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Startup development

The Boundaries of Innovation

by Lindsay Gray, from Quantmbet, on Dec 19
Understanding the importance of the necessity of innovation and inventiveness in a start-up is well known. This global paradigm is as widely understood as the term ‘start-up’ itself.
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So why does innovation seem to be so limited to just the core concept of a business? Why does outside the box thinking seemingly revolve around only a company’s core products and services?

There are of course many exceptions to this view, in the shape of companies across the world where innovation runs through every vein of the company & its innovation facilitators; the employees and founders. This however in my opinion, is the exception and not the rule. Too many companies, founders, employees & entrepreneurs compromise on originality through conformity. The wolves become sheep, or the sheep realise what they were all along.

This conformity is often not a conscious decision & everyone has been guilty of sub-conscious conformity on numerous occasions in their life & career; I am most certainly no different.

Conscious conformity is the other problem & far easier to recognise. The constant lists of what to do/what not to do - articles and blogs, covering situations ranging from business plan formats, to Venture Capital etiquette and everything in between are saturating the internet. Many hold valid points from people who are wise beyond their years, or very old and wise. Many are however, subjective and based purely on limited personal experiences, or a 27-minute research project on another blog. 

As I am sure you undoubtedly know, the importance of the source of information is paramount. Also of paramount importance is sometimes taking the road less travelled, taking a chance, a risk. After all, isn’t that what start-ups are all about?

Intractable problems are as constant as they are inevitable for entrepreneurs and start-ups.

These tough spots and hard to deal with situations, like clinching VC funding with a less than perfect prototype, often lead to seeking out well tried, tested and travelled solutions. Its quicker, easier and ostensibly more prudent, but is it often at the expense of innovation?


Innovatively solving an intractable problem, providing the best solution to a current issue many have, is why most start-ups succeed. These start-up success stories probably make life easier, simpler or less stressful for countless people or businesses worldwide, thus earning their success. So why is it that countless start-ups & entrepreneurs that are trying to emulate this success, either sub-consciously or consciously conform rather than innovate, or continue to innovate?

Is it easier? Is it deemed the ‘smart’ move? Is it in the crazed rush to get to the finish line?

There are times to conform, but more often than not, there are times to innovate. Knowing when to do which may just be the toughest challenge out there for entrepreneurs.

Or to divergently extrapolate, finding the right balance between conforming and innovating may just be the toughest challenge out there for entrepreneurs and businesses worldwide.

Every facet of your budding start-up or multi-national corporation is an opportunity to enact something different. Every component of your business has the potential to do things uniquely. Innovate wherever you can, innovate where you didn’t even think to innovate, innovate even when people are telling you not to. You may just find out that doing things different and doing things right, can be the exact same thing.

Note: Full or partial copy of the publication is allowed only with the direct active link to InnMind platform.

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