Over at Business Week, Bruce Nussbaum suggests that the growing backlash against innovation in the media is really a backlash against companies that falsely attempt to portray themselves as innovators. Time and time again, this happens, as companies like Ford Motor Company realize that their underlying business models are somehow flawed, and start grasping at straws as they attempt to prop up their sagging stock prices. So, these companies - prodded by their marketing departments - start talking a mean innovation game, only to find out that it's a lot harder than it sounds:
We've all been hearing it--"Innovation is over." "Design is over the top." "Everyone's talking innovation so it's becoming a meaningless term." The truth is that the backlash is against the fad of innovation, not the fact of it. The backlash is against CEOs who get up and shroud their companies and their reputations in the rhetoric of innovation while continuing to sell out-of-date, poorly designed products and services. Consumers know this is fake and realize that the talk about innovation is not authentic. Indeed, CEOs who use innovation as a brand fad do deep damage to their brands.
As Bruce correctly points out, "the hard work of building an innovation culture is only just beginning in corporations. It will take a generation, just as the quality movement took a generation to build." With that in mind, he points to an article from fellow Business Week contributor Reena Jana, who highlights a few efforts afoot to bring an end to the innovation hype and focus on the real fundamentals of running an innovative business. Reena's article is a must-read for anyone serious about innovation. (You'll see, too, that I've added Bruce Nussbaum to the list of "The Fittest" on my blogroll. Welcome, Bruce, to the Darwinian world of Endless Innovation where only the most innovative survive!)