Exnovation: Another Side Of Innovation

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Once a product has been developed well and accepted by the consumers, do we need to keep tinkering with it and try improving it further? Well, the principle of exnovation advises against doing so. And there are, obviously, valid reasons for that.

Too much of anything is bad; for business and for anything else as such. Innovation is not an exception. Obviously, you cannot keep innovating the same product or process repeatedly. Not for the extended period. Therefore, we need to talk about the other side of the innovation coin—exnovation!

You may have barely heard of the word exnovation. The earliest usage of this term was observed in 1981 when John Kimberly referred to “removal of innovation from an organization.” In 1996, A. Sandeep provided the modern definition of exnovation as the philosophy of not innovating. In other words, ensuring that best-in-class entities are not innovated further.

However, exnovation still has not become common parlance, at least in the intended way.

Why exnovation

The basic definition of exnovation is self-explanatory and quite simple per se. However, why do we need it is still a question. Especially if we are comparing it with the continuous innovation paradigm.

When should you call it a day and stop continuous innovation? And, of course, this itself demands a balanced strategy.

But, let me assure you that exnovation is not about refusing innovation in the company. It is about channeling it and narrowing the process down over a period. For example, you may be soliciting innovative ideas from almost everyone initially. It is the phase of exploration where quantity over quality matters. This is when you want everyone to think innovatively and contribute their ideas.

Exnovation is not about refusing innovation in the company. It is about channeling it and narrowing the process down over a period.

However, once you shortlist a few ideas to implement and the execution starts, there is no need to get more of the same ideas again. Moreover, once the changes are made, a new product or process is introduced, and the innovation has been implemented, it is time to reap its benefits. At this stage, colluding tried and tested outcomes with some more new ideas does not make any sense. It only delays the payback.

This is the stage when the focus must shift to exnovation. Earlier, you may have encouraged people for being more innovative. However, you must also encourage them to comply with the newly established product or service process. Then only the innovation that you implemented will result in profitable returns.

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