- Innovation requires a powerful, visionary leader. Can you name the CEO of Gore, 3M or P&G? Plenty of firms are innovative, yet many of these firms aren’t lead by visionaries, and innovation doesn’t originate at the top.
- Some industries demand more innovation. Yes, but all industries need innovation. Some industries, due to competitive pressures or consumer demands require more innovation than others, but all industries will require more and more innovation.
- I don’t need to innovate. I can be a fast follower. This may have been true historically, but the pace of change has accelerated. Fast followers often miss innovation windows. Fast followers don’t understand what’s valuable in a competitor’s product and what’s missing. And staking your existence on being a fast follower means being able to accelerate your ability to respond as the market speeds up.
- Innovation is sporadic, accidental or occasional at best. Your firm can control and sustain innovation over time. Good innovators demonstrate that innovation is a business discipline, not a happy accident or an ad-hoc capability.
The reason these myths are important to eliminate is that they create thinking barriers for innovation. If we believe that a visionary CEO is necessary for innovation and we don’t have one, well, then, we’re off the hook for innovative thought.
What’s true is that any firm can become a consistent, persistent innovator. It takes time, focus, intent and changes to business models and skills, but any firm, in any industry, can become a Relentless Innovator. One of the first things you must do is eliminate these flimsy excuses and get on to the real work of innovation.