Without innovation, the world as we know it wouldn’t exist. The ability to see the potential of making work easier and bringing new ideas to the table has been turning the world for thousands of years. 

Not only wouldn’t there be any smartphones, cars or radios, but there also wouldn’t be any wheels, axes, or even a light to see past the stillness we would all be locked in. Innovation has turned the world for thousands of years by seeing the potential of profit – first in making work easier, later in winning over your competitors and ultimately in financial gain. But coming up with ideas and recognizing them for their potential isn’t always obvious. The past few decades offer all too many examples of those who ruled their industry once, failed to innovate, fell behind and became history as we all saw with Kodak and Blockbuster.

The American photography icon Kodak was royalty in its industry for 131 years. It gave the world its first camera designed for the masses, first black-and-white film, first colored film for amateurs – the list of firsts could go on and on. At its peak, Kodak owned 90% of the US film market and was one of the most valuable brands in the world. That changed in 1975. It was the year when one Kodak employee came up with the idea of a digital camera. The film business was going so well for Kodak that the company didn’t consider it beneficial to promote the new technology and didn’t introduce the idea to the masses. That was the beginning of the end. Sony and Canon saw the gap in the market and introduced their own digital cameras. Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Just because you are successful, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to market needs. 

It is not only success that can hinder progress but also customers’ lack of understanding about the new idea. 

At the intersection of innovation:

Take the holistic turn

It’s not just about new products and services. It’s not just about competition. And it’s certainly not just about showing stakeholders that you are doing something. Innovation has become an inseparable part of every industry and those who are reluctant to see it may end up regretting it very soon. Every company has the potential for new ideas. And although everybody would like to introduce disruptive ideas to the market, companies can benefit from every innovation, even on the smallest scale. Because innovation is about motion and change. And change is life.

Searching for opportunities

Nobody really needed an iPhone, but Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, showed everyone that they did. Or at least that they wanted it. The same goes for cars. No one knew what one was before invention, and horses were perfectly efficient. Now we can’t imagine a world without cars. 


Although it may be challenging to seemingly go against your own business, radical changes come with progress in the world. Technological development, changes in society, professional and personal possibilities for growth, changes in value systems and different priorities in life all shift the needs of the world and with it the needs of customers.  


Another example of a lost opportunity is the American movie rental company Blockbuster. The largest movie rental chain in the US built its brand on thousands of new movie releases, a customer-friendly approach, popcorn and candy. The company didn’t want to change its approach, not even after streaming services such as Netflix emerged. It took only six years for Blockbuster to go from $6 billion in revenue a year to bankruptcy. Just like Kodak, Blockbuster failed to analyze customer needs and adjust to new technologies in time.

"True innovators show customers what they need and want even if they didn’t know it before."  

The new approach

Brainstorming and just throwing ideas around doesn’t necessarily mean doing innovation. Although these methods are part of the innovation process, innovation is rather a long-term mindset that includes observation, communication, analysis and cultivation. The goal of innovation is not only coming up with new products and services and generating value through applying new technologies but also about changing the approach, systematically creating ideas, and testing and implementing 

them as soon as possible to ensure a short time to market. This can be achieved using structured processes and relevant methods. 

During the innovation transformation, the company will surely reach the point where the old processes  just don’t work anymore. Innovation transformation requires a flexible approach, so you might find that the waterfall method you have been using is no longer suitable. The method hinders innovation because of its extensive analysis phase. It takes years before the initial idea is realized, by that time customers’ needs may have changed. You may find that switching to Agile methods significantly improves the flexibility of your teams. The Agile approach is far more effective when it comes to innovation projects – the knowledge is not planned in advance but rather arises from research and experimentation.

We enable leaders

Via workshops we enable leaders and employees in innovation and support them during the iteration until the final idea is just right for the company and ready for implementation.

If you already have innovative processes in place but don’t know how to go further, ERNI can support your innovation team, help you identify new approaches and inspire you with new ideas. You may also use the services of our own creativity factory.  

Innovation is interdisciplinary. 

We can provide you with tools for successful and sustainable innovation. Our experienced 

consultants support you and offer their expertise. 

Innovation is not about products or processes. It works best in an open and transparent corporate culture. We help you find a way to transform your culture into one with an open mindset that leads to successful innovation.

Innovation is not about products or processes. It works best in an open and transparent corporate culture. We help you find a way to transform your culture into one with an open mindset that leads to successful innovation. 


Innovation management


Innovation culture

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