Save yourself time, money, and frustration by avoiding these mistakes when developing new innovation strategies for your company.

Because corporate innovation is complex, we breakdown these top mistakes into smaller subcategories to address some of the nuances involved with business innovation. In the following post, we specifically address “Fear of the Unknown” and how it can prove detrimental to a business’s innovation strategy in the long run.

Mistake #1: Fearing the unknown

Many execs think they are ready for new innovations, but when it’s time to implement a new process, or when a project comes along that’s ripe for experimentation, their actions show that they fear the unknown.

Corporate innovation by its nature enters unchartered territory—if not for the industry, then at least for the company itself. How can you tell if you are holding back innovations due to fear fear? You’re probably making one or more of these mistakes:

Not providing adequate support

We know innovations involve risks, whether it be a test run for a new internal process, or the development of an edgy product or service.

Consequently, execs may be inclined to hedge their bets by providing only the very minimum of funding, staffing, or time.

However, not providing adequate support can doom the project from the start. Innovations take investment. Being smart about investing isn’t the same as being stingy.

Narrowly defining success

New projects, products or services that aim to break the mold can’t be held to the same standards of success as those already tried and tested.

Fearing the unknown” often takes the form of fearing to think differently or being “too creative” in your management style.

That’s not to say that budgets and performance reports should be ignored, but innovations do require new ways of measuring success aside from, for instance, profits or customer buy-in. What other ways? Lessons learned, improved team collaboration, and ideas for the next iterations to start with.

Seeing mistakes where there are opportunities

Innovators value learning in the long-term more than results in the short-term. Everything they do is a chance to observe and learn, no matter if the intended result differs from the actual result. Mistakes are opportunities to discover what you could not have expected, because again, innovations are about discovering the never-been-done-before. Consider some of the breakthroughs that were developed after innovators made mistakes and regarded them as an opportunity for learning.

This process eventually lead to: penicillin, x-ray technology, pacemakers, post-it notes, microwave ovens … all created after the innovator “failed” during their original projects.

Fear of the unknown is one of several top mistakes that hinder innovation strategy. In our next installment, we’ll discuss how “Knowing Customers Too Superficially” and “Going Too Fast” can also negatively impact an organization’s overall innovation strategy.

Need help with your innovation strategy? Talk to our experts today about your needs. Let’s Talk!