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Innovation Balancing Act
On June 15th of this year, Nik Wallenda became the first person ever to walk across the roaring Niagra Falls on a 2-inch wire.
After battling wind swells, and thick mist, Wallenda completed his walk crossing from the United States into Canada.
He was greeted by a Canadian customs agent who asked, “What is the purpose of your trip sir?” Wallenda’s response: “To inspire people around the world to follow their dreams and never give up”.
There are many possible roads to innovation. Successful innovation means defining your own road. Much like Nik Wallenda’s walk across Niagra Falls, some of the best innovations come from stepping outside your own comfort zone and balancing the many different facets of innovation.
The formula for success in innovation is about finding the middle ground, walking the tightrope between risk and innovation; between ideation and value creation. The Innovation Balancing Act.
Successfully managing the process of innovation ensures the outcome results in a superior return on investment (ROI).
Keep in mind:
- Milton Hershey started three unsuccessful companies before Hershey’s Chocolate.
- Michael Jordan was told he was too short to play on his high school varsity basketball team.
- The Beatles were originally rejected by Decca Recording studios, who said “we don’t like their sound” and “they have no future in show business”.
- At age 30, Apple’s Board of Directors decided to take the business in a different direction, and Steve Jobs was fired from the company he created. Not only did Jobs go back to his former company, but he changed the market in an astounding way. Jobs claims that his career success and his strong relationship with his family are both results of his termination from Apple.
Are you creating the next Hershey’s or Apple?
Customer value can be created through the actual value-added of the new product, once you find that delicate balance between cost, price and return. Balance is found, in part, by seeking stakeholder input and customer feedback during development of any innovation process (see Value Creation).Remember:
- A means to an end – Think of innovation as a process that uses intellectual capital to generate positive business results, new findings and as a result, even more innovation.
- Key Considerations – Remember to monitor start-up costs, speed to market, scale to volume and other metrics.
- Customer is king – develop an innovation with high perceived value and strong sales will follow.
- IP Protection – IP and Patent protection lock in your competitive advantage and support sales results and market share.
You can learn more about the above points, including how to protect your ideas, by reading Robert’s Rules of Innovation. Robert Brands is the founder of InnovationCoach.com and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation”: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival, with Martin Kleinman, published by Wiley.