Successful Innovators Don’t Care About Innovating

painter-contractorSuccessful innovators care about solving interesting and important problems — innovation is merely a byproduct. If this distinction seems like hair-splitting, it isn’t. The two focuses create vastly different realities.

Focusing on innovating — as a worthy goal unto itself — tends to be born from self-centered motives: We need to protect ourselves from competitive forces. We need to ensure we have a growth engine. We need to keep up with other companies. To do all these things, we need to innovate. This is often a CYA perspective coming from an executive suite looking to protect its turf. It isn’t inherently bad. It’s just that this focus tends to create a culture where customers are on the sidelines, not in the center of the dialogue.

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Doug Sundheim

Doug Sundheim

Doug Sundheim is a consultant and executive coach with over 15 years of experience in growing businesses and helping others do the same. He works with leaders and teams of Fortune 500 companies and entrepreneurial firms to help them maximize their effectiveness. You can follow Doug on Twitter @DougSundheim and find out more about his services at

1 Reply to "Successful Innovators Don’t Care About Innovating"

  • Victor Jeong
    February 25, 2015 (5:02 pm)

    Interesting article. I think hit on the money. I was touring the SEMA show one year and there were several companies that were showing off a product that let your cell phone communicate with your automobile. I spoke with all three companies and said, “Nice toy, if you really want to make it useful make it be able to scan fault codes and clear the codes.”. One company listened to me. The next year they had the “Hottest” new product at the SEMA show and went on to magazine articles, etc..and more importantly PROFITS; because of this “feature” of their product. The competition had to spend their time playing catch up.