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Should you always be innovating? Written on . Posted in Innovation.

Should you always be innovating?
Summary : There are times in a company's life cycle when innovation is not a priority. Should you always be innovating?

Just because you can innovate, doesn’t mean you should.

There is a great range of things fascinating enough to get hooked into, but not solving a customer or operational problem. Look at blockchain. As awesome and potentially disrupting the technology is, it has downsides, like energy consumption. Needing many computers to construct the distributed ledger, the technology must add great value (or solve a big enough problem) to be the choice in face of climate changes.

Innovation has become a buzzword, people are tired to hear that word or being challenged to innovate all the time. Innovation requires stretching or change, which can suck energy out of your people. So it is a good idea, to give them a creative rest to recharge batteries.

Even Steve Jobs paused to drive innovation, when he return from Pixar to rescue Apple. Clearing out the product portfolio, closing down R&D and all but one distribution channel to enhance the chances to survive. When asked what he is going to do with a market single digit share in personal computing, he just answered: "Waiting for the next big thing".

So there are times in a corporate life-cycle that don't require an overemphasis on innovation. But did Steve Jobs came out with the IPOD by doing nothing? He clearly focused on customer needs (success of mp3 player, managing music lists) and trends (the spread and speed of internet). Just to come up with a new product idea.

I believe even when you are not pursuing an innovation initiative, you should still be welcoming ideas and information that come across (preferably from your front- line). Just to be aware what is going on and how your company can fit into the changing environment. It is to give your unconscious mind a chance to prepare answers for the time to be ready.

This is one reason, why I started to work on a new platform: The blueinnovator(.com) platform aims to enable companies to accelerate their innovation processes. By connecting people and ideas and providing tools and training.

What is your approach to innovation? A steady flow with a well-filled idea funnel, or is there an alternation of busy and quiet times?


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