In 100 Words: Why Innovation is Difficult


Without a doubt, the existing, successful business is the number one barrier to innovation.  This is why many new market-shaping innovations come from organizations which are start-ups or outside an industry.

Yet managers shouldn’t be faulted.  Innovation (beyond incremental efficiencies) requires investment.  Financial returns, if any, won’t show until sometime in the future.  Managers are tasked and incentivized to maximize short-term financial returns which are better when focusing on the existing business.

If organizations desire market innovation, leaders must balance this conflict.  Some organizations find success by separating resources from the existing business and establishing different measurements for innovation leaders.

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

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