Below is a list of reasons NOT to innovate taken from this article on Linkedin. I tried to let it go but I can’t stop feeling nearly flabbergasted at the suggestion from a thought leader on innovation.
In my opinion, we are suffering from a dirth of innovation in most work environments and social systems. Schools have barely changed in decades. Most work environments actively water down initiatives and ideas brought forth by front line employees. Innovation depends on the cost. That is not innovation in its truest form.
I almost hope this is a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek article but I fear it is not. I simply cannot understand why someone would push the message that there are times when you should not look to innovate.
The author was speaking about innovation in general, non industry specific terms but let’s imagine where craft beer would be if the 21 situations below occurred. Follow along in blue.
21 Situations when you should not innovate:
- When you are sure your market is not changing in the coming five years.
- Yeah, umm where did this mentality leave big beer?
- When your clients are even more conservative than you are.
- We’d all still be drinking macro
- When your old formulas are still giving great risk-free results for the coming years.
- Big beer should be kicking itself in the ass for following this one!
- When brand and line extensions bring you a lot of extra turnover and profits.
- I guess Dogfish, Lagunitas, Stone, etc…should’ve quit thinking up new beer recipes years ago.
- When the urgency to innovate is completely absent.
- You get the 1980s macro beer market.
- When you don’t receive enough money and manpower to do it.
- All of the new breweries going live should’ve just given up on their dream.
- When your company is in a short-term crisis.
- You can’t be serious. There’d be no Dogfish, Sam Adams, Stone, Lagunitas, New Belgium, New Glarus, Blue Moon, Brooklyn Brewery, etc…I think you get the picture.
- When your organization is working at full capacity to meet the current huge demand.
- Sam Adams would’ve stopped at Boston Lager. Oskar Blues would’ve stopped at Dales Pale Ale. Sierra Nevada would’ve stopped at Pale Ale.
- When everybody says: “Innovate!”, but no one wants to be responsible.
- We’d all still be waiting for BMC to bring forth an interesting product.
- When you´re clueless about what you´re looking for.
- Yep. All of those people who changed careers to craft beer were wasting their time soul searching. Sam, Garrett, Jeremy, and Kim should’ve all stayed right where they were.
- When there is no real business need and it’s only nice to have.
- Yeah, we don’t need a larger selection of delicious tastier beer anyway.
- When you can’t form a capable harmonious team that really goes for it.
- Sam should’ve stayed home and curled up in a ball the first time he felt all alone in making Dogfish a reality.
- When there is no support at the top.
- Each craft brewery would still just offer one flagship style.
- When the people in your organization are not (yet) prepared to break their habits.
- Can you say macro mentality?
- When people in your company are lazy; content to copy from others.
- What big beer is up to these days because they adhered to the other 20 reasons not to innovate.
- When the organization doesn’t have any kind of vision about its future course.
- See #1, 2, 3, and 15
- When long term planning means looking three months ahead.
- When everyone fears failure.
- You get flashy new labels and a new commercial for the same 20 year old product.
- When everyone will attack and ridicule the newness of an idea.
- Yeah, let’s bust out laughing and mock all of the guys that brought us interesting new taste experiences.
- When important stakeholders will block it at any time.
- So many craft brewers would still be waiting for a call back from the first bank they approached for a loan.
- When your latest innovations are so successful and still need further exploitation.
- See # 13