If Relentless Innovation is the answer, what’s the question? The question is: how do firms become more competitive, create interesting and valuable products and services that drive value, and repeat these actions consistently over time?
Time was, not that long ago, when there were fewer competitors, global trade barriers and high costs for well-educated people and for access to materials. Increasing, every business faces more competition, lower trade barriers and access to well-educated people is easy, in any region of the world. This means that more and more new products and services will be released, creating far more competition, and shortening the life cycle of a product or service.
If product life cycles shrink, that means products and services need to be replaced with far greater regularity than ever before. That means more idea generation, more work to convert ideas into products and services and more and more commercialization. In short, that means more innovation is required simply to stand still.
Increasingly, there are a number of tools and techniques to assist with an innovation effort. A firm may embrace open innovation, for example, to attract or find more ideas from customers and partners. But simply adopting tools or engaging new methods isn’t enough. Innovation is still far too sporadic.
For most firms, innovation has been a reaction to a competitive threat or market condition. Innovation hasn’t been a consistent capability or an internal discipline because innovation was required in a fairly predictable (and long) time horizon. What’s changed is how much innovation is needed, and how frequently, in every business sector. Any firm that isn’t thinking about continuous innovation, relentless innovation, is simply turning a blind eye to the realities in the business world today. Only Relentless Innovators will survive.
That means Relentless Innovation can sustain competitive advantage and help a company grow. Firms that neglect to build a consistent innovation capability or discipline will regret the failure to do so in the very near future.