Business Can (Or Can't) Innovate Too Much

Businesses are always told to innovate or perish.  There are companies that have gone through struggles largely because of their lack of innovation and there are companies that might innovate too much.  Rescue A CEO had the opportunity to ask entrepreneurs what is the good and bad of each side of the coin.


Q: Is there such a thing as too much innovation for businesses? 

There may not be a magic formula, perhaps it's just a gut feel, intuition, or even a good ole application of common sense. But too much and/or misguided innovation can and will destroy companies. For instance, spread too fast, outpace your support system (ie, the needs of your clients or the direction of the market) and your resources; and what coulda, woulda, shoulda been industry-defining innovation, will become a silently fading bright idea. Innovate or die, but even too much water can poison you. Timing is everything.

Thanks to Ekc!

Yes, I think innovation is too much of a good thing, especially when it comes to technology (specifically social media). I help my clients with their social media marketing and there is one common thread I see when we work together: they feel overwhelmed with social media and are like deer steering into headlights. They are on technological overload and the supposed social media experts out there feed on business professionals fears. They send out the message: if you want to liked and be an overnight sensation, then you arent anybody if you dont use social media. This is dangerous as NOT every company, market or culture needs to use social media.  Technology (and social media) wont be going away anytime soon, but the attitudes and mindset towards tech/social media needs to change. Social media is just a tool and there is NO way people can keep up with all the latest and greatest innovative internet technology that hits us on a daily basis. You do not have to be everything to everyone and although, Im a big supporter of social media tools/apps, social media is not the end-all, be-all answer to bail out a failing company/brand. Businesses need to stop thinking in terms of instant gratification and realize that the next big innovation that Zuckerberg or Jobs puts out there on the market, while it may helpful, may just be your downfall. Companies need to return to the basics – the human touch – and take their online relationships and networks offline.

Thanks to Therese Pope!

I don't believe there is such a thing as too much innovation; I do believe, nonetheless, line-extensions may hurt a brand's focus and spread it too thin. Google Android is an ideal example of innovation that works. It has gained considerable market share because it is a new brand and business model; Google treats it as a new business. Android was the first application to offer superior smart-phone functionality equivalent (or more efficient, depending on user preference) than the iPhone. I am sure resources are allocated solely for improved functionality and profitability of Android. Gmail also employs a unique proper brand name; with threaded collapsing and expanding messaging, and superior search capability, it does what competitors, Hotmail, Yahoo! and AOL, do more efficiently. Moreover, the unique brand name positions Gmail in the mind of the user almost as a completely separate entity. Google+ however, is a line-extension that is trying to force feed an already failing product, Google Buzz, that has failed to penetrate the market that major social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare enjoy offering unique features.

Thanks to Neal Rodriguez!

Image: Pixomar /


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  1. I don't believe that innovation in and of itself is ever the source of poison for an organization. It's poor implementation, unrealistic expectations placed upon innovations and/or the lack of proper vetting of new directions that can become the downfall of organizations. In fact, innovation is a must for companies, as they have to continue to evolve and reinvent themselves to properly navigate change in the world, their industry, etc. Those that don't, eventually will go out of business. Blockbuster and Borders of today are a perfect example of this…they've ignored the new trends of their industry and now are finding themselves in a positions where their just trying to survive.

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