Why innovation is not that important

10/15/2020

Why innovation is not that important

Innovation is risky. Customers are not asking for it. We are already successful… Getting momentum behind significant innovation is difficult, and sometimes it’s easier for a business to stay in what they deem a safe spot. Let’s look at seven arguments that inhibit innovation as well as their counter arguments.

If you want to stop your organisation from trying to develop significant new products or services, then here is our solid argument you can rely on.

There’s the idea that innovation is inherently superior to maintenance or straightforward progression. For example, a new vacuum cleaner with a longer attachment system isn’t a real innovation, but a robotic vacuum cleaner that cleans your floors autonomously is.

Innovation has the power to change our lives for the better, making things more convenient and cost-effective, and some of the devices we’ve seen emerge from our prioritization of innovation, such as smartphones and emerging self-driving vehicles, would seem to verify that.

Innovation in a capitalistic society also has the potential to breed billionaires. You can work your whole life in an established path and maybe make enough money to retire, or you can innovate something that saves thousands of hours a year, and retire wealthy while you’re still young. And since we tend to equate money with value, we tend to think of innovators as inherently more valuable to our society as everyone else.

Has there ever been a new creation that could not linked back to a previous innovation? Although new ideas need to start somewhere, I struggle to find an example. Every discovery appears to be predicated on an earlier one. Penicillin, a 20th century discovery, has roots going back 5,000 years to Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, India, and China when fungi and other plants were used to treat diseases. But we can go even further back to the Paleolithic 60,000 years ago when plants were used as medicine according to archeologists.

Why do we focus on novelty?

Why innovation is not that important

In an article Inc. Then Mark Bowden, founder of TRUTHPLANE, chimed in with some perspectives.

“‘New ideas’ is an explanation for how we seemingly come up with knowledge from nowhere. There does not have to be an original thought. But the idea of it is helpful for us.”

He suggested that we try to imagine anything that is not a derivative of something from the past. To do this, you would need explain it in terms of nothing but itself, without metaphors.

He then continued with an interesting point of view:

“I suspect part of the problem is in the word ‘original’ being thought to mean new, rather than to mean ‘now seen from over the horizon.’ We don’t look over the curvature of the earth to notice the new day was already there. We are quite obsessed with the value of ‘newness.'”

Why are we obsessed with the value of newness?  He closed with something I find quite poetic and deep:

“We know that things end, often painfully. So, we are desperate for greater to be born. Rather than the old and fragile to be built upon.”

Whoa. This is so profound that I’m still thinking about its hours after I first read those words.

What do you believe? Can you think of anything that is truly original? Or is everything really just a derivative of the past? What if every new idea is based on something that once existed?

Read the whole article here: https://www.inc.com/stephen-shapiro/stop-worrying-about-novelty-of-your-ideas.html