Innovation is crucial in times of fast market changes. Companies face high uncertainty and tough competition, so innovation managers are under a lot of pressure to make it happen.
When looking at successful companies, it’s easy to forget that they began with very simple missions. Ikea started with a very focussed mission but aims to execute it to perfection. Since opening the first store in Sweden in the 1950s, they didn’t change all that much, choosing to put their effort in higher efficiency, improved design, expanded product categories and opening more stores in top locations.
Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.
Great innovators know how to cut through complexity to clear the way for focussed solutions. Only when you have mastered the basic setup, you should you consider any additions. Keeping in mind that complexity is a killer of growth.
Keeping things simple has many advantages:
- Complex products are made up of many parts and all of them can break down. Simple solutions fail less.
- A simple solution is easier to understand.
- Simple products are cheaper than complex ones.
- Simple products need less development time and funding compared to complex ones.
- Simple products are easier to repair.
Look at the products or services you are developing and ask yourself: “Does it really need to be this complex?” Can I make it easier for users, without losing essential elements”?
Do the same thing for your organisations innovation processes. The simpler the better. Innovative people hate bureaucracy, so don’t force them through it.