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Innnovation Advice

Innovative Isn't New

Updated: Jun 22, 2018

In business, we like the idea of being innovative, thinking in innovative ways, having the latest innovative products in our hands, being more innovative than our competition.

In business, we like the idea of being innovative, thinking in innovative ways, having the latest innovative products in our hands, being more innovative than our competition. Why follow the path that someone else developed? Why allocate time and resources to newer versions of existing products that follows the competition? We can't afford to do that because we will be swept aside and left behind in the global marketplace.

In the marketplace today, we frequently hear the word Innovative associated with a product or service. At one time, using the term Innovative implied product and service offerings that were vastly more than the expected introduction of a newer version or incremental improvement. Then and in some cases today, companies and people worked to achieve the status of being Innovative. The status is achieved when customers’ judge the product to provide extreme value based on the amount of improvement possible in their personal or business situation. Amazon is a good example. Most of us would describe Amazon producing Innovative offers, but they don’t make that claim themselves.

Often it’s the corporate marketing machine declaring that products are Innovative, as a synonym of “new”. An Innovative product or service, does not convey value - derived from differentiation - because the word no longer provides any information about how or why the product is better than any other option. Using the description of Innovative doesn’t equate to real or tangible value to the listener, reader, or potential customer. Innovative becomes marketing-speak rather than a true developmental process that is used to chart new offerings that will drive market value and customer benefits.

If Innovative is a replacement for the word “New”, then how do we know when we see an Innovative product or service? How do we associate more value to the term Innovative to differentiate it from what is simply new?

Truly Innovative products and services fill the latent needs that we all have. An Innovative product or service produces superior value by filling latent needs at a low cost relative to the return. Innovativeproducts and services create opportunities for us to change the way we act in the world.

- They save our precious resources of time and money. - They inform us and open opportunities. - They improve our productivity as an integral part of our environment. - They help us live a better life at work or at home. - They help us connect with each other and the world.

An Innovative product is one that makes us say “Wow, exactly what I needed.” But more than that, you didn’t consciously know you needed it before you saw it. Did you know you needed a smartphone, before you had one? How about a wireless Internet connection? Twitter? Facebook? Or, how about a toothbrush that plays music to entice your kids brush more often or longer?

Corporate Innovation isn’t about creating the next new version or incremental improvement. Innovation doesn’t have to be disruptive to be significant. Innovation is a process and a philosophy that drives development initiatives over time, grounded in macro and micro trends, relative to core competencies. Innovation is about seeking out the future reality of life and aligning your development resources to produce something that is or will be needed. Being innovative is a commitment to growth, opening more possibilities and sustaining the company into the future.

If you are creating “new” products or services, it’s time to change that. How are you leading your organization towards hearing a customer say “Wow” when they see your product or service? Be innovative.


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