If you have any interest in philosophy, you will have heard of the ethics framework according to Aristotle. You may wonder, however, what that could possibly have to do with innovation. To understand that, however, you must first understand the two key concepts of relevance:
- When we take practical action we cultivate our character.
- We can only achieve true excellence if we first achieve balance.
So how does this apply to innovation and innovation management software?
Practical Action, Character, and Innovation Management Software
What this means is that the only way a culture can be changed, is by actually doing something. That is precisely what innovation management software does. As soon as an organization puts it in place, they are enabling change. Perhaps nobody will use it, but the reality is also that nothing will ever change at all, unless the software is put in place to begin with. The reality is that people like to try new things, if only they are given the opportunity to do so. Put innovation management software in place and make sure you know they can use it, and they will. The practical action is double here:
- Senior management takes action to install the software, thereby building their own character of truly taking an equal approach.
- Staff take action by using the software, thereby building their character as being change agents to their own company.
Balance Is Needed
The second element of Aristotle’s ethics have to do with finding balance. Within the world of innovation, this is about knowing that not all innovation has to be implemented. It has to be relevant first. There are some examples of where the balance wasn’t struck, and things went totally wrong. For instance:
- PwC’s division of consultancy was rebranded in 2002, naming it “Monday”. It took just six months for Monday to receive its “death notice” when it was acquired by IBM instead. Clearly, people are never going to like Monday!
- Coca Cola launched Tab Clear in 1992, and Pepsi launched Crystal Pepsi that same year. The latter lasted a bit longer than the first, but it seemed that neither product was particularly interested. People simply don’t want to drink coke that looks like water.
- Rentokil made a strategic mistake when they acquired CityLink, a courier, in 1993. In 2006, they rebranded it, after which it started to go downhill fast. This was due for a large part to the rise of e-commerce. However, nobody saw it coming that Rentokil would eventually sell CityLink for about $1.50.
Why did those ideas fail? Not because they weren’t innovative enough. Clearly, no company ever embraced the concept of Monday before, nobody ever drank cola in any color other than cola brown, and no other pest control business had ever ventured in the field of couriers before. But just because it was never done before, didn’t make it right. Without a balance between innovative and relevant, there is no point in innovating at all.