Innovation may be the most sought-after quality in the business world today. Every corporation craves a culture that celebrates and implements the new ideas that spark growth and create industry-leading products or services.
But wanting to foster innovation and actually fostering innovation are two wildly different things. Many corporations talk a lot about innovation, but it takes real dedication and a comprehensive strategy to make innovation a reality within a company.
A common misconception is to equate innovation with ideas. While innovation starts with ideas, the recognition of which ideas are worth pursuing and the execution of those ideas is actually equally important.
History is littered with examples of companies that had transformative ideas within their grasp, but never recognized their worth or never executed those ideas effectively. Famous among them is the story of Xerox, awash in copier profits in the 1960s, failing to recognize the importance of what their own staff had invented — the world’s first personal computer.
Xerox’s innovation was not the problem; their problem was a lack of recognition. They gravely underestimated the importance of what they had created. Of course, that innovation was later picked up by Apple and IBM, and both companies turned the personal computer into billions of dollars of sales and an almost universally adopted product that changed the world.
Similarly, Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975, but shelved it because it would have competed with their film business. Fast-forward decades later and Kodak was declaring bankruptcy while competitors like Canon and Sony were flourishing from the digital photography boom.
So how do businesses avoid the fate of Xerox or Kodak, and generate, nurture and implement new ideas?
Read the rest of the column at rgj.com.
John Solari is the managing partner of J.A. Solari & Partners. He has 25 years of accounting experience and is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants.