While many of your products and services will need to evolve, not every wheel needs to be reinvented. Or, not at the present moment.

In your effort to maintain your competitive edge, you and your team are sure to be brainstorming what’s next. While ongoing innovation is essential for sustainability, you must ensure you are investing your time and resources in the right place—at the right time.

Here are a few signs that it’s not time to move forward with an innovation.

#1 It’s All About a Competitor

While you must keep your eye on the competition, you don’t necessarily need to provide the precise product or service suite that they do. Your signature approach is what makes you stand out from the crowd. Not to mention, it’s not true innovation if the primary intention is to offer a competitive product.

This is a balance, as you need to remain competitive, yet differentiated. As always, focus on user needs and ensure your projects reflect your brand and evolving objectives. Then, conduct an innovation maturity assessment to ensure it’s an innovation worth investing in.

#2 You Are Achieving Your KPIs

Change is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be constant. If your sales are trending up refinements and incremental changes may be the better place to invest your time and resources. So, instead of inventing something new, take a deep dive into your existing data to search for product evolutions.

Focus heavily on direct consumer requests and frequently asked questions. Then, mine your data for consumer habits and trends that shed light on additional problems your existing products can solve—or the demographics you can better serve. Also, conduct user surveys, polls, and revisit the most current market research.

#3 It’s a Flash in The Pan

There are some innovations that can be highly lucrative, but short-lived. Whether you rush to capitalize on a flash in the pan trend will depend on what else you have going on. Asking your team to drop everything and pivot can be jarring. It can also delay projects with long-term and high-impact potential.

Another challenge with flash in the pan innovations, is that when sales begin to decline—you may be tempted to invest more trying to save what you always knew would be short-lived.

Finally, chasing trends may not be aligned with your brand identity, so gather your team to weigh the pros and cons.

#4 The Value is Vague

Before you move forward with any innovation, ensure you are adding end-user value or solving an expressed problem. If the value is vague, your ideation is weak. The better defined the desired outcome, the greater the likelihood of success.

Where things can get tricky, is when your innovation is truly new. Technology is a shining example of ideations that provide never-been-seen-before solutions. For example, the multitude of smartphone accessories. There would have been a time when at-home UV sanitation would have seemed unnecessary. During the pandemic, dual-purpose UV sanitizing smartphone chargers became so popular that many people have one at home and at work.

Creating something truly new is risky, so you must be strategic.

#5 Disruption is the Objective

“Disruption” has become a buzzword that is often used interchangeably with innovation. However, the two terms are distinctly different.

Disruptive ideation introduces something new to the industry or transforms the industry in some way. For example, using Uber instead of a taxi. Or the multiple on-demand delivery apps that provide accessible services far beyond that of a courier.

Innovations are typically an upgrade or evolution of existing products, services, or market norms. For example, gathering data and assessing analytics is nothing new, but how you gather data, what data points you measure, and how you link data points have drastically evolved from even a decade ago.

In the excitement of bringing something new to the market, some teams set disruption as their objective. However, truly disruptive ideas are few and far between. When they are created, it happens organically. If disruption is the objective, you will miss the innovations worth investing in.

#6 Your Lacking Team Buy-In

If the team assigned to bring your vision to life isn’t on board, your outcomes are likely to be lackluster. Before you decide to move forward or not, listen to their “why”. The two most common reasons development teams aren’t on board is that you haven’t clearly defined the value of the project. Or, because they sincerely don’t believe it’s the right fit. These responses are often the result of innovations that come from the top down, instead of collaboratively.

If your team is challenging you, it’s something to celebrate as it will strengthen your innovation program and the outcomes you deliver. Sometimes this means putting off or abandoning ideas.

#7 You Have Higher Priorities

One of the challenges you may be facing is determining which projects to move forward with. There are a variety of factors that will impact your decision, including:

  • Whether you have the team, tools, and resources?
  • How long it will take to develop the final product?
  • How urgent the consumer need is?
  • How many other projects are on the table?
  • Current industry and market trends?

#7 The Timing Isn’t Right

Timing is everything. Let’s say you hold off on an innovative idea because you have a higher-priority project. By the time you circle back, it may no longer be as relevant.

Or your team has come up with something more impactful.

Or your organization is in a time of transition so your team may not have the bandwidth to create.

When it comes to timing, also consider development time. Most organizations aim to have a mix of short and long-term projects under development at the same time. So, if you have two long-term projects underway, a short-term project may be the better fit.

Still Not Sure What Projects to Move Forward With?

If you and your team are still struggling to narrow down your options, we invite you to reach out to Idea Scale. Our technology and unbiased outside perspective optimize and strengthen your in-house innovation program. Let’s get started!

