Vadim Kotelnikov, founder of Innovarsity    

Enemies of Innovation

Why innovation initiatives fail and How to beat these enemies


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Uncreative person  How to prevent innovation   Why new innovation initiatives fail   NPD failure reasons

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Poor Understanding of True Customer Needs

Failing companies display split between marketing and R&D viewpoints as new product developers lack deep understanding of customers needs and insights into product usage patterns.

These companies are not able to move forward on the innovation front until they change their approach to innovation and narrow that divide.

Innovation Is Not Institutionalized

Building innovation should be a structured, manageable and measurable endeavor. It requires an institutionalized innovation system. Yet, in failing companies, innovation process looks like a dice game largely dependent of luck. As a result, innovation is managed in ways that increase risk and decrease payback.

Weak Entrepreneurial Skills of Project Leaders

Innovation is 1% of invention and 99% of entrepreneurial action. Traditional project management approaches are impractical in a radical innovation environment characterized by a complex set of uncertainties on multiple dimensions and requiring experimental and entrepreneurial approaches. A radical innovation project cannot succeed if its manager lacks entrepreneurial leadership skills.

Corporate Bureaucracy

“Established business is the main obstacle to entrepreneurship,“ warned Peter Drucker. Most companies don’t encourage entrepreneurial approaches, don’t have tolerance to mistakes, and don’t create conditions by which employees can act as entrepreneurs It is essential to insulate new ventures from the main business and the corporate bureaucracy that would kill them otherwise.

Risk Averse Culture

Successful companies reduce risk and maximize returns in a balanced way. In failing companies, aversion to risk impedes management from venturing into new areas. Managers in risk averse and sluggish companies prefer to stick to processes, technologies, and products they are comfortable with and concentrate on “yes, buts” rather than “what ifs”. As a result, many great new technology, process or product concepts are killed because of management’s fear of risk.

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Poor Employee Motivation

Management fails to tear down cultures of bureaucracy, interference, and lack of autonomy, and to generate the right climate that encourages experimentation, creativity, rule-breaking, and individualism. Employees are not rewarded properly when they generate innovative ideas or achieve stretch goals set for them.



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