5 Tips to Turn Innovation Blockers into Accelerators

November 7, 2023

In my journey through the tech industry, I've come to recognize distinct mindsets.

Some of them are like turbo boosters, propelling us forward, while others function more like roadblocks. During our G2 Live event in Bangalore, I had the fantastic opportunity to share my thoughts on transforming these pesky innovation roadblocks into supercharged accelerators!

Innovation Accelerator #1: Dreaming big while taking baby steps

One of the most common hurdles to innovation is short-term thinking. Sure, prioritizing low-risk, small ideas can feel safe and comfy, like a cozy blanket, but sometimes you need to throw off that blanket and run toward groundbreaking, experimental concepts. Think of it as dreaming of flying to the moon but starting with a paper airplane. Airbnb provides a great example. Their dream wasn’t to provide another lodging option, but to shake up the entire hotel industry! They started small by renting out a couch, and look at them now… Today, Airbnb boasts more listings worldwide than the top five hotel chains combined.

Innovation Accelerator #2: When it seems impossible, stay curious.

Fostering a culture of curiosity is like unlocking a treasure trove of ideas. When team members are encouraged to ask questions and challenge assumptions, it not only accelerates innovation but also creates a sense of ownership and engagement. G2 is a testament to this approach. Despite skeptics claiming “No one will write a B2B review” and ”Software companies won’t embrace transparency,” we asked "What if?" and "Why not?" The result? Nearly 2.5 million reviews and 80 million buyers using G2.com each year.

Innovation Accelerator #3: Combat the internal lens with the customer lens

Focusing solely on internal achievements can obscure the bigger picture, leaving us stuck in old ways. To spark real innovation, we must step out of our comfort zone and see things through the customer's perspective.  Sometimes this means delivering what they ask for in a way they aren’t requesting.  Blockbuster learned this the hard way, missing the customer's need for convenience, and ultimately being overtaken by Netflix — which understood the customer's desire for easy, at-home movie-watching and adapted to become the king of the movie rental industry.

Innovation Accelerator #4: Overcome fear of failure by leaning into action.

The fear of failure can be a major obstacle. It leads to resistance to change and an unhealthy focus on perfectionism, slowing innovation and preventing creativity.  Even more important as a leader or peer, we must be conscious of blocking our co-workers' innovation by fostering fear in the way we provide feedback.  

This narrative resonates  with me on a personal level, particularly as a parent. Coming from a lineage of avid runners, I’ve shared countless runs with my children since their early years. During a race, I noticed tears welling up in their eyes. Fearing they might have sustained injuries, I inquired about their distress, only to hear them confess, “I’m scared I won’t win.”

Inadvertently, I had instilled in them the belief that victory was my expectation, cultivating a fear of failure so intense that they contemplated withdrawing from the race. I gently reminded them that my love for them was unwavering and unconditional, and that the act of trying far outweighed the significance of winning. My words resonated with them, and they persevered, excelling on their respective cross country teams.

Innovation Accelerator #5: Give your creativity permission to thrive under constraints.

At first, scarcity may seem like an inhibitor to innovation. However, my experience has been the opposite. Scarcity often leads to some of the most unique and creative solutions. When resources are limited, it pushes us to think outside the box and devise new, more efficient approaches. A classic example of this is NASA’s development of the Apollo 13 lunar module. Faced with limited resources and time, engineers had to come up with a creative solution to bring the astronauts safely back to Earth, ultimately creating a makeshift device using materials available on the spacecraft.

So, there you have it! Five accelerators that can transform those innovation roadblocks into highways of creativity and success. Let's embrace these accelerators and drive towards a brighter, more innovative future!

5 Tips to Turn Innovation Blockers into Accelerators In my journey through the tech industry, I've come to recognize distinct mindsets. Some of them are like turbo boosters, propelling us forward, while others function more like roadblocks. https://learn.g2.com/hubfs/G2CM_FI778_Learn_Article_Images_%5BTurn_Innovation_Blockers_Into_Accelerators%5D_1480x800_V1a-1.png
Tim Handorf Tim Handorf is a G2 co-founder and Head of G2 Labs. https://learn.g2crowd.com/hubfs/tim-handorf-g2crowd.jpg