7 common pitfalls of innovation efforts

Many leaders seek to leverage innovative ideas in their businesses but fail to do so successfully because of several common mistakes.

In the healthcare industry, hospitals and health systems are constantly looking for innovative ways to expand their marketability to consumers and engage technology to help them gain a competitive edge. In the age of consumer-run healthcare, failure to successfully implement innovative ideas can prevent organizations from reaching their full potential.

According to Entrepreneur, leaders will have a better shot at developing and implementing innovative ideas if they keep in mind these following seven pitfalls to avoid.

1. Believing innovation comes at too high a cost. Many organizations retreat from efforts to develop innovative ideas because they perceive the process as too time-consuming, complicated and expensive. However, organizations that invest the time and money into developing a structured and thorough process for vetting and implementing these ideas can create profound returns in various forms, according to the report. Additionally, once an organization understands and becomes acclimated with this process, the generation of creative ideas will become a daily occurrence.

2. Waiting for the organization to grow. According to Entrepreneur, waiting for the organization to reach a particular size is a common mistake, because small businesses often tend to innovate faster than larger ones. With the speed and flexibility that typically characterizes the workings of smaller companies, they are well-positioned to get new products or services to market faster, thus establishing the organization as a market leader.

3. Believing innovation is not relevant to their industry. Many people mistakenly believe that innovation is reserved for technology-based companies. However, any type of business can apply innovative ideas to support revenue growth and strengthen their position in their market.

4. Leaving team members out. Failure to involve the entire team in innovation efforts is a big mistake, as everyone in an organization has difference perspectives and experiences they can lend to the development of new ideas. Many business leaders have a tendency to involve just a select number of people — such as developers or founders — during innovation development efforts. However, employees outside of this core team can offer fresh insights and are not tied down by fixed thinking on "the way things have always been done," according to the report.

5. Not having a system in place for identifying innovative ideas. The most successful business have systems for identifying creative ideas. These systems usually start by finding ways to develop solutions to problems or fill market gaps. Although they are innovative, many of these ideas are "incremental changes, not revolutionary new products," according to the report. To establish a system, identify problems, unsatisfied needs and market gaps and delegate these issues to team members who are best equipped to devise appropriate solutions. Additionally, these activities should be scheduled to maintain the constant creation of new ideas.

6. Failing to fully evaluate ideas before making decisions. Encouraging innovative ideas is important, but it is even more important to fully evaluate these ideas before jumping into action. According to Entrepreneur, when evaluating ideas, it is highly beneficial to incorporate input from people in various areas of the business, including sales, marketing, customer service, product development and manufacturing personnel, as it applies to each organization. Input from consultants is also valuable. The diversity in opinions of ideas helps leaders determine which are the most promising to pursue.

7. Failing to celebrate. Creativity is a fun, exciting way to engage people from across the organization. Additionally, rewarding and celebrating innovation will encourage more innovation and creativity and will help the business grow. Innovation contests, brainstorming sessions and other activities are a great way to encourage innovative thinking and collaboration among employees, according to the report.

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