So are we in a trough of innovation disillusionment?

BoredomYou get this increasing sense that the ‘fizz’ has gone out of the innovation bubbly. The innovation party presently feels a little flat; the numerous delicious canapés to choose from are turning up at the edges as we are becoming disillusioned, just being fed on a present unexciting incremental innovation diet, lacking any real substance.

People are milling around with that bored look on their faces, some are also slumped down checking their watch or smart phones on when is the best time to cut out and find somewhere else to be, rather than be here. Has the fizz gone from innovation?

Are we being moved by innovation any more?

Is innovation becoming a boring place to be seen for hanging out and being involved in? Are we all feeling that there is less creative buzz going around? Perhaps, it depends for each of us yet collectively you might agree we do feel something is definitely missing. The excitement has left the room, innovation has become too predictable.

I could blame technology or perhaps just Apple- should I?

Innovations have become the next novelty, entertainment or the latest talking point. Apple has become predictable in their format, their focus on sustaining innovation when we all are craving the next big thing. Perhaps Apple will burst into the room and the innovation party suddenly springs back into life. We need something to lift our moods.

Instead we get innovation that is simply thinner than before, faster than the last model, processors that allow up to multi task with even more capacity, increased memory, we hear this has new architecture, even a new retina recognition device and then we all applaud. “Oh wow”, then some stifle a quick yawn.

Then we quickly check our phones for any message from someone else telling us to” get over here it’s all happening” Nothing, an awful lot of innovation has simply become hype. Nothing seems earth-moving; it’s all getting fairly predictable.

Working to the predictable script is not helping innovation

Yes, Apple and Steve Job are to blame, they set the bar high, yet today Tim Cook likes to run the same ‘event’ parties based on the ‘sustaining’ theme, just like the supply chain, delivering on expected and increasingly the predictable promise. Where has the excitement gone in innovation?

Everyone seems to be playing it safe. The truth is we are all to blame, we have over-hyped the word ‘innovation’ and are under delivering on its potential performance capacity for our real need for some radical redesigns of today’s real challenges – global challenges we must solve to survive, let alone thrive.

We are already in or heading for a trough of innovation disillusionment

Garner Hype Cycle for InnovationWhere is the excitement gone? It all seems down to getting the news first

We are fed rumours weeks before launches on what we might expect that when we get to the big event nothing is surprising us any more. We are witnessing even more incremental creep; we have lost the effect of serendipity, the “wow” factor, the moment something happened that changed our world.

All we get is that feeling, that peer pressure we must upgrade for fear of missing out or to be seen without the latest. We are on an incremental treadmill and we are the mouse turning the wheel.

When you have been weaned on the bottle of excitement, when you don’t get it you feel flat, bored and start to blame innovation as simply “innovation is dead.” No, it is simply not being allowed to really work any more. Much has become totally underwhelming.

Our business organizations are loving the ‘playing it safe’ routine

Over time our organizations are finding increasing reasons to put off the more radical innovation that is needed. Incremental innovation is safe, contains all the risks within acceptable levels, so as it allows the organization to keep its fixation on the short-term as its only line of site (and executive pay-off).

Let others make the investments and ‘we’ can pick them off……hopefully later and we play catch up!” It is funny how a good few are being caught out on this strategy though and are not learning often you never catch up, you just fall further behind. A fast follower strategy is really hard, think Apple actually.

So do we all having this growing feeling of a lack of real innovation?

The proliferation of advanced insights as news, the ability to spread the word in seconds, the ability to line up, pay on-line and receive your shot of instant update makes it all seem a little mundane, a little boring, where is the innovations of past generations that solved real society issues and problems? The instant gratification indulges us but leaves us stuck on wanting more of the same – like the craving for sugar.

We are losing the appetite for adventure, we equally are losing the ability to wait, to speculate, experiment and discover. Innovation is being delivered up on a plate; all we have to do is consume it as long as we can afford it!

This loss of sudden discovery undermines curiosity and excitement

SerendipityInnovation gets exciting when you stumble across something, totally unexpected. Researchers in a lab suddenly make a connection, that changes and often challenges their thinking, perceptions alter.

It becomes “game on”. It all becomes potentially exciting. We work for moments like this or should do. Perhaps we should have a course on serendipity, where we are required to seek discoveries by accident, by learning to listen more to others and their problems so we can make the connections to resolve their problems.

No, lets take out discovery, lets offer up predictability, it takes out fresh learning through experimentation and trial and error. Let curiosity die in wanting to fix something, to figure it out, lets just simply throw it away and buy the latest replacement.

The organizations working on innovation love sequential order.

Sequential order, hierarchies, linear processes all allow for predictability, the ability to see what is coming before you, you can do rational analysis. This type of thinking ensures innovation can be highly planned out, projects can be well constructed and everyone can fall in line and wait their part along the incremental innovation production line.

The mantra of it being “that much better than the last version” makes everyone feel part of the innovation road show and simply take the incentives being dangled like the carrot to deliver on this “exciting” development.

Innovation is simply missing the big picture, we are stuck in revolving doors.

It is all so marginal, we are back checking our clocks, looking to head out of the door, off to do something else. Again the excitement and buzz around innovation seem to be missing.

Why as we are utterly failing to tackle the real big problems of today and that is not “should we buy another smart phone” or what ever we are being fed as innovation, these are societal ones that are racing towards us, needing global solutions and that is one hell of a party to get stuck into.

Slope of EnlightenmentWe need to lift innovation out of this current trough and recognize we have some major problems of the day, that will impact everyone on the planet. Innovation can be one significant key to combine with others that unlocks all the creative and inventive forces this will require.

We all need some enlightenment not the latest gadget. Applying innovation that makes a substantial and radical contribution is the party we all should be wanting to join.

 

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8 thoughts on “So are we in a trough of innovation disillusionment?

  1. Pingback: So are we in a trough of innovation disillusion...

  2. Pingback: There are no easy innovation answers. | Paul4innovating's Blog

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