Marketing

Innovation is no snack

July 14, 2015

Innovation should not be an activity, but a core competency of an organization, says Academic Director Toni Sfirtis, but the practice is proving to be quite stubborn.

Image: © Nationale Beeldbank

"Innovation means working hard 14 hours a day, clearing your mind to invent new interesting dishes."
Ferran Adria (culinary genius and owner of El Bulli, formerly one of the most renowned and pioneering restaurants in the world).

Innovate to order?

HURRAY!!!! We have together discovered the holy grail to solve the crisis. We must all innovate together. Innovation is hot, innovation is cool, and if you innovate you are guaranteed success. RIGHT?

This is not so surprising. During the recent research into innovation and innovative capacity, 59 percent of respondents said that they invest more in innovation during difficult times. 

Where I work, we are regularly asked or told: we must innovate! With the emphasis on “must." As if innovation could be done to order. This is not surprising either given the number of published books and articles on the subject. These writings follow the recipe of a cookery book in which the average manager is told how to achieve innovation in easy-to-follow steps. The manager can also choose between transformational, incremental, technological, and radical innovations. Or product, service, or even experience innovations? Perhaps, your organization is more into game-changing innovations, value innovations, business model innovations...? Maybe you should develop a business model canvas. That will at least help you visualize creatively your organization and your business. 

It seems to be yet another management hype, which the business community, unfortunately, seems to adopt too literally. Creative brainstorming sessions, away-days, developing business models through various methods, visualizing canvasses – it is creativity all around. The most creative business models get conceived. But creativity without commercial potential is not innovation but lofty hobbyism by certain people and departments within organizations. 

The full story is available on TIAS’ Dutch-language page
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