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INNOVATE

Beware, Common Sense Is a Good Idea Killer

Want to be a disruptor? Then stop with the clichés and start thinking differently.
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A complacent company isn't disruptive. At best, it's slow to change and stuck in the wrong behavior pattern, said Luke Williams, author of Disruptduring the World Innovation Forum Thursday. 

"The only time an organization does change is when they are forced to, when they are backed into a corner and there is no other choice. Everyone likes to talk about Kodak to describe this dilemma, but when people are talking about Kodak, you notice they talk about it as if Kodak was so silly: 'They are so dumb. Why couldn't they change?'"

The trouble is, "every business is a Kodak." 

To keep up with innovation, a business must get quick at spotting trends and reacting to them. But even that isn't always enough, said Williams. Spotting and reacting places an emphasis on predicting trends, which is only getting harder the quicker society evolves. Entrepreneurs and innovators must be provocative in order to be fresh. That is, they need to suspend common sense. 

"Nothing kills a new idea faster than common sense," said Williams. "Common sense is the tyranny of all new ideas."

One way to do this is by removing clichés. Take soft drinks, for example. If you ditch the idea of how inexpensive, tasty, and aspirational they are, you'll be thinking differently. Just think of a product that's pricy, tasteless, and energy boosting. Now you have Red Bull to play with. 

Companies shouldn't be afraid to get creative, because innovation is the interplay of those ideas, Williams concluded.

How do you encourage innovation at your start-up? Share your thoughts with us below. 

IMAGE: Flickr
Last updated: Jun 13, 2013

JANA KASPERKEVIC | Staff Writer

Jana Kasperkevic is a graduate of Baruch College, City University of New York, where she earned a bachelors degree in Journalism and Political Science. She covers start-ups, small businesses, and entrepreneurship for Inc. Her work has appeared in The Village Voice, InvestmentNews, Business Insider, and Houston Chronicle, among others. She lives in Brooklyn.




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