The Five Myths of Innovation

Three authors writing in the MIT Sloan Management review claim to have uncovered 5 ‘myths of innovation’.  In brief they are:  

1.  The Eureka Moment.  Many people think that innovation is based on a blinding flash of inspiration but the truth is more prosaic.  Innovation is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration.  Most companies have plenty of good ideas but have poor processes for evaluating and developing the best ideas.

2.  Build it and they will come.  The proliferation of Web 2.0 and social media has misled people, the authors argue, into believing that social networks will transform the way we innovate at work. ‘Smart companies are selective in their use of online forums for innovation.’

3.  Open Innovation is the Future.  The authors believe that the costs of open innovation have been underestimated and that successful companies will use a mix of internal and external innovation resources. 

4.  Pay is paramount.  Rewarding people for their innovation efforts misses the point. The process of innovating, of taking the initiative to come up with new solutions, is its own reward.

5.  Bottom-up innovation is best.  Smart companies use both top-down and bottom-up approaches and are adept at helping bottom-up innovation projects get the sponsorship they need to survive.  

The full article is informed, provocative and interesting.