Xerox offers a keen example of how corporate innovation and problem-solving can run in cycles, counter to the business cycles that usually define success. When creative thinking is needed most, many companies move toward safe, less-challenging strategies. This story from the July 9 Fortune referenced in a blog across town recaps how Sophie Vanderbroek has revived a culture of innovation, at the place that brought us the computer mouse, Ethernet and countless other technologies. Those inventions became crucial to every business. Now, Xerox is on to "reusable paper" that goes blank at a particular time for another document -- after noticing that 40 percent of paper used in offices ends up in the trash
The quest for uniformity (whether it's predictable