What if Innovation Isn’t Enough
Are they really changing the paradigm here, or are they just moving furniture
The word “innovation”. It’s everywhere. Like oxygen, bad jokes, fake news, Tiktok silliness, and Zoom. It’s like a form of extreme tourettes to which it seems, there is no cure.
Innovation!! Oh, sorry. It slipped ou…Innovation! Damn! I didn’t mean t… Innovation!
I’ll see myself out.
Business is infatuated by it, which is fascinating because to the best that I can discern, it doesn’t really know what it is. Oh yes, there are meandering definitions buried in exotic vision statements, product road maps, annual reports, and lots of enthusiasm in hallways and at conferences.
Like I said: Tourettes.
Never fear though, because you know what? It’s not enough anyway. Not remotely, not unless you like toothpaste lasagna.
The planet and all her people are in a time of change like no other. The term ‘Digital Darwinism’ — coined way back in 1999 by Evan Shwartz — is defined as a time when society and technology is evolving at a pace that businesses can’t naturally adapt to.
Yet Schwartz was really just thinking about the first waves of truly widespread Internet when he wrote that. He could not have begun to imagine the scale of the web as we now know it or the rise of mobile, or how mind-blowing the impact of the cloud has been on society and business. I haven’t even mentioned social media yet! Nor the bullet train revolution of our consumption behavior and brand expectations.
We were hurtling along at breakneck speed for well over a decade, ever-increasing in pace, and then came COVID-19. Just think about THAT for a second. We were already in 5th gear, foot to the floor. Along came a virus, and we found 6th, and then 7th.
My point is that innovation is great if you live in 1982.
If you are a genuine growth strategist in the 2020s, a brand owner, a marketer, or you know what — you just want to be an effective leader — then one of my biggest recommendations right now is this: Do some reading on the study of futures.