What’s not innovation – the definitive guide



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We are managing our businesses in a world of disruption where complexity, hypercompetition and uncertainty build our new reality. The quality mindset of the 80s made our companies more reliable, efficient and predictable. Unfortunately the days where quality represents competitive advantage are over. Innovation is the one and only way to survive, grow and earn superior performance.

Look at the cover of every management and business magazines: Executives from all sorts of industrieswhat-is-innovation are looking for ways to make their companies more innovative. For top management, innovation is the top priority. For middle managers, on the other hand, it is the new secret to be understood. Everybody wants innovation, but we found some critical misunderstandings about its concept that heps us comprehend what is and what is not innovation in business. We have been researching, practicing and advising industry leaders to systematically innovate. To help you master innovation we labeled 4 innovation definition errors that can actually reduce your innovative performance:

  1. The Improvement error: is to see innovation and routine work/improvement as the same thing: the worse thing you can do is to manage them in the same ways and try to deal with them using the same tools. They can be integrated but the project management of these initiatives is actually quite different.
  1. Benchmark error: When you see yourself as the only reference to label you own projects as “new things”, you are doing the Benchmark error. Some companies believe they are innovating when releasing a new product or adopting a new process that is, in fact, already being done by the competitors. Some of them reply saying that process or product are innovations for them, but this notion just does not help us to innovate: Innovation has to be new in the market where you compete.
  1. The Focus error: It consists in believing you are innovating as you generate a lot of weird ideas. Innovation is not creativity. Some products have been considered innovations before being launched. Creativity is the raw material of innovation, but innovation does not stop on the ideation phase: It is not about ideas, it’s about impact.
  1. The Business error: Product Innovation is just one of the many ways to innovate, the Business error is to focus all your attention on one type of innovation. Your challenge is to renew your business model and create your future’s competitive advantage. It doesn’t matter what type of innovation you are going to do.

Innovation Essentials  Executives in large companies need a strategic, integrated and actionable definition to guide through the pitfalls of innovation. In our perspective, innovation is to transform new ideas into business. Innovation is not something new: It’s something new that has real impact. The world is crowded with great inventors that never reached success with their inventions.

  • Innovation is more than product innovation. There are a different sorts of innovation types. Every company has a business model in which we can find different innovation opportunities. Innovation should be a process not an isolated event.
  • Creativity is the raw material of innovation but not the end of it: innovation starts with a new idea that has to be developed, tested and executed to become successfully innovative.
  • To innovate we have to use the right tools, frameworks and mindsets. We must understand the uncertainty in managing innovation projects.

To become more innovative, large companies have to, first, understand what is not innovation, and then create the ability to learn what is, truly, innovation and transform it in reality.

See you in the next innovation.

Maximiliano Selistre Carlomagno Co-Founder