A few reasons why corporate innovation slows down and what you can do to make it work.
If you’re looking for a great way to drive towards top line growth, check out a recent article by Uri Neren (CEO of Innovator’s International) where he writes about mission-led companies delivering great results they can stand behind. The primary example he uses is Patagonia’s 2011 provocative ad campaign ‘Don’t buy this jacket.’ Why would they produce an ad like this? Simple – they believe that people should buy fewer things, and if they bought a Patagonia jacket they’d buy fewer jackets over time because their jackets last longer than the completion. Win – win. The lesson is simple – set a mission that you believe in (ideally one that produces greater good for the world, ok?) and come up with some creative strategies to accomplish it. One last thing, make sure you truly know your business, yourself and your team. Unless, you truly believe in your mission, you'll never win. I’m working with Uri now on establishing an emerging entrepreneurs group at Innovator’s International and can attest to Uri’s knowledge of delivering growth for small and large companies. Take a second look at your company's mission, update it if necessary and then start delivering on what you stand for.
Innovation in and of itself is great. I think most would agree that from baby steps to big steps, any use of technology or new frameworks for operations/products are important. However, I would argue that it's not until people (let's call it a critical mass) actually use and find benefit in innovation that it truly matters. Friendster and even Myspace were great mechanisms for building a social community but they didn't provide the widespread network needed to foster change. Similarly, Orkut (a Google product) never caught on with Americans.
For some reason, Brazilians use Orkut more than any other nation (59.1% of users are from Brazil) even though Google has moved on to Google+. Similarly, there were several small steps that made the iPad/iPhone possible. Tablets weren't anything new in 2010, but Apple (okay, Steve) found a way to revolutionize how we use them. He paved the way with an app store, eager consumers/developers, and a sync system that made it all easy. Then, once 15 million consumers opened their wallets, the ocean parted. We now have an incredibly useful device that makes communication, content aggregation, and gaming easier and more fun. It's that 'tipping point' moment when a product catches on and moves the needle from interesting, to game changing. Lesson? Creating great products is important. But you need to convince execs, VCs, and consumers that what you thought up is valuable and worthy of your time and money.