If you want to be an innovator, you have to be curious. You need to be willing to take risks and just try things, even if there is a very real chance that things will go wrong. If you work in a business, then you will need to invest in crowdsourcing software solutions, which have to be implemented properly. That in itself is an innovative idea!

Perhaps the greatest innovators of the modern era, and someone who refers to himself as Captain Curiosity, is Professor Clayton Christensen from Harvard University. He is someone to look into because his focus was on what the essential elements are of a successful organization. He wrote The Innovator’s Dilemma, which turned into a bestselling book. He believes that successful organizations all follow strategic golden rules. Those include well-known things like focusing on customers who are profitable, and market segmentation. Yet, a decade after writing his bestselling book, he revisited those organizations who he believed to be excellent, and found that all of them had either gone under, or were very close to it. He was the one who coined the very controversial, but now very well-known, phrase “good management causes companies to fail”.

It seems like a contradiction in terms, but it actually isn’t. What has gone wrong is that the emphasis is placed solely on the core of their company, which are the existing products, services, and market share. Doing so meant they would not see any types of disruptions coming. Small startup companies came into the market with almost no budgets, offering very low-cost products. Nobody believed they were a threat. Yet, competition turned increasingly strong, which meant they started to collectively take over a big proportion of the market share. And this is what caused the problems for those larger organizations, regardless of how well they were managed.

The Recipe for Good Innovation

Businesses, in order to remain competitive, they must be innovative. And to be innovative, they need a proper strategy to be in place. This is what will allow their innovations to be sustainable, while at the same time being able to tell disruptive and breakthrough innovations apart. Practically speaking, this means innovation missions have to be created. To get this right, you must:

  • Make sure that your organizational strategy and your innovation strategy are two things that have to be kept apart. You need to find out what will make you relevant today, what will allow you to grow, and how you can focus on the areas that matter the most.
  • Make it clear where your main focus will be and how you aim for that to sustain your innovation. Think about internal innovations, existing services and products, and so on.
  • Find the areas in which you can identify disruptive and breakthrough innovations. Look at the macro-trends that happen both inside your industry and outside of it. Try to find out what stands in the way of your customers, and try to get rid of those barriers.

There are some fantastic products around to help you develop an approach to innovation that is fully sustainable. Perhaps your first innovative idea should be to identify who your innovators are, and train them on developing these strategies.