FIRE can keep you from getting mired in ‘innovation theatre’

Use this process to reconcile the dual need for new ideas that break ground and new ideas that create value.

I’ve written before about the false promise of innovation theatre— getting caught up in activities that look like innovation, but don’t really add value.

I have said that the antithesis of and antidote to innovation theatre is to define innovation as implementing new ideas that create value. This does create a bit of a paradox, though. If we only work on new ideas that we can implement, and we only implement ideas that are sure to create value, how innovative are we really?

As Oren Harari said, “The electric light did not come from the continuous improvement of candles.”

If we are going to do more than a few minor feature tweaks or product extensions, we are clearly going to have to break some new ground. Breaking new ground means trying some things that might not work and, in fact, some of those things might never see the light of day with customers.


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