12 Most Pressing Reasons To Innovate

12 Most Pressing Reasons To Innovate

Feeling antsy about how to grow your business? Hope will certainly not get you to where you need to be, so what’s the next move? Successful business leaders understand that we are in a rapidly changing business environment and the new success imperative for 2012 is ramping up an innovation strategy. Here are a few principles to keep in mind as you answer the question – why innovate?

1. Survival

It’s been said before – companies that are not innovating will not survive. Staying on the cutting edge of your industry requires big thinking and the willingness to think differently. Before your ideas can become a strategic imperative you must transform how you think. Are you a catalyst for change?

2. Revenue

It’s a tough market and indulgence is out. If you want customers to open up their wallet, give them a reason to buy your product. Show them something new – an innovation that adds value to their lifestyle. What do you offer the market that is different from any other company and do extremely well?

3. Competitive Advantage

Look around at what is happening in the business environment – subtle changes will equal subtle growth. If your target market is looking for you, show up where they are looking – yes, be indispensable to improve market position. The nature of competition has shifted and your brand must demonstrate staying power and differentiation. Is your company the “go to” company for innovation and relevance?

4. Crowdsourcing

Stop beating your head against the wall and develop a strategy to tap into the collective creativity and intelligence of the market. A good example is when Pepsi decided to skip the super bowl in favor of a social media campaign to promote their Pepsi Refresh initiative. Generating ideas from outside may stimulate company productivity and performance. How are you embracing collaboration?

5. Possibilities

It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and create an environment where ideas are generated. Stumped? A good place to start is vision. Create a framework around your innovation and take it out for a spin. Conversations around potential and challenging the status quo tend to get the creative juices flowing. Do you know how to wrap a story around innovation?

6. Culture

Innovation from beyond the hallowed halls of R&D is not new; consider that we are in the era of new knowledge which comes at lightning speed, so empower everyone with the responsibility of innovation. Generating diverse ideas from across the company matrix will build trust, passion, and a fantastic opportunity for employees. Now would be a good time to remember that companies are being compared by their innovation initiatives these days – ever hear of the Global Innovation Index?

7. Creativity

Companies with competitive growth trajectories understand how to adapt and they adapt because they have ventured into the creative thinking box with a bit of risk-taking on the side. Individually, the same is true – they have defeated the fear of the failure monster. Are you leveraging your most creative thinkers?

8. Core Values

Employees need to know what values are critical to company success and cognizant
that your personal values are aligned and reflected. The next great innovation could
come from that person down the hall – form a foundation where ideas do more that sit.
What communication processes have you implemented to foster innovation?

9. Capture

Get on the offensive and capture the market; just remember that all innovation need
not be radical. Process or delivery innovation may provide the incremental
acceleration to stay in the game and provide sustainability. What value do you bring
to the market and customer experience?

10. Leadership

Successful leaders understand that they need to set the bar for supporting and generating ideas and innovation. When the c-suite empowers and motivates a culture of innovation you will see a company that cuts through uncertainty with purpose. Does your c-suite reward small wins?

11. Collaboration

To share in success, align teams with an innovation vision, rather than a reinvented wheel. Collaboration can rescue unimaginative thinking or unoriginal ideas. At the end of the day, projects work against budgets and a systematic approach for focused collaboration is a lifesaver. What is your participation roadmap where employees can contribute?

12. Entrepreneurship

Braden Kelley said it best: “Entrepreneurs and innovators share much in common, and successful entrepreneurs are often those capable of transforming useful inventions into valuable innovations.”

Innovation is taking its place back as a key driver for business sustainability and changing the way value is captured. In fact, over the past year, my most dynamic (and memorable) conversations have been with those individuals that have experienced a business breakthrough from innovation. What is one trait that these innovators have? A relentless commitment to possibilities. Would you say that is one of your traits?

Featured image licensed via Stock.Xchng.

LeAnna Carey


LeAnna J. Carey is the co-founder of AuraViva, a mobile health care company, and the founder of The Health Maven, LLC Lea engages industry thought leaders on her blogtalk radio show and writes on current healthcare trends in innovation as editor of Innovation Excellence for the healthcare vertical.

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Every one of those points was excellent, LeAnna. In regards to #1, we definitely need to have an "Adapt or Die" mentality. The world is just too competitive, and we owe it to ourselves to have a certain sense of urgency driving us at all times.

And a "Culture" that encourages and rewards "Creativity" is also an imperative. It is a characteristic that will inspire employee loyalty versus them simply taking a higher paying job to make the donuts (not that donuts are not great ;)).


Great post.. Corporate Innovation is becoming a business necessity. Having been part of Innovation Teams over the past several years the transition that I have seen is "Its cool to innovate" TO "Its good to innovate" TO "The way forward is to innovate" - That's a paradigm shift in customers, organizations and employees... Also, I believe technology, opportunity and access to a wealth of information gives scope for everyone to be an innovator..

PaulBiedermann moderator

Love this post, Lea — and welcome to 12 Most!

You mention that innovators have “A relentless commitment to possibilities.” That is such a great way to put it, and is probably what makes the risks worth it. It is also such an inspired way to live.


My favorite is core values, or rather strong core values. I've never discovered a company that does well without solid core values. Excellent thoughts!


My favorite is collaboration. In fact, I think I'm going to make that my 2012 theme ;)

One thing about innovation: it's impossible to be innovative and boring at the same time.


When I step back I find it amazing that a post on the necessity to innovate is necessary. But in the Real World I know how necessary it is; I've watched companies wither on the vine by not doing it... Nero fiddling you know.

GREAT post!


One trait of innovators IMHO is an insatiable hunger for more. One push of the envelope is never enough and we think there is ALWAYS another way, more to get, surely I can squeeze something else out. For innovators there's an open door and learning never stops.