Currently, the desire for innovation is almost a survival instinct amongst companies around the world. However, there are certain things one should never do when trying to innovate in business.

Here is a brief list of 5 things you should NOT do when aiming for innovation in business:

1- Fear Failure

Image: Ted.com

One od innovation’s main characteristics is uncertainty, as there is no formula to achieve innovation. The best way to arrive at an innovative solution is by prototyping ideas and testing them; failure is an integral part of the process. Fear of failure will block creativity and, therefore, innovation. Echos’ Business Manager, Mario Rosa, says: “It is fundamental that we step out of the ROI (Return on Investment) mindset in order to step into the ROL (Return on Learning) mindset. In doing this, failing becomes a positive step that enables evolution”.

2- Be Too Attached To HierarchiesImage: Forbes

Innovation is directly connected to the interaction of people in a team. This means that the most hierarchal organisations will be the ones who will struggle most to innovate. An antidote for hierarchy is a leader that empowers people, keeping the lines of communication transparent and open, allowing individuals to step up and contribute with their best attributes. Rosa compares hierarchies to musical structures: “The traditional management model in companies can be compared to an orchestra: there is one person – the conductor – that leads all other people. To navigate our complex market, management should look more like a jazz band, with leadership alternation, independence and complementarity. In jazz, every instrument has its time to shine while other instruments give the background sound to help them shine. In a crisis, the ability to improvise and build collaboratively is fundamental”.

3- Lack Of Diversity In Your Projects

Image: Google Images

Two main components of Design Thinking are empathy and collaboration. Innovation based on design believes that it is mandatory to have different points of views on one issue, as different ideas result in the outcome that is most human-focused. A common mistake in companies is to assign the task of “innovation” to one department and not allow every employee, with any level of seniority, from any department, to pitch in. From interns to CEOs, when we’re talking innovation, the more input, the merrier.

4- Not Investing On Your Team

Image: Google Images

Innovation in a company starts with a mindset shift. When a new concept or solution is created in an environment where an old mindset reigns, innovation will be just that, a concept. Teams have to be capacitated in order to learn different mindsets, to challenge the status quo and to, because of that, be able to put into practice the great ideas they have on paper. The reason many companies struggle to innovate is not directing budget and efforts towards training their teams. A great way to start is by capacitating HR and management, as these two teams will be able to bring back their new knowledge and share with their peers on a big scale.

5- Not Prototyping Ideas

Image: Echos

Here’s a common scenario in companies: a genius idea comes up for a product or a service, something the team believes will revolutionise people’s lives. For months, all departments work relentlessly to get this idea on the market; they create a visual identity, a website, they invest budget, time and effort, they find suppliers, and they finally launch the new next big thing. Product or service launched and – bam! – it turns out this wasn’t such a brilliant idea after all. Prototyping an idea is the fastest (and cheapest) way to figure out its acceptance rate in the market. Does this idea make sense? Does it work? Are people interested in it? Do they like it? Would they buy it? These are questions only prototyping can answer.

* Original article by By Natália De Almeida Figueiredo. Translated and edited by Rani Ghazzaoui.
** Header’s photo credit: Ted.com

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Echos - Innovation Lab

Founded in 2011, Echos – Innovation Lab aims to transform people, organisations and society.

At Echos, we have a “learn by doing” approach, and believe that innovation only happens through people.

Echos’ mission is to foster the new generation of innovators and innovations worldwide.

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