Most of us who want to start up a business venture have a finite amount of capital. You have to develop a product/service, promote it, and start to see money coming in. It’s rare to be able to get everything right the first try, so it’s reasonable to expect a few false starts.
Once you are out there in the market, you have to make sure there is an ongoing demand for your product/service, a growing “delighted” customer-base, and a cost base that allows you to re-invest part of the profits on preserving and enhancing your infrastructure.
Most businesses end up either firefighting or manage to get things to settle down to where top management and operational staff have time to focus on innovation.
There is an essential difference in terms of outcome from continuous process improvement initiatives versus continuous innovation. In the case of the former, you reach a state of diminishing returns whereas the latter knows no bounds.
You cannot legislate “innovation” but you can encourage a culture that is supportive of innovation but organizations that are permanently in “firefighting” mode never seem to have any time for innovation.
For more information on clearing away the hurdles to innovation, see my four-part blog series “Managerial Productivity I-II-III-IV at: