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The ABC of Innovation Failure: Why Innovation Initiatives Fail

The ABC of Innovation Failure: Why Innovation Initiatives Fail

Once upon a time learning the alphabet was probably one of the most frighteningly difficult things you will ever have to do. But now as an adult, you might not realize that it even exists. Something similar happens with innovation methodologies and approaches. You need practice in order to build up a routine of how to innovate on a regular basis. In this article we will go through some of the top reasons why many corporate innovation initiatives tend to fail, which emerged as part of our last post and can be seen as the “Innovation Alphabet of Failure”. We thank everyone involved for the great ideas and hope this list provides you a good overview:

A) Lack of management commitment

B) Poor decision making (no strategy, personal beliefs instead of data, fear of failing, …)

C) Low priority for innovation, slow structures, lack of empowerment

D) No dedicated plan/process beyond a venture phase or an innovation process

E) Never underestimate Silo-structures and the „Not-invented-here-Syndrome“

F) Lack of strategic orientation

G) Wrong incentive patterns e.g. keeping the status quo + saving money (at the wrong end) instead of pushing limits

H) Missing failure culture

I) Lack of willingness to take risks

J) Wrong targets and KPIs to measure the success in early phases (e.g. too strong focus on financials)

K) Missing evidence in validation

L) No career development path for corporate innovators

M) No fit between innovation/idea and corporate strategy (might be covered by f)

N) Not enough autonomy for explorative activities (if exploit dominates)

O) Believe that only "cheaper" can be successful as an innovation.

P) Incremental innovations mean less risk

Q) Profit protection over future protection

R) Linear future forecasts and market development based on the past

S) Lack of mind diversity in innovation teams

T) Standards over innovation (even if the current standard means more PAINs than GAINs)

U) Use same organizational structures for innovation & core.

V) No room/time for innovation, new ideas or inspiring conversations - this should be a part of our "daily business".

W) Too focused on current customer needs (and not enough on future ones)

X) Underestimate corporate mud and politics

Y) Not forming partnerships and instead trying to develop everything on your own

Z) No marketing