10 Ways ‘Business as Usual’ Is Killing Innovation

Lack of flexibility is a huge disadvantage. Innovation is the key to success. Here are 10 ways this attitude discourages innovation and hurts businesses.

You confuse innovation with technology

Have you ever heard about a successful company whose business plan reads “invent a technology that will change the world?” Old CEOs would say no, but you can name a dozen.

However, what you can’t tell with precision, is how many companies like this failed miserably. That’s not a viable business strategy. It may be great if you’re experimenting in your garage after work, but if you want to please customers and shareholders, it’s going to ruin everything for you.

So is innovation bad for businesses? Not at all! The thing is, many businessmen confuse technological innovation with innovation proper. While the former is hard to achieve, the latter is easier.

Innovation means doing things in a new, better way. Every company needs to be on the lookout for them, as someone else may discover them first.

You copy blindly

Some companies just don’t want to try something new. Anything that might work is discarded for the sake of things that are proven to work. The things that do work are copied from other companies without a second thought.

This is not innovation, this is following trends. This poor practice is how discounts became largely useless for customer retention except in a few cases.

This is how it happened. Discounts were always a simple way to increase sales. You cut the price, announce it, and people buy more stuff. But so many companies copied the form, not the essence of discount, that it became less effective.

Now, customers know you can’t sell without it, and some even won’t buy from you unless you offer a discount.

Instead, innovative companies solve customers’ problems and use discounts strategically to grow and retain the number of active clients.

You don’t keep up with society

Society changes. In the modern world of technological revolution, we change rapidly. Gen Z is going to be very different from millennials who grew up without the Internet.

All companies understand that, but not all of them act upon it. For instance, big retail companies are now losing their customers to Amazon. They didn’t see the potential that the web gives in their industry, and when Amazon grew from a bookstore to a retail giant, they were caught off guard.

A more recent example is the disregard for mobile internet traffic. There are over two billion smartphone users worldwide, yet some companies do not redesign their websites to be more suited for mobile. They want mobile users to browse the desktop version because they don’t understand how different an experience this is.

You refuse to update workflow

This is such a common scenario. There’s a piece of technology that you don’t even have to invent. Just pay for it and learn to use it.

It may be HR software or smarter email automation. It will increase your company’s productivity by 10-15% but will take a week of learning to grasp.

What do companies do? They hesitate to buy because of inertia. Introducing new software means a period of adjustment and understanding how to change the workflow. Some just don’t want to do it even though they see the benefits.

You don’t have R&D in your budget

Let’s face it. There are very few companies that have profits so big they can afford a really big R&D department. Google, for instance, is building centers around the world that focus exclusively on research and development.

Many companies understand they can’t achieve this no matter how hard they try, so they don’t give a single dime to this cause. We have to minimize the losses, so having an R&D department is not an option.

But this type of thinking means that you either don’t understand that the world can change, or don’t think your strategy can be improved.

This leaves out the little bits of innovation that could make your customers happier and your company more competitive.

You are okay with mediocrity

There’s another reason your company may not think looking for opportunities to become better is necessary. You are okay with being mediocre.

The company doesn’t want to change. It doesn’t want to grow. It doesn’t want to be first.

These companies are too reluctant to try and reach the leading position on the market. They’re okay with being led by others, and can’t be bothered to do anything to improve.

You reject ideas

Millennials are very likely to invest in the business they’re working for. This includes sharing ideas they have for the industry and trying to apply them.

While most ideas from your employees won’t be helpful, you can’t just reject them because you’re a boss. What if there’s the next Elon Musk working for you, and you reject an idea that he will implement himself and drive you out of business?

Not all ideas you reject are as groundbreaking. However, even small ideas on improving customer service from people who work with customers and know the problems from the first-hand experience can help a lot.

You fail to implement ideas

Another way companies kill innovation is by failing to experiment with the ideas they have. An employee tells a manager about an idea he has, the manager finds it fascinating and says we’ll try it once we have the funding.

Plot twist, the funding is never to be found. If you find out that is the case with your company, you have to look for the reason. Do you punish managers for failing while trying to experiment? Do you work in such a tight schedule that you don’t have the free time to try something new?

Whatever it is, it’s killing innovation in your company.

You confuse profitability with being great

This is a curse that touches all companies that saw success. Once a company starts bringing in profits, the management thinks they got the formula now.

But that’s not the case. Having a profit doesn’t mean you’re ideal. It only means you’re slightly better than the others. For now.

Once a competitor that is slightly better than you show up, you can say goodbye to profits. This could have been avoided by trying to innovate constantly.

You run analytics to meet goals, not analyze

Most companies run all sorts of big data analytics. Not all companies do this for the same reason, however.

There are two approaches to data. One is setting a goal, and trying hard to reach it. The other is trying to find a trend, infer a customer problem from it, and solve it with a product.

In the first approach, your goal is to sell the whole stock of a certain product until June. So if your numbers look grim in May, you start a discount to get rid of it in time, so the data looks great.

In the second approach, you investigate the data to understand why people don’t want to buy this product. Is it a seasonal thing? Is it not competitive? Does your audience have no interest in it?

Regardless of the answer, you will be able to bring innovation to your approach to this product.


Being rigid will always spell failure in the long run. Learn from super successful people, open your mind to new possibilities, test ideas that seem to work on paper. This will help you to always stay competitive.


James Riddle

James Riddle

James Riddle is a freelance writer with a passion for new technologies, marketing trends and branding strategies. He is always seeking to discover new ways for personal and professional growth and is convinced that it?s always important to broaden horizons. That`s why James develops and improves his skills throughout the writing process to help and inspire people.
James Riddle

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