Myth. While there is no arguing that Innovation provides market opportunity, there are scores of innovative companies that have died, especially in the technology market.
True innovation itself never dies. It eventually becomes part of a different company's patent portfolio and the basis for a lawsuit.
The real power in innovation is when you come up with something that is DIFFERENT than the competition.
DIFFERENTIATING yourself from your competitors is what ultimately gets you noticed -- and purchased! Differentiation is what successful marketing is all about.
It's not such a black and white thing. Innovation is also subject to interpretation and context. Incremental innovations can keep a product or service relevant for generations. Revolutionary innovation for the sake of being new or different can often prove disastrous if the market isn't primed to want or accept it. Astute awareness and rapid adaptation are, IMHO, more valuable for most businesses than innovation. This might sound strange coming from a product designer, but I tend to be grounded in engineering and business. Not that there's no value in doing some truly ground breaking, but the challenge is that there's no precedence to study and no quantitative research to validate your theories. You have to really know your segment and be keenly aware of the risks for failure vs. the potential for success. I really admire those who are bold enough to break with the pack and show the world a completely new vision! For most businesses, however, sustainability lies more in maintaining relevance by continuing to evolve your core products along with your consumers' evolving needs and desires.
Myth. What is being innovated? Does it need innovation? Are there people involved? What is the industry. There's a few more questions that need asking before sharing an answer that makes sense....In my humble perspective.
It's complete fact. If you do the same things as your competitors, deliver your service / product in the same way then the only thing you can compete on is price. Be innovative to develop a series of USPs that will make you stand out from your competition. Then you can start competing on service delivery or benefits. Price will always be an issue, but innovating will allow you to reduce that. Here is a link to a youtube vid i made that takes my point a bit further. http://youtu.be/3-E0tq_7agQ
Innovate and you will live longer
But not that you will die if you don't.
I think it's a myth. It's very well documented that the overwhelming majority of the filthy rich created nothing new - they merely took something very ordinary and executed better than the competition. The Steve Jobs' and Bill Gates' of the world are very rare and the exception to the rule.
The Eagle asks the same question when they are about 40 years old. It turns out that it is no myth for them. Here is the story about the eagle:
How does that relate to the humans and baggage? Innovation may be what is needed to remove the old and grab the new.
It is very difficult to give up good stuff in order to get the great stuff.