I think there are and there must be a lot of innovators in the world. Just thinking about all the scientists at the universities, the huge number of promotions and habilitations. Or the frequent claims and visions of huge companies which announce how important they rate innovation. Probably, they really support innovative thinking and spend also huge amounts of money to it. I am sure they find innovative solutions, products and are full of innovative ideas, too…
But often I wonder why it is so hard to really innovate on a large scale and why so often really interesting innovations fail. It is hard to innovate , but it even seems harder to integrate innovation into our daily lives. Just imagine then what it means to change the world by innovation.
One reason is a simple one: it is not the innovators’ main job to make innovations run. It is not their job to “enter” the world. Just as we define it by name: innovation departments and innovators need to produce innovation. Not more, not less.
Have you ever heard about people who help to bring innovation through the ‘internal immune system’ of our societies? We all feel that leaving things we always did is somehow strange, and still worse: it can become a potential risk. What if the new way, the new thing leads us to the nowhere land? Are there people who can prove that it works? What if there are unseen risks coming up? At the end we are going to create a worse situation than ever… And still more: it could disturb us in getting the results we are used to and asked by our boss. Just think of the quotes of a sales rep. He has already enough stress to sell the existing products. Why should he/she now try to sell additionally an innovative product and the success factors are not guaranteed? Isn’t there already enough to do with the traditional product selling? And worse: Maybe the clients will discover problems not solved yet. In the worst case it could be contra productive being innovative…
The innovators are just innovators – they have brilliant ideas, develop pilots, want to show how things can work and how it could look. It is not their main job to bring it to society, to make it known. Maybe they are interested in finding early adopters , but who helps to introduce it on a large scale? Who helps to convince our society and take risks by leaving old behaviors because they are used to?
I wish we would have – besides the innovators and claims for innovation (who and which I really appreciate, do not get me wrong) – also the experts who connect innovation to the daily world. I heard that this might require 7 times more than the innovation itself in terms of resources (financial, time, people). Often this is not calculated and just a few innovations have the right team to make it run across all functions, enter to the outer world, adapt innovations to societies’ need. But I am sure this would help. Like bringing water from the source to where it is needed.
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