Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Is Innovation Necessary for Companies?

I came across this thought provoking article about innovation from the Harvard Business Publishing today. It discusses how useful innovation really is, and whether or not it is ‘overrated’. As Scott Berkum stated

“It's a vague, subjective term that distracts from what you're really trying to do: enjoy your life. Or in the case of a business: profit by making good things.”

His premise is that businesses should not be focused on building the newest and latest, instead they should focus on making the best in class. He provides the example of Google and Apple. Both companies were not the first innovators for either search engines, or touch screen, yet both companies are hailed as being the best innovators from sources such as BusinessWeek. His view is that this is a misnomer and instead they simply are the best at what they do. As he explains

The truth is making really good things is difficult -- it requires a commitment to craft, an attention to detail, and a love for work that has always been rare. And while we'd never call these three attributes innovations, it's the success of creating an organization that rewards these things that leads to the products we often herald, after they're done, as innovations.

Do you agree with his assessment on innovation? If not what is your viewpoint?

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