Don’t confuse means with ends: Innovation is HOW you will achieve your vision and goals, not the goal itself

by | Nov 15, 2023 | Innovation

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There is a Chinese proverb:

When the sage points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger.


The finger is innovation, the moon is the vision and goals that you’ve set for your organisation.


Is your organisation fixated on the finger, confusing it for the goal?

A key question to discover if the organisation is confused is to ask leaders: Why do we need to innovate?

Common responses that suggest leaders are fixated on innovation as a goal, include:

We want to be known as “innovative”. 

Our customers don’t think we are innovative so we need to be.

This type of thinking can also lead to innovation theatre where organisations become focussed on highlighting innovation activities, using it as public relations fodder. Instead, organisations need to be focused on how innovation activities are helping to achieve the vision and goals.  

Always remember, innovation is the means, it is how you will achieve your goals, not the end-goal. 

The types of responses that leaders who understand innovation say:

We need to be innovative so we can better deliver on the needs of our customers.

We need to be innovative so we can be the best employer, and attract the best talent to work here.

By embedding innovation principles and process in your organisation, you’ll have a systematic way of solving important problems that will help you achieve the vision and goals.

Need help innovating? Contact us.

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