By Steve Hoover

Steve Hoover

“Inventions at PARC are only advancements if they help people.” – Steve Hoover, CEO, PARC, A Xerox Company

Innovation is an invention that solves a problem. It’s also tricky business. In my 21 years at Xerox and PARC, I’ve found three significant reasons why innovations fail:

  1. The innovation itself is not ready OR it does not work.
  2. You have misunderstood the market.  Your invention does not solve a problem in a way customers find valuable.
  3. You don’t have the right business model.

Companies seem to focus solely on the first of these possibilities. However, I’ve found that it’s more common that the second or third reasons are what hinder a company’s ability to bring useable innovation to customers.

On December 4, I joined Michael Krigsman on his CXOTalk series to share my thoughts on innovation and technology. We discussed how human-computer work teams are the ultimate vehicle for success, and how the Internet of Things continues to influence the technology industry. Here’s the replay

So how can companies that struggle to innovate move ahead? My advice is twofold:

  1. Embrace risk. Not because risk is good, but because the reward that comes with solving a problem is valuable.
  2. Innovate in a way that challenges your current business model. New technologies can radically change business models, and if you’re not open to that possibility. Set up space where you are exploring innovation in ways that hurt your own business. If you don’t do that and technology changes your business anyway, you will end up a victim.

What is your advice to organizations looking to innovate? Share your thoughts with us via Twitter @Xerox or leave a comment below.

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