Innovation: ‘breaks conventions’

Your cover story and editorial concerning the dearth of true innovation (MW January 11) struck many chords. So many companies insist that they want to be market-led with their new product development efforts. In fact to break new ground, to really innovate, the requirement is to be market-leading.

Being market-led implies being led by the consumer – and consumers are bad at coming up with innovations (Henry Ford’s quote: “If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse” springs to mind…)

Market-led automatically implies incremental development within the existing business system. Market-leading, on the other hand, is usually based upon product innovation. It’s non-linear, it breaks conventions, it changes existing consumer behaviour. It’s doing things differently – and doing different things.

True innovation requires cross-functional working in exciting combinations that challenge the prevailing corporate mindset. And, more than ever, it requires a speedy transfer from concept to market, a can-do attitude, and genuine commitment from on high.

David Lowings

Chief executive

42 consulting

Maidenhead

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