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Innovation Balancing Act

On June 15th of this year, Nik Wallenda became the first person ever to walk across the roaring Niagra Falls on a 2-inch wire.

After battling wind swells, and thick mist, Wallenda completed his walk crossing from the United States into Canada.

He was greeted by a Canadian customs agent who asked, “What is the purpose of your trip sir?”

Wallenda’s response: “To inspire people around the world to follow their dreams and never give up”.

There are many possible roads to innovation. Successful innovation means defining your own road. Much like Nik Wallenda’s walk across Niagra Falls, some of the best innovations come from stepping outside your own comfort zone and balancing the many different facets of innovation.

The formula for success in innovation is about finding the middle ground, walking the tightrope between risk and innovation; between ideation and value creation. The Innovation Balancing Act.

Successfully managing the process of innovation ensures the outcome results in a superior return on investment (ROI).


It’s safe to say that companies are not naturally inclined to try new approaches without clear evidence that those approaches are likely to work. Like many innovators, you may find yourself struggling to innovate in advance of an anticipated economic recovery, while still working to keep costs down in a decidedly uncertain business arena. To increase initiative and innovation, you have to encourage and even embrace failure. You must have a willingness to invest without ROI assurance (see Innovation is Creativity X Risk Taking).

Keep in mind:

Are you creating the next Hershey’s or Apple?

Ideation/Value Creation

The key to optimizing sustainable Innovation programs is value creation. While the creation of the idea is important, the creation of value for the customer is equally paramount. Adding perceived value to a new product or service will drive ROI. The value proposition is the key to successful innovation.

Customer value can be created through the actual value-added of the new product, once you find that delicate balance between cost, price and return. Balance is found, in part, by seeking stakeholder input and customer feedback during development of any innovation process (see Value Creation).


You can learn more about the above points, including how to protect your ideas, by reading  Robert’s Rules of Innovation. Robert Brands is the founder of and the author of “Robert’s Rules of Innovation”: A 10-Step Program for Corporate Survival, with Martin Kleinman, published by Wiley.

Posted by on November 15, 2012.

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Categories: Business Innovation

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