Juhana Lampinen | 18.08.2011 | Show comments 2
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Let’s scrap the word innovation


What is innovation? Innovation is a buzz word that had been around for quite some time. Obviously everyone needs innovation and is pretty clear why. But what is innovation? I would describe it simply with following sentence: "Doing anything that ensures the long term profitability and growth of a business." Sounds pretty simple really, but in reality it is not. Why? In today's world nearly every large (and small) publicly listed company is focused on pleasing their share holders in short term. The profit is optimized for quarterly reporting. What happens? The long term sustainability goes many times down the toiled. When you ask the managers they often mean that they don't have a choice. That is what the markets need. Let me ask you a question. Let's assume you were investing your money. Yes, I mean your own private money to something. You would have two alternatives:

1. an investment with a promise to deliver great quarterly results but practically no guarantees for the future.

2. an investment with a promise to delivery reasonable profit over next 3-5 years.

Which one would you choose?

In order to deliver the promise of reasonable profit over 3 years the company needs substance beyond press conferences, promises and roadmaps. Yes they (press conferences, promises and roadmaps) are important, but you can't monetize them. You need attractive products and services to sell or an alternative business model (like google or facebook) to monetize your substance.

Many times the product or service development decisions are made by only a few people in the company. The decisions are highly subjective to the person's own judgement. It is true that someone needs to take the development decision and it will always be so. The point is to bring product and service candidates with high potential and better quality to the decision table in the first place. This is called "innovation front end". Innovation front end ensures that the products or services that are going to be developed have a higher probability of succeeding. They are a result of simple but efficient innovation front end process or actually way of working if you will. Bold promise right? Good new is that this is not only a promise but it also works in the "real life".


Innovations innovation, innovative, ideation, business, products, development, diversity buzz word

2 kommentarer

Juha Lipponen | 20.08.2011 klo 15:17

Great post,Juhana! I actually wrote about very similar topic last year, under the title of "Removing the Mysticism in Innovation": Check it out at

Juha Lipponen | 20.08.2011 klo 17:04

....and, I did also discuss the problem of managers avoiding high-risk, high profit development and do safe+low profit -projects.... The key is to understand that development work essentially is betting against odds less than 1.0. Manager who always succeeds in his/her development projects should be fired!

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