Innovation Veracity is the Key to Success

by Braden Kelley

Innovation Veracity is the Key to SuccessA 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?

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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is a popular innovation speaker, builds sustainable innovation cultures, and tools for creating successful change. He is the author of the five-star book Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire and the creator of a revolutionary new Change Planning Toolkit™. Follow him on Twitter (@innovate) and Linkedin.


  1. Braden’s post sparked yet more respectful disagreement inside me, too! (Isn’t Braden a sweetheart? A nicer soul you could not find.)

    Here’s the thing. Again, I think you can’t be talking about innovation. Veracity? Devotion to the truth? It’s a good thing in general for nearly every endeavor in life. You can’t just throw general truisms out there and slap innovation on top of them.

    I mean, I guess that is kinda par for the course in marketing (e.g., stage gate development tools companies suddenly calling themselves “agile solutions”…it’s the SEOification of the world), but as a guy in the business of starting new companies or reinventing existing ones, hearing this stuff is like chewing on tinfoil.

    Veracity is nice, but many…most…of the people I know here in San Francisco who are starting new businesses are more involved in redefining truth. It is always good to be honest, but innovators (paradigm-shifters) are the ones who march to a different drummer, and that often leads to an entirely different take on truth. It’s not that we break the truth, but in a quest to change the future, we don’t spend as much time focused on today’s truths as others do.

    The truth is, innovators “can’t handle the truth”….so we make it up, and sometimes, when we are very lucky, we find a deeper truth. But most of the time, we discover that we were just lying to ourselves. 🙂

    More on this at

  2. Like this stance more than the velocity one. Just as you, I immediately thought about the ipod and the iphone, of how they did things right, redefining the experience, instead of doing things fast.

    My idea of innovation has always been on solving problems in a great way. The time is rather relative because if your idea is truly innovative(and not just the product of some fashion, fad, etc), it will work regardless of the month you launch it (just don’t abandon the ship of course).

    What you need to do against arriving late is a better communication effort to get your solution to the people that need it. Your additions of value access and value translation therefore ring very true

    For the commenter above, you are correct that staying within the current paradigm will not do. However, the word innovation implies going beyond the current paradigms, no? So yes, it’s all about finding a truth. Your truth of what you want the world to be, and what you want others to achieve. And that’s why veracity is more important than velocity.

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