the right balance. Not too slow but not too fast. That’s the secret.
Taking decisions without evaluating your ideas
As Brendon Burchard once said, “Don’t wait until you’re lost to evaluate where you’re going”. Too many executives make decisions based on a good feeling. This would be your biggest mistake. You must evaluate the ideas and take action to implement the best ones that allow your business to grow. Evaluation is the only way to find out if your idea is viable and if it is going to be accepted by your customers/partners/investors. When evaluating ideas, seek feedback from people from different expertise. This diversity helps identify the most valuable ideas to decide which projects should be discontinued and which should receive additional funding.
What about you ? What other mistakes do you see ?