Have you ever wondered why with all of the people trying to innovate, more innovation isn’t created?
I’ll give you a hint…
Often, something gets lost in the translation between what people think their customers want and what their real desires are.
Part of the reason so many people fail to innovate is that they fail to recognize that ideas and innovation are not the same thing. Ideas are easy, innovation is hard. For ideas to translate into innovation they must be based on unique insights that unlock new customer value.
In their book The Other Side of Innovation, Chris Trimble and Vijay Govindarajan assert that:
Innovation = Idea + Execution
Successful innovation is based on how effective firms are at execution, and that ideas aren’t as important as execution. But the equation could be better because many companies are good at generating ideas and at executing their ideas, but are still bad at innovation. The problem is not that companies don’t know how to execute, but that they often fail to identify a unique insight that unlocks sufficient new customer value to displace existing solutions.
So let’s modify the equation to be:
Innovation = Insight x Execution
The equation improves by multiplying the two elements instead of adding them because if the insight is not unique or does not unlock new customer value, then even the best execution doesn’t equal innovation.
But even this modified equation doesn’t go far enough. Instead it should be something more like this: