The Danger of Innovating in a Bubble

Posted by Jon Fredrickson on Oct 2, 2018 11:18:00 AM

If you only look at the data, it would appear that modern innovation is in a very poor state. Despite 84% of global executives saying innovation is important to their organization, nearly every single one of them, a full 94%, say they are dissatisfied with their innovation performance, according to a recent McKinsey poll. Thankfully, innovation is alive and well, mostly thanks to organizations who are willing to take one key step: opening up their innovation efforts to outside partners. 

On top of those sobering statistics, a 2016 KPMG survey of U.S. CEOs found that two-thirds of them are concerned that they are not disrupting the business models. That same survey had one other significant finding: “85 percent of CEOs admit vulnerability about the amount of time they have to spend strategizing about the forces of disruption and innovation.” CEOs are recognizing the importance of innovation, but they are severely concerned with the efficiency of their current innovation strategy as well as the amount of time (and therefore money) they are spending on their pursuit of innovation. 

You Can’t Innovate in a Bubble 

Many of these innovation concerns often stem from organizations that have, over the years, solely relied upon their internal innovation teams, often fostering an environment that is closed from the outside world. When the pursuit of innovation is confined to a bubble, it is often stifled by its own cloistered environment. Innovation, in and of itself, requires new ideas, new approaches, and new voices. It cannot, and should not, be contained solely within an organization.  This creates an echo-chamber where fresh ideas and solutions may not be heard or welcomed. 

This fact is evident within the findings of the KPMG survey, more than a third of CEOs organization’s approach to innovation is either ad hoc, reactive or occurs on a siloed basis. There is a realization among CEOs that they need to break out of their innovation bubble, but far too few organizations are taking the necessary steps to do so. 

Bubbles Stressful Innovation Environment 

When innovation is contained within a silo/bubble/echo-chamber, frustration can set in among research and development teams because they feel isolated in their own world. When this isolation is combined with the fear of failure  only 29 percent feel that their organization is highly capable of creating a safe-to-fail environment — innovators spend more time fearing for their jobs than they do creating solutions that work. 

Breaking Out of the Bubble

Organizations that learn to break out of their innovation bubbles often find innovation success, and more of it, in less time and for less money. The key to breaking the innovation bubble? Open innovation. Open innovation expands an organization’s access to innovative thinkers thousands of times over. Instead of relying on an overworked, overstressed team of internal innovators, organizations gain access to over 400,000 experts spread out across the world, all through InnoCentive’s Challenge Driven Innovation™ platform.  

But this is NOT outsourcing! This is NOT a tool to reduce the number of talented people you hire.  

This is a way to burst the bubbles, take down the silos and silence the echo-chambers. This is a way to define your real problems and find better solutions to give your talented staff members, so they and you have more success! This is celebrating staff members who say, “we too can be Einsteins when we can define our problems and crowdsource answers from the world” like thousands of companies have with InnoCentive.  

To see how organizations have found success by breaking out of their innovation bubbles, read the case studies of some of our clients like AstraZeneca, Thomson Reuters, and many others.

Topics: Innovation Insights, Seekers

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