While many of your products and services will need to evolve, not every wheel needs to be reinvented. Or, not at the present moment.

In your effort to maintain your competitive edge, you and your team are sure to be brainstorming what’s next. While ongoing innovation is essential for sustainability, you must ensure you are investing your time and resources in the right place—at the right time.

Here are a few signs that it’s not time to move forward with an innovation.

#1 It’s All About a Competitor

While you must keep your eye on the competition, you don’t necessarily need to provide the precise product or service suite that they do. Your signature approach is what makes you stand out from the crowd. Not to mention, it’s not true innovation if the primary intention is to offer a competitive product.

This is a balance, as you need to remain competitive, yet differentiated. As always, focus on user needs and ensure your projects reflect your brand and evolving objectives. Then, conduct an innovation maturity assessment to ensure it’s an innovation worth investing in.

#2 You Are Achieving Your KPIs

Change is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be constant. If your sales are trending up refinements and incremental changes may be the better place to invest your time and resources. So, instead of inventing something new, take a deep dive into your existing data to search for product evolutions.

Focus heavily on direct consumer requests and frequently asked questions. Then, mine your data for consumer habits and trends that shed light on additional problems your existing products can solve—or the demographics you can better serve. Also, conduct user surveys, polls, and revisit the most current market research.

#3 It’s a Flash in The Pan

There are some innovations that can be highly lucrative, but short-lived. Whether you rush to capitalize on a flash in the pan trend will depend on what else you have going on. Asking your team to drop everything and pivot can be jarring. It can also delay projects with long-term and high-impact potential.

Another challenge with flash in the pan innovations, is that when sales begin to decline—you may be tempted to invest more trying to save what you always knew would be short-lived.

Finally, chasing trends may not be aligned with your brand identity, so gather your team to weigh the pros and cons.

#4 The Value is Vague

Before you move forward with any innovation, ensure you are adding end-user value or solving an expressed problem. If the value is vague, your ideation is weak. The better defined the desired outcome, the greater the likelihood of success.

Where things can get tricky, is when your innovation is truly new. Technology is a shining example of ideations that provide never-been-seen-before solutions. For example, the multitude of smartphone accessories. There would have been a time when at-home UV sanitation would have seemed unnecessary. During the pandemic, dual-purpose UV sanitizing smartphone chargers became so popular that many people have one at home and at work.

Creating something truly new is risky, so you must be strategic.

#5 Disruption is the Objective

“Disruption” has become a buzzword that is often used interchangeably with innovation. However, the two terms are distinctly different.

Disruptive ideation introduces something new to the industry or transforms the industry in some way. For example, using Uber instead of a taxi. Or the multiple on-demand delivery apps that provide accessible services far beyond that of a courier.

Innovations are typically an upgrade or evolution of existing products, services, or market norms. For example, gathering data and assessing analytics is nothing new, but how you gather data, what data points you measure, and how you link data points have drastically evolved from even a decade ago.

In the excitement of bringing something new to the market, some teams set disruption as their objective. However, truly disruptive ideas are few and far between. When they are created, it happens organically. If disruption is the objective, you will miss the innovations worth investing in.

#6 Your Lacking Team Buy-In

If the team assigned to bring your vision to life isn’t on board, your outcomes are likely to be lackluster. Before you decide to move forward or not, listen to their “why”. The two most common reasons development teams aren’t on board is that you haven’t clearly defined the value of the project. Or, because they sincerely don’t believe it’s the right fit. These responses are often the result of innovations that come from the top down, instead of collaboratively.

If your team is challenging you, it’s something to celebrate as it will strengthen your innovation program and the outcomes you deliver. Sometimes this means putting off or abandoning ideas.

#7 You Have Higher Priorities

One of the challenges you may be facing is determining which projects to move forward with. There are a variety of factors that will impact your decision, including:

  • Whether you have the team, tools, and resources?
  • How long it will take to develop the final product?
  • How urgent the consumer need is?
  • How many other projects are on the table?
  • Current industry and market trends?

#7 The Timing Isn’t Right

Timing is everything. Let’s say you hold off on an innovative idea because you have a higher-priority project. By the time you circle back, it may no longer be as relevant.

Or your team has come up with something more impactful.

Or your organization is in a time of transition so your team may not have the bandwidth to create.

When it comes to timing, also consider development time. Most organizations aim to have a mix of short and long-term projects under development at the same time. So, if you have two long-term projects underway, a short-term project may be the better fit.

Still Not Sure What Projects to Move Forward With?

If you and your team are still struggling to narrow down your options, we invite you to reach out to Idea Scale. Our technology and unbiased outside perspective optimize and strengthen your in-house innovation program. Let’s get started!

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