Five Instances When More Innovation Might Be Bad For Business
Sales & Marketing

Five Instances When More Innovation Might Be Bad For Business

Kevin Namaky, CEO at Gurulocity Brand Management Institute, training for Fortune 500 brands, lecturer at IU-Kelley, instructor for the AMA.

Innovation isn’t always a good thing.

I know this seems counterintuitive. After all, who wouldn’t want to come up with something new? Innovation can help you take market share, enhance profitability or even create completely new markets to own. In fact, 75% of companies say innovation is a top-three priority.

But more innovation doesn’t always help a business, and in some cases, it can actually hurt it. There’s a tipping point when innovation can get out of balance—when projects are improperly paced and executed poorly. Luckily, there are some warning signs that smart business leaders can look for. These situations are a good indicator that the pace of innovation might be out of balance.

Here are five such cases when innovation might do more harm than good.

1. Not Enough Internal Resources

The people in your organization are a significant resource for executing innovation, and if your people are spread too thin, then they can’t execute with excellence. Consider market research, technical development, regulatory, legal, marketing and sales. Do you have the proper capacity in place to do the job right? Do you need to hire to properly support the current pipeline? Or can you pace the projects in a way that the team can increase their focus?

2. No In-Market Support

If your company can’t or isn’t willing to support the new product or service launch in the market, it’s likely that your innovation launch will fail. Lack of advertising support results in lackluster demand. In my experience, new launches typically require minimum advertising levels over the course of two to three years in order to be successful. Otherwise, you might as well cut the project now and save the money you are spending on development. Too many companies launch innovation without the proper marketing support and then wonder why the innovation didn’t stick with consumers.

3. Overloaded Sales Team

In an attempt to be efficient, many companies require their sales team to sell across multiple portfolios to multiple customers and channels. This can create overwhelm, and they have too much to sell to give any particular launch its due attention. Simply put, if the sales team is spread too thin, you’ll likely have trouble getting the product distribution required for success. Bring focus to your sales team by staffing up and creating focused areas of responsibility. Or reconsider how much you are pushing through the pipeline at any given time.

4. Overloaded Retail Customers

Most retailers are risk-averse, and they can only take on so many new items each year. With limited shelf space and numerous competitors, it’s unlikely they’ll accept any old sales pitch and risk putting a new product in the planogram. If your category is a sleepy one, with minimal innovation from the competition, you might have better success. But if it’s a competitive environment, don’t expect retailers to take many risks unless you are making a very serious investment. Bring fewer, bigger ideas, and commit to promotional support to entice retailers to make that investment.

5. Asking Too Much Of The Consumer

As much as innovators like to think they can change consumers and teach them new ways of doing things, it’s rare in practice. Often, consumers aren’t ready for change and are unwilling to make significant shifts in their behavior. People are creatures of habit, and it helps to either create innovations that align with their desired behaviors or pace innovations out over time so consumers can gradually adapt to new ways of doing things.

Pace It Out

If any of these situations apply to you, consider slowing down your innovation and reallocating some of those resources. Your team will execute better and create better experiences, and the likelihood of a successful launch will go up.

Of course, you want to capitalize on the opportunities in front of you. But be smart about it—do it in a way that maximizes your chances of success and doesn’t waste resources.


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https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/08/18/five-instances-when-more-innovation-might-be-bad-for-business/