Tag Archives: innovation is wasteful

Pursuit of Innovation– Its Messy! Its Wasteful! Its Inefficient! Its the Antagonist of Business Minimalism…

The ‘relentless pursuit of innovation’ is life-blood of all great organizations… The ability to identify new opportunities and develop solutions that businesses and consumers will embrace is the cornerstone of innovation… While it’s a simple concept, its execution is much more complex and great companies are in a constant race to be the innovator in their industry…

According to Jon Mertz; innovation are those ‘wake-up’ moments when an organization realizes that they are on the wrong track and they need to change… Or, other times when they are inspired with ‘big idea’, which can take organization to whole new level competitiveness… But innovation is not pretty– it’s messy, it’s inefficient, it’s wasteful…

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Then there are other organizations that are less inspired and constantly searching for– waste, inefficiency… they strive to become– lean and mean– which is an inward looking strategy that embraces ‘the relentless pursuit of efficiency’… but main purpose of an organization is to create ‘value’, not to focus on efficiency… Innovation creates ‘value’, whereas the pursuit of efficiency can improve the ‘bottom line’, but rarely creates value… However innovation is difficult; it means messing around; trying things, messing things up, again and again… it’s ‘waste’ but ‘good waste’…

In the article Productivity Paradox by Wickham Skinner writes: Efficiency is an instinctive response to improve business performance metrics– it creates very little value. According to William Abernathy; an organization can easily become prisoner in search for greater efficiency… for some organization its obsession… they try to wring out ever drop of waste, inefficiency… which can be counter productive…

When managers grow up in this atmosphere, their skills, vision… never fully develop– they instinctively strive to minimize all inefficiencies, waste… while missing broad opportunities to stimulate growth through innovation… The harsh fact is generations of managers are stunted by this efficiency-driven mentality… For many organization efficiency is single dimension of performance and deeply ingrained in culture… And, it can create a toxic work environment that drives-out creative, innovative people at all levels…

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In the article Economy Is Obsessed with Efficiency by Umair Haque writes: The noble pursuit of efficiency is becoming something more like a frenzied, perhaps even a self-destructive obsession… The relentless pursuit of efficiency stagnates the economy, it’s not stimulation… The challenge for robust economy is not more efficiency, but more relevant innovation… Yet many organization only focus on the relentless pursuit of efficiency… The message here is not to demonize the quest for more efficiency, but to think a little more wisely about it… Hence, the challenge for– leaders, investors, inventors, dreamers… is not merely to make things more efficient, but to create life-changing innovation…

In the article Efficiency and Inefficiency by Charles Beckett writes: Efficiency is a paring down to essentials, a stripping away of extraneous or unnecessary things… in many organizations efficiency  is about– lean, stripped-down, minimal… things that are  absolutely necessary to exist– it’s the minimalist view that simple is better… It’s the removal of all– distractions, untidiness… and according to minimalist it creates a powerful symbolism of power, symmetry, perfection…

In corporate terms, and indeed in economic terms, we tend to think of efficiency as something that requires a burning away (of chaff, or waste…) until we are left with that which is absolutely necessary to get the job done… However, according to many experts; genuine creativity, originality must, by definition, have a degree of inefficiency… Part of the beauty of innovation is the vagary of the journey…

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In the article Businesses Can Kill Innovation by Nick Heath writes: Organizations can easily fall into traps that stifle innovation and lead to stagnation… They often embrace behaviors that stifle innovation they claim to promote. These behaviors are frequently unconscious– a side effect of practices that are entrenched in some organizations and inadvertently smother innovation without even realizing it, e.g.:

  • Refuse to Upset Core Business: Companies that refuse to consider any activity that might disrupt established business risk, ignoring technological and societal changes that will eventually eat away at their core… According to Mark Raskino; companies can become fixated on the idea that they produce a certain type of good or service and are unable to accept that in a changing environment they need to shift their business towards doing something else…
  • Blind to the Bigger Picture: Focusing too heavily on short-term outcomes can exhaust a company’s opportunity to innovate… Constantly fighting fires to ensure revenues and profits are in line with forecasts and to maintain the confidence of shareholders is a common impulse for managers… According to Mark Raskino; the dominant job of management is to keep the enterprise going, with almost the same outcome year-over-year, which is a miracle in itself because the world outside is changing…
  • Listen to Customers: According to Steve Jobs; people don’t know what they want until you show it to them… According to Clayton Christensen; most customers are not able to visualize how product or service could better serve them… Instead of straight-out asking customers what they want, examine their habits carefully to learn what they want to do in their lives, and create product or service that meets that need…
  • Dismiss Failures: Companies that pooh-pooh ideas as old hat could be shutting the door to valuable opportunities… According to Mark Raskino; just because an idea crashed and burned earlier, it doesn’t mean that it won’t succeed later… Ideas move in fits and starts. They go away and come back again, but they are never exactly the same– due to technologies and cultural change…
  • Confuse Technology with Innovation: It’s a mistake to think that the path to innovation lies through latest technology… According to Mark Raskino; innovation is doing new things in new ways for customers, some of which may or may not involve new technology… This idea that simply doing ‘show-and-tell’ with new technology is somehow innovation in itself is very naïve…

Nothing stifles innovation like a good, old-fashioned– ‘stuck in the rut’… According to Kou Murayama, Andrew Elliot; when managers, workers… concentrate on specific business performance goals, they only see the ‘little’ picture in front of their eyes and use only the existing and proven techniques to get the job done… hence creativity may often fall by the wayside… In contrast, when managers, workers… strive to become masters at their jobs, they tend to grasp the ‘big’ picture and are more likely imagine new ideas to improve  overall results…

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According to Gregory Berns; the human brain is a ‘lazy piece of meat’ and it’s gotten lazy because it has evolved for efficiency, it likes to take perceptual shortcuts to save energy. Thinking ‘inside the rut’ takes a lot less energy than getting ‘outside the rut’– it’s more efficiency but it limits growth… Hence, great leaders must lift their managers, workers… out of habitual ‘in the rut’ thinking they must encourage them to expand the possibilities for more innovative solutions…

When an organization is obsessive with efficiency it’s preoccupied with the ‘rut’… being ‘stuck in the rut’ blinds the senses for innovating thinking that can lift an organization to much higher levels of sustainability…