For my last article for the American Express OPEN Forum I thought I would go out with a bang and attack a controversial topic, something that people are starting to believe as an empirical truth. Something that I don’t believe has to be true.
It seems like most people are starting to believe that it is inevitable that formal innovation efforts begin with high energy and wane over time. And that this is true even if you’ve built robust innovation processes and have strong support for innovation at all levels of an organization.
I must say that what many people are portraying as inevitability is a myth, and falls prey to the age old quote:
“There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”
The reason why we have this myth is that people misinterpret a key artifact of most formal innovation processes as a representation of reality. The artifact in question is that typically when organizations begin a formal innovation effort and start soliciting ideas from their employees or even their suppliers, partners or customers, they get a huge spike in the numbers of ideas at the beginning and then the volume of submitted ideas tapers off over time.