Innovation Is Dangerous

One of the interesting things about corporate innovation departments is that if they are doing their jobs correctly, then they should feel dangerous to the rest of the company. An innovation group which does not have a goal of actively disrupting the main business of the company is likely not doing its job.

However, make no mistake, this group is NOT as a threat to the rest of the business, but as the womb which can birth new businesses, which can grow into its place, it’s more like its salvation.

Actually, that’s a pretty good metaphor: innovation groups birth new businesses with an eye to eventually replacing the parent business. They become the parent business, and the cycle starts all over again. So yes, the innovation group is a threat to the main business, but in a good way.

If we understand that businesses, like human beings, have a finite slice of time in which to be born, live and die, a business without an innovation group or program is like royalty with no heir: it’s the end of the line.



  1. [...] that list for some reason – maybe they suck, maybe your competitor is doing them, maybe they aren’t innovative enough for you. But I also bet that you are worried that if you go back to your employees (ahem – [...]

  2. […] Interesting set of ambitious ideas, but I still sense that Paul is holding back the best from this list – sure a new search engine, or replacing this or that entrenched service is ambitious – but is it truly innovative? One could argue that Google Wave was one such innovation – and look at what happened to it. Maybe he is holding back the truly scary ones, because as we all know, innovation is dangerous… […]