The Innovation Formula
Innovation in the SME and Entrepreneurial Context
by Langdon Morris, President, InnovationLabs
There are lots of very good books about innovation, but most of them are written for big enterprises, global corporations and multinationals, and they focus on how to help them deal with big global trends and problems. There are also lots of great books by and about start-ups, especially in the how-to genre.
But to date there haven’t been very many books about innovation and strategy for small businesses, which is why we wrote this one, and we certainly hope you find it useful!
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We all know that no business can remain stagnant and expect to survive for very long in today’s competitive economy. Technologies, market structures and customer preferences are rapidly changing as new trends emerge, and leaders know that every business must respond by adapting and changing, by innovating.
But innovation is difficult to achieve, as much art as would-be science, a domain that is inherently filled with a double dose of uncertainty. For the external forces are themselves uncertain – things are changing, for sure, but not in ways that we can readily predict; hence, we must prepare for the unknown future by readying a wide range of future options, not knowing until even the last minute what we’ll be required to do, or stop doing, as change unfolds and as the future arrives day by day. The second domain of uncertainty is inherent in the nature of the innovation process, where we’re doing something that we’ve not done before in order to create something that has not existed before.
Slightly tongue in cheek, Einstein is reported to have said, “It’s called ‘research’ because we don’t know what we doing,” and this definitely captures to spirit of the innovation endeavor.
And as much as business leaders dislike uncertainty, and they generally loathe it, they also know that when it comes to innovation, they’re stuck with it.
So this is the critical background against which you’re now embarking on the innovation journey. As your guides in this book, our mission is to show you how to live with these inescapable uncertainties, how to reduce the associated risks, and even how to profit from them.
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