Authors warn that Innovate or Die mantra may be wrong

Innovate or die is a mantra repeated by all but is it true. Getz and Robinson warn us that this may not be the case. Let’s take a bit of hindsight

Innovate or Die? Beyond Deceptive Appearances

Innovate or Die? Beyond Deceptive Appearances
Innovate or Die? Beyond Deceptive Appearances. A fundamental piece, well worth a few bucks for it could save you millions

Seneca, the Spanish-born Roman philosopher, statesman and dramatist once wrote “Ducunt volentem Fata, nolentem trahunt”, which means “Fate leads the willing, and drags the unwilling”. Does that mean however that the “innovate or die” mantra is true? Isaac Getz and Alan G. Robinson are answering a resounding no to that question.

In their mind, the innovate or die motto has made too many companies believe in what they call the jackpot mentality, whereby consultants claim that disruptive innovation is the only approach that’s worthwhile but in actual fact never delivers on the promise.

Innovate or die
Innovate or perish, really?

Getz and Robinson believe that the innovation jackpot should always give way to sound, down-to-earth work with employees and clients, idea nurturing and management (entitled SMI, System for Managing ideas) and continuous improvement.

A bit radical, but this article is expressing a few important and universal home-truths. Don’t forget to read this article before embarking on an innovation venture. To buy this article click here.

Abstract – Innovate or die, is that a fact?

Getz and Robinson — 2003

Innovate or what?… One more time

‘Innovate or die’. This mantra has been repeated so many times – by the media, governments, business leaders, business professors, consultants and management gurus – that people have come to assume it is actually true. This article explores why business leaders have been so prone to fall for such a misconstrued message, and shows how it has caused them to overlook the true sources of long‐term high performance.

Abstract available here

For your benefit, here’s the beginning of the introduction to this piece.

Introduction

“In October 2002, as it does every year, the French daily Le Monde published the rankings of French corporate R&D budgets and held a special event to celebrate the biggest spenders. This year the winner, at €5.1 billion, was EADS, an aerospace consortium, followed by Aventis at €3.5 billion, and €Alcatel at 2.9 billion.

The media is not alone in hyping this kind of ranking. Governments do it, too. In 2002, for example, the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published its twelfth annual R&D Scoreboard. Other governments track the same data in their own countries. Why?

The reason is the cherished dream of corporations and governments – a dream of innovation with its promise of success and riches. As the DTI R&D Scoreboard put it: ‘Innovation has been highlighted as the origin of growth in free-market economies and R&D is a key investment in innovation since it leads to new products, processes, and services’ (p. 3).

Although the report immediately backtracks and comes close to questioning this latter assertion (‘It is, of course, only part of the investment in innovation since investments in capital equipment and in the development of new markets, systems and skills are also important’ (p. 3)), it then carries on blithely about its business of displaying R&D budget data under the assumption that it holds the key to everything.”

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To buy this article click here and it’s well worth a few bucks

Yann Gourvennec
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