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Fail to Innovate?

innovation | February 2019

Organizations who come to Peel for help with innovation pay good money and they expect good value. That is what we aim to deliver, but value takes many guises. While a viable, feasible and desirable innovation opportunity is the most obvious one, that outcome is not guaranteed. But do not consider that a failure. Innovation is “a bumpy road,” as one of our customers likes to say.

Value also comes in the shape of improving your organization’s capability to innovate (and that is guaranteed):

  • Pick your battles: often, an area for innovation has been preselected. But most organizations have a portfolio of products, services and markets, and along the way, we discover we need to refocus efforts on another area that offers more innovation potential. Learning where not to spend money is valuable too.
  • Prepare to fail: so Apple began in a garage, but I am assuming the parents paid for food, lodging – and the garage. When organizations innovate, it is paid out of their pockets, and it does not come cheap. Cambridge Associates, a Boston-based global investment firm, calculated that between 1990 and 2010, about 60% of venture-backed startups failed. You fail, you learn, you pivot, you move on.
  • Take your time: anathema today, but do not buy into the stories of the lone genius inventor. If you look at the history of ideas, most of them were already around for a while, and their success was more a case of the right place, the right time and the right guy (or gal).

Developing innovation as a long-term structural capability in your organization is very valuable, then, as it significantly increases your chances of delivering those winning innovation opportunities, and that is what we were after in the first place, right?

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