Overcome Innovation Lethargy – Teach the World to Fish

Overcome Innovation Lethargy


Innovation efforts around the world often fall short of expectations, leading to dissatisfaction and mediocre results due to Innovation Lethargy.

To address this issue, the innovation ecosystem must embrace rigorous concepts and practices to drive impactful innovation with improved outcomes.This new article explores the challenges faced in innovation management and proposes five factors to enhance professionalism in this field, avoiding Innovation Lethargy.

Five factors avoiding Innovation Lethargy

Clarity on What We Mean by Innovation

A common language and shared understanding of innovation are essential for promoting rigor and value creation. The evolving ISO56000 definition emphasizes novelty and value, encompassing various aspects such as products, services, processes, and models. Adopting common definitions and proven methods for innovation management is necessary to develop a holistic response to opportunities.

A Holistic View of Innovation Management

Innovation Management (IM) involves overseeing, executing, and coordinating innovation activities from aspiration to commercialization. It encompasses the development of a vision, strategies, policies, objectives, and processes. Importantly, IM goes beyond ideation and includes the entire innovation lifecycle, from idea generation to implementation.

Seek Tangible Value

Successful innovation requires mastery, coherence, and capability. Organizations need to master essential factors such as accepting innovation-led growth, choosing a balanced portfolio, discovering actionable insights, evolving business models, accelerating development, scaling innovations, extending external networks, and mobilizing motivated individuals. Research show that high performers demonstrate mastery in multiple essentials, leading to superior results.

Overcome Our Tendency Towards Failure to Scale

Scaling innovation is crucial for maximizing its impact. However, many companies struggle to scale their ventures effectively. Successful scaling requires ambition, a clear path to scale, identified options for acquiring needed assets, adaptive teams and organizations, and anticipation of key trigger points. Understanding the critical differentiators and following a rigorous scaling path can enhance the chances of successful scaling.

Seeking the Professionalization of Innovation Management

IM is evolving into a profession, and it exhibits attributes that define a profession. Prolonged education and training, specialized domain knowledge, regulatory associations promoting best practices, and a demand for innovation management services contribute to its professionalization. Recognizing innovation management as a profession can lead to greater standardization, expertise, and industry-wide recognition.

Prescription for the Future

To overcome innovation challenges and foster a culture of innovation, organizations must focus on organizational discipline, a well-conceived innovation management ecosystem, and the promotion of innovation management as a profession. This includes accepting international principles, executing innovation management and its scientific methods, enhancing capabilities through apprenticeships, and avoiding excessive regulation and risk aversion.


By embracing a shared set of concepts and practices, the innovation ecosystem and its practitioners can overcome innovation lethargy and achieve sustainable innovation success. Establishing clarity on innovation, implementing effective innovation management practices, generating tangible value, addressing scaling challenges, and recognizing innovation management as a profession are key steps towards ‘teaching the world to fish’ and fostering a true culture of innovation.