Overcoming Common Barriers to Innovation

Innovation is key to business potential and growth. Without new ideas, updates, products or services, a business will slowly die because consumers are looking for the next best thing. Unfortunately, many businesses throw up barriers to innovation and discourage the very thing that can make their business more successful.

Not Acting on Trends

Some businesses fail to act on trends in their industry. This could be due to a lack of knowledge or that they don’t think they need to act. This failure stunts business growth. A way around this is to employ people like David Walsh Bronxville. He saw the internet developing and acted on it by creating the Automated Trading Platform for the stock exchange. If he didn’t notice the trend toward internet automation, we would not have the trading or banking system we do today.

Not Building on What They Know

Companies tend to think of innovation as something completely new. This is not necessarily true. You can build on previous knowledge and still create a new product or service. You can use that prior knowledge to improve what you do now, or you can modify an existing technology into something completely different. Bronxville’s David Walsh did this when he used his knowledge of extranets to create one of the first web hosting companies. He had the knowledge, saw the need and acted on it.

Refusing to Adapt

Many people do not particularly like change. They prefer the status quo because it is familiar. Unfortunately, refusing to adapt to changing markets spells death to a corporation. As technology advances, you have to adapt to keep up with your market. You can change this by studying new technologies and keeping an open mind. Ask yourself, can this technology benefit the company, or can this technology be improved upon to fill a need in my market? If the answer is yes, then look at new ways to use it or improve it.

Ignoring Your Employees’ Ideas

Innovators come from all walks of life and all rungs of the corporate ladder. You never know when a mailroom clerk has a fresh perspective or idea to improve your profits and your company. By listening to suggestions and new ideas from everyone, you develop a collaborative environment. If you continually ignore these ideas, eventually, people will stop trying to improve your business. 

Not Offering Incentives

This is something that many companies do not even think about doing. Offering a reward, monetary or otherwise, for ideas that improve a product, service or practice gives your employees incentive to find new, more efficient ways of doing things. Sometimes this encouragement is all that they need to help you develop the next best thing for your company. 

Stealing Credit

One thing that is extremely discouraging to employees who have an improvement is someone else taking credit for their ideas. This happens all too often with department heads who selfishly want everyone to think that it was their idea and their idea alone. A good innovative company recognizes that ideas come from a team rather than an individual. 

With simple changes and an open mind, you can easily overcome these barriers to innovation. Remember, innovation is one of the key ingredients to business success.

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