Innovation Is Overrated

What?!?! Innovation overrated? How could I possibly be so stupid?

Ok, so I’m not totally serious, because obviously innovation is critical and at the core of so many businesses. But I’m sick and tired of CEOs (and then newspaper headlines) proudly declare that “Innovation is the key.” Bezos, Barrett, Fiorna, and so many others. Even when I opened the March 4th blurb in my Daily Drucker (book), today’s excerpt was on innovation.

Every other day a new article comes out heralding innovation – so much to the point that I can see a lot of start up entrepreneurs scratching their heads saying “How in the world am I supposed to innovate amidst everything else I have going on?” In other words, many successful businesses just provide a simple, eloquent solution to a problem and lots of times use existing technology to do it. The key is they assemble what’s already out there in a new/interesting way or simply provide better/faster/more professional service.

In a same-old same-old interview in this month’s Harvard Business Review, there is in fact an interesting tidbit from Michael Dell on why Dell isn’t the typical “invent” company and how a lot of R&D money is wasted.

My sense is that when people think “innovation” they think crazy robots or some cutting edge mind-reading technology. That’s a shame.

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