A recent post by Jeffrey Phillips titled Velocity is the Only Innovation Outcome That Matters sparked respectful disagreement inside me.
I believe that when it comes to innovation, veracity is more important than velocity. Let’s look at the definition of the word veracity from our friends over at Merriam-Webster:
1: devotion to the truth : truthfulness
2: power of conveying or perceiving truth
In my opinion it is more valuable to spend time on identifying the right customer insight and the right way to communicate with customers about the solution which you create to serve the insight, than it is to spend the same amount of time inventing faster or launching faster.
In fact your innovation velocity can exceed your innovation veracity as shown in this article.
And many a company has fallen foul of going too fast and thinking an invention will become an innovation when they are ready to launch it, including Microsoft with the Windows Tablet and Apple with the Newton, only to find that customers were not ready to adopt it as an innovation until years later.
Velocity is definitely important, but more isn’t necessarily better. Many times the competitor with a lesser innovation velocity but greater innovation veracity has ended up winning. Look at Apple and the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, etc.
It’s also more important to look for the barriers to adoption than it is to look for the barriers to creation. Innovation is all about value and this is why it is so important to pay just as much attention to value access and value translation, as you do to value creation, because it takes doing all three really well with a solution with real innovation veracity to find innovation success.
Fail to identify a solution with real innovation veracity and you are likely to miss potential elements of optimal value creation, you will likely struggle to make its value accessible, and there is a greater likelihood that you will fail to properly translate the value of the solution for your customers.
So, taken another way, the search for innovation success is a search for truth. You must therefore unlock the inner truths of your intended customers (think unmet needs or jobs-to-be-done), you must search in areas that your intended customers will feel are true for your brand, and areas that feel true to employees given the company’s mission and values. When your pursuit of innovation centers around truth and when you commit to a focused effort to increase your innovation capability – and to pursue Innovation Excellence – then and only then do you have your best chance at innovation success.
What innovation truths are you searching for?
How much innovation veracity can you create?
Braden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker, embeds innovation across the organization with innovation training, and builds B2B pull marketing strategies that drive increased revenue, visibility and inbound sales leads. He is currently advising an early-stage fashion startup making jewelry for your hair and is the author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. He tweets from @innovate.