In the grand scheme of things, we could talk about the importance of innovation strategy, the need to develop repeatable processes, and the effect company culture has on innovation until we’re blue in the face. And maybe we will. But none of those topics fully address how to turn your current practices around, which is really the most vital thing to figure out. And, if the answer is implementing innovation software — which we think is a great idea — first we need to take a look at some of the misconceptions that seem to be floating around about it.
Here are 4 myths about innovation management software that are just downright wrong.
1. It Will Only Get in the Way
We fully acknowledge that using something as practical as software to innovate seems a bit counterintuitive, since innovation itself is so closely linked to the creative process. But when capturing creativity to translate it into results for your business, you really can’t afford to let ideas run totally wild. They need to be defined, shaped, and given some structure so that they can be leveraged for real returns. Without a process for doing that — and a tool to help facilitate that process — you’re harming your chances to capitalize on innovation by relying, basically, on luck to magically provide exactly the right circumstances at precisely the right time. Kind of the opposite of strategic, no?
2. It’s Only Useful for Brand New Ideas
Ah, assumptions. Can’t teach an old dog new tricks, can’t breathe new life into old ideas…it’s just not true! A lot of the time, we give up on half-baked innovations because, as a result of having no process in place to take them past the initial stage, we can’t see a way to turn them into something more. With innovation management software, though, you can take less-developed ideas — lots of them, in fact — and put them through graduated stages of development. You can present them cohesively to different groups for input, without worrying that iterations found through brainstorming will be lost. Moreover, you can use innovation management software to determine when older products warrant updating, or if it might truly be time to let them go.
3. Innovation Begins and Ends with the Lightbulb, So What’s the Point?
The point is that the notion of innovation being purely about ideation is false. Innovation is not synonymous with ideation, nor should they even mark the starting point of the innovation management process. The problem is just how often they do, which perpetuates the whole guessing-game approach that keeps failing us. Notes Strategyn, a consulting firm devoted to outcome-driven innovation: “It is nearly impossible to have a big idea before knowing what customer, job-to-be-done, segment, unmet needs, and price the idea has to address.”
4. We Don’t Have the Time/ Money/ People/ Etc.
Bottom line: if your company makes excuses to not bankroll its own innovation party — whether that’s literally, with budget, or figuratively, with other resources — then you may as well accept that competitive advantage isn’t something you’re all that interested in. True, implementing innovation management software will be disruptive; it will take up time, and money, and force a learning curve into the mix that will cause people to stumble, and even make mistakes. It’s up to company leaders to be realistic about this stuff, and start small. Viewing your innovation process holistically doesn’t mean you have to start with a fully-thought-out protocol. It’s about iteration, evolution, and eventually, making innovation a part of the everyday practices of your business.