Escaping from innovation’s ‘plateau’
Attempts to innovate are designed to bring companies to the top of their respective industries. However, many leaders focus their attention on improving an extremely limited swath of metrics, undercutting their efforts to get ahead. As noted in the Harvard Business Review, pedestrian innovations can get companies trapped on an “innovation plateau,” unable to really excel. (Apr. 4, Ruelas-Gossi)
For example, many CEOs decide that their new programs will be focused mainly on cutting costs. This is seen as easier to achieve than increasing revenue, and ends up with companies unable to commit to further innovation because they barely have enough employees to keep up with present demands.
Modern companies also tend to get hung up on making acquisitions. Rather than beginning new sections and organically growing their capabilities, firms try and buy fully-formed start-ups. Relying on this strategy too much could be a sign that true strategic innovation has stalled, with all the best ideas coming from outside.
Businesses that resist going for simple, one-step solutions such as slashing prices or acquiring new divisions can escape from the plateau and rediscover innovation. Long-term growth and improvement may require businesses to counter their inertia and reject quick wins, even when they seem useful.
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