Innovation requires a dedication to research, creativity, resources and foresight. Above all, however, it takes courage to accept the risks — to strive for success rather than cowering in fear of failure. In fact, the best companies learn from occasional mistakes. Learning from failure during the development stages of innovation strengthens a company’s capabilities. It creates an understanding of the issue at hand farther reaching and more in depth than that of the competitors which attach to the idea after it has been accepted as a standard. This understanding fosters a more effective use of that innovation as well as a platform from which to generate new ideas with the practical experience of what works and what does not.
Of course, a position on the bleeding edge of innovation presents a set of risks with which all companies may not be comfortable. It requires careful gauging of the advantages of being first against the risks of unproven innovation. This stance is taken before the marketplace has decided which way it will lean towards a solution either not yet openly discussed or the subject of conflicted debate. As with all risks, however, there are ways to mitigate through consistent and thorough investment in research and testing.
The advantages of innovation leadership are as dramatic as the risks may appear. The position enables a company to wield the double-edged sword of innovation, as opposed to being a victim of responding to its strike. It distinguishes an organization, forging a reputation that carries throughout the endeavors of its enterprise. Innovation moves a company ahead of its competitors while nourishing the marketplace. A company’s innovative ideas further enrich its industry, both enhancing its relevance and improving its returns.