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September 22, 2015

How to Innovate: 5 Ways to Eliminate Excuses

Tony Thomas
Vice President, Strategy
ConnectWise, Inc.
How to Innovate in Your Technology Company

Innovation is at the center of a successful business model. Without it, growth and true business success will always be just out of reach. So, how do you continue to innovate and evolve your business? By refuting these innovation-killing excuses before they squash incredible ideas.

Here are a few ways to increase innovation in your company. I walk through some of the most common evasions and share how to negate them. Practice your comebacks so that you can deliver sharp, confident answers that shut down these tired, old excuses.

1. There’s No Time to Innovate!

Don’t have a lot of time to set aside for your employees to pursue innovative thinking? That’s fine, but be sure to steer clear of an all-or nothing approach.

It’s bad because… a company where everyone focuses only on the tasks at hand leaves no room for future growth. Don’t assume innovation can be done without spending ANY time.

So respond with… ideas for creating new innovation habits. If you can’t afford one day a week, can you afford a couple of hours a week? I’m sure you can, but if not, consider incentivized after-hours innovation time.

2. Been There, Done That.

Large or small, most companies aren’t unfamiliar with innovative ideas. Because great minds think alike, the same ideas may resurface over time in slightly different iterations.

It’s bad because… shutting down a great idea before it starts can stifle creativity in the future.

So respond with… probing questions. Is this new idea really the same thing that was proposed the last time? Has anything changed that could make it work better now than before?

3. Experience Required.

Sometimes this phrase is used to defend a tenure-based hierarchical culture, or to keep established companies from falling prey to hasty, rash decisions.

It’s bad because… innovative ideas often come from a fresh perspective. Ignoring the ideas that come from new people can do them, and your business, an incredible disservice.

So respond with… saying no to the status quo. Challenge this theory with a reminder that only adhering to the status quo would have left no room for leaps forward like the first walk on the moon, or the launching of power-house technologies like Google.

4. Innovation Sounds Good In Theory.

Somewhere along the line, it became a common business philosophy that making significant changes in a company is going to take grueling, back-breaking labor.

It’s bad because… passing over an idea because the execution might be tough deflates a contributor’s confidence and silences natural creativity.

So respond with… calls for action. For example, ask for several ideas you have ready and are simply lacking good execution. This tactic will clue you in to the quality of innovation needed.

5. Maybe Later.

Or “let’s focus on this first.” This is a passive disapproval that helps naysayers seem like they aren’t standing in the way of innovation.

It’s bad because… it gives false hope. When ideas never come to fruition, contributors feel frustrated and the message sent to the rest of the company is that sharing new ideas is simply not worth the effort.

So respond with… a test. Is there a running list of new ideas and a timeline for implementation? If not, assign a member of your team to this task and schedule a dedicated time for a comprehensive review.

While this list of common excuses is not exhaustive, it can serve as a great starting point for understanding how to innovate and put a stop to innovation naysayers. By continuously, respectfully rebuffing these negative thoughts you’ll eventually put innovation killers to rest.

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Tony Thomas Vice President, Strategy
ConnectWise, Inc.

Tony is passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation, so he’s always searching for new ways LabTech can help unlock innovation and potential in your IT business.


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