• Chris Thierfelder

Innovation Really Does Fix Everything

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review gave me the "shocked, but not surprised" feeling that you get when words simply cannot suffice. A survey conducted of 5,000 board members revealed that "Innovation" doesn't fall within the top three challenges of most of these board members' companies.

Look at that chart over to the left. Unreal. And it gets weirder when you consider that "innovation," and, more to the point, having an active and thriving culture of innovation in your company tends to be pretty good at solving problems with competitive threats as well as attracting and retaining top talent.

Regarding talent, top-tier talent want to work someplace where they can be innovative, and there is a strong culture of innovation through the organization that supports them. Innovative cultures are interesting, challenging, collaborative, diverse, and above all, meaningful and that is what attracts talent more than nearly anything else.

Regarding competitive threats, innovation is the only thing that allows firms to compete and win in any marketplace.

Could be innovation in products, sure. Could be innovation in service. Innovation in distribution channels. Innovation in your warranty. Innovation in your partnerships or in the openness of the solutions that you offer. According to Deloitte/Doblin, there are 10 primary types of innovation along with an ever-increasing and changing number of sub=types. Any combination of those will place you over your competition, and will bring in top talent from everywhere to help you. Certain innovations even help with consumer demand lags, materials costs, supply chain, and managing risk.

Innovation isn't exactly a silver bullet--there are a lot of innovative start-ups in the business graveyard--but it deserves to be the #1 priority, because if you get that right, you find yourself solving a lot of other problems, besides.

Maybe if you're board ISN'T concerned with innovation at your firm, you should ask them: "Why not?"

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