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Innovation by Saying “No”

Given that most of the mess we’re currently in was primarily caused by certain financial innovations, perhaps now is a good time to consider whether some innovations really are a good idea.

In my experience a great many so-called innovations are actually nothing of the sort. I’ve even seen products being sold as ‘innovative’ simply because the product now comes with new packaging. If the pack is an oil can that comes with a no-spill pouring spout then this might be true, but most of the time the ‘innovation’ is meaningless and does not satisfy any real need.

Other ‘sub-prime’ innovations in my Innovation Hall of Shame include endless flavor extensions (that usually last less than six months) and pointless new model changes to otherwise perfectly designed products (thanks Detroit).This is a shame because if the word innovation is over-used or wrongly attributed it makes innovation meaningless.Given that we are already suffering from over-choice in most markets perhaps a better idea would be for someone to say no every so often. Heck, I think a great innovation would be for companies that have a VP of Innovation to appoint a VP of No that can veto some of more silly ideas.

Sometimes the best thing that you can do is nothing atall.Actually I rather like the idea of an innovation Hall of Shame. Any ideas about what (or who) should be in it?

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