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Business - 3 min read

The term “innovation” gets tossed around a lot these days. It shows up in blog posts, speeches, articles, and memes. Is it just a catchword? Is it used merely to get our attention and then direct us toward something else?

There’s a good reason we’re hearing this word so much. We are living in a time of change, alteration, revolution, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis and breakthrough (by the way, this is a thesaurus-generated list of synonyms for the word innovation).

But let’s talk about misconceptions about innovation. What is innovation not?

It’s the Same as Creativity

There’s a big difference between creativity and innovation, but sometimes these words are used interchangeably. Creativity generates ideas, yes, but innovation requires that those ideas actually get implemented successfully. Creativity is thinking about a way to deliver a product over the Internet; innovation is actually making it happen. Additionally, creativity can be low-impact. I can be very creative in my personal sketchbook, but my personal sketchbook is not going to change my community at large. Innovation changes things.

It’s Limited to a Select Group of People

Sometimes people get the idea that innovation happens in labs by a select group of people in lab coats. Sometimes that’s true. More often than not innovation happens out in the field or on the shop floor. Innovation is about making your company efficient, sustaining, and disruptive. It can be the result of the efforts of any person in your organisation or the efforts of a group of people who work together to make important changes.

It’s Big and Loud

Innovation often happens in increments rather than in large changes all at once. A steady push toward innovation means that you’ll make baby steps toward something that may appear to be big at some point, but the process will likely be slow, steady, and incremental. Have patience, but keep trying for greater efficiency, bigger markets, and loftier goals. Evolution, not necessarily revolution.

It’s Expensive

The truth is that innovation doesn’t have to cost anything at all. Yes, some kinds of innovation can be costly, but many innovations simply require a change in the way you operate. If your business can’t afford to innovate through new technological systems or expensive marketing, try innovating with changes in management structure, changes in the tone of your branding and content, and even changes in the way sales reps talk to prospects.

It’s Not Relevant to My Business

This may be the biggest misconception of all.

It’s important to remember that innovation is not the sole domain of tech companies. Any kind of organisation can benefit from innovation. It’s what keeps businesses flexible, agile and poised for growth. Whether your business builds robots, groom’s pets, installs windows, or sells insurance, consistent innovation is one of your most effective tools.

Don’t buy into these misconceptions. Keep your business growing and thriving with a consistent focus on innovation.

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