Present forward and future backwards: How to frame innovation thinking

“Now more than ever, organizations must be ready to react to the new world emerging around them.” This was part of the introduction to a webinar on innovation I recently attended, and a good example of a popular innovation myth that begs debunking: Corporate innovation is not only about reacting to a new world. It is also about actively anticipating it.

The myth that corporate innovation should focus on reacting to today’s new world comes from the idea that a big organisation can wait and see and jump on emerging trends when others have proven them to be huge, sustainable and profitable. In the old days, this may have been true. But now new technologies are accelerating trends at such a fast pace that it is no longer possible to maintain growth by only playing catch-up. In fact, trying to play catch-up, i.e. reacting, is the perfect way to be disrupted and lose out. And this becomes obvious when looking at some figures from only 10 years ago.

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