Innovation in business: is it really necessary?

Innovation in business: is it really necessary?

When it comes to innovation in business it’s often a buzzword that’s thrown around along with descriptors such as critical, necessary, crucial etc. Yet, there is an argument to be made that innovation in business is not always necessary and in fact could be damaging! In this blog we’ll take a look at innovation in business and explore whether innovation is really necessary, or not.

Do you need to innovate?

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Let’s explore when innovation is helpful and then we can explore when it’s not.

Top instances innovation is helpful

Innovation can be helpful for a wide range of reasons and can be a key component of long-term business success. However, there are two important drivers of innovation that are more important than the others.

Long Term Survival

Disruption is very real and it can completely resurface how businesses operate and we have seen plenty of examples of how very established business models failure is traced back to innovation and disruption; blockbuster & netflix, taxi’s and uber are just a couple of recent examples. Innovation can be essential for long-term survival in business today.

Competitive Advantage

Competitive Advantage

Fast paced industries and businesses often require innovation to create a competitive advantage. It’s why we often see tech companies working furiously to develop new and innovative approaches to existing products and problems. Innovation is often a necessity to create competitive advantages today in these types of industries.

Top instances innovation is unnecessary and (potentially) damaging

For every business and industry where innovation is essential, there are other businesses and industries where innovation can hurt more than it helps. Here are two types of businesses where innovation may hurt more than it helps.

Stable Market

Stable Market

There are plenty of businesses and products where innovation simply isn’t all that necessary. Something as simple as the paper towel or toilet paper are great examples of stable markets that need and require little to no innovation. In fact, trying something new here is as liable to cost money as it is to make money.



With change comes risk and we do a disservice if we don’t consider that innovation can carry some serious risk. There are a number of examples where companies try to innovate and fail badly. Those innovation failures can lead to serious business losses and potentially catastrophic business consequences.

The verdict: is innovation necessary?

As the Doc likes to say with all things, it depends. There are businesses and industries where innovation is essential and there are circumstances that require businesses to innovate or fail. There are also plenty of instances where it doesn’t make sense for a business to innovate especially if the market is stable and lucrative. Ultimately the decision to innovate shouldn’t be automatic and, as with all decisions, it should be made carefully and with all due diligence. 

Does your business require innovation?

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