Innovate or Die!

Innovate or Die! The simple fact remains - if you want to survive - you MUST innovate, or your organisation will become another statistic. What will YOU do in order to survive?

Let’s face it, you don’t want to die, do you?

So, every day, you do things that are going to prolong your life – you eat, you drink, you exercise (or should do!)….the list goes on. The fact remains, from the minute you get out of bed, you start doing tasks that sustain life, mostly subconsciously.

So, if you’re in business seriously, how long do you want your company to survive?

Are you feeding it properly, not only with the right customers, but with the food it needs to grow and prosper, such new innovations and new products?

Look at some of the world’s largest companies, such as Apple, 3M, Google, to name a few – how do you think they got to where they did? Did they grow to the monstrous enterprises they are by just hoping customers would waltz in through the door and buy the products or services they had? Did they think that by being satisfied with what they have, that they would become market dominators?

No chance.

These conglomerates actually encourage innovation within their employees – Google and 3M actually pay their employees to spend time to innovate. In fact, the Post-It note was invented by a couple of 3M’s employee’s using time paid for by 3M to innovate. They played with it for 10 years before they found a marketable use for the adhesive that simply didn’t seem to be sticky enough.

Such a simple thing, and yet how many companies fail to do it.

Some of the largest companies failed because they didn’t innovate. Just look at the likes of Woolworths, Polaroid, Alta Vista, Kodak, Blockbuster, Borders… the list goes on.

Take Kodak – they had products that everyone used, but they didn’t look ahead – their products were made obsolete for them, and now the company is obsolete….

Maybe you’re a bit fearful or anxious about how to develop new products, or innovate? Maybe you’re afraid of failure – that it might not work….remember that failure is an important step in the process of success.  (Get a reality check on your idea)

Every failure brings a company closer to success, if embraced. For example, if a successful product brings in £1m in sales, and it takes 9 failures to achieve each success, each step in the process (including the 9 failures) can be viewed as bringing the company £100k in additional business – a positive way to look at failure!

OK, so to bring it back to earth – maybe you’re not a large company like Apple, or 3M, and perhaps you think that innovation only applies to those types of organisations – you’re wrong.

The simple fact remains – if you want to survive – you MUST innovate, or your organisation will become another statistic.

What will YOU do in order to survive?

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Love this piece. Amazing that these well known organizations have such a strong mandate for innovation, but it’s not that surprising. Idea generation is the key to any success, no matter what field. Like you said, if we become to complacent with the norms we have now, we will not be distinguished in the future and we will fail.

The origin of the phrase “innovate or die” is a matter of some dispute. Peter Drucker famously declared it, though others may have shared in its coinage. But whatever its genesis, the sentiment is now widespread: Stay ahead of the pace of change (which is rapidly increasing) or you’re a piece of toast. If we take Toys’R’Us and Blockbuster. Both were huge companies and enjoyed massive amounts of success. This was all thrown overboard due to their failure to innovate. Leaders became reliant on methods which caused them the least amount of hassle and the two companies did not adapt… Read more »

Bussiness should always estimulate the idea generation process because innovation is a constant variable for companies. In the actual technological times if you are not constantly innovating you may dissapear.

Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher who lived around 500 BC said “The only thing that is constant is change.” This quote is apt for the world that we live in in the 21st century.
Generating ideas is one thing, executing on them is another. When we look at product development as a kind of segment of innovation, for every 70 product ideas, only 10 of those will yield a successful product. A structured innovation process is critical for business to change that statistic, which we’d be more than happy to help out with.

Talk about nostalgia but I remember saying something exactly if not along the lines of this a few days ago. I agree though people must now ask themselves how to make money from my idea? Due to the fact that these days traditional ways are long gone. Otherwise as harsh as it sounds they may as well say goodbye to their jobs or business.

Last edited 14 days ago by Bradley Pallister

Thanks Alex, yes, it’s the harsh reality unfortunately.

New Product development is the key to a company’s success. Innovation will always a partner to any company. If a company will not innovate then consumers will try to look for alternative company that will be according to their taste.

I really enjoyed this article. Indeed companies that overlooked innovation learnt the hard way and I am happy to see you gave so many examples.

New Product development has always lifted companies to greater heights and guaranteed their survival. History has taught us that all too well.

Thank you for mentioning Apple and how well they have done. I never fail to get impressed by their product design.

Companies like Kodak and Blockbuster are victims of not having a problem solution that was tied to emerging trends. They did pay dearly for it. Wonderful article!

I found the part about 3M post-it notes very interesting. They must take their physical product development very seriously.

Any organization without a proper idea generation mechanism is bound for failure. Indeed, we must innovate or die!!!

A company that can create ideas consistently is assured of longevity. Good examples are Apple and 3M like you have pointed out.

Kodak would still be big if they embraced the idea of new product ideas. They are simply a victim of failing to innovate.

For a company to really survive, simply innovating is not enough. They also need to learn the fine art of idea commercialisation.

I wish more people would get to read your articles. It would greatly boost innovation in Cornwall.

New product development in the UK has seen a rise. I guess more people are waking up to the reality of how key innovation is.

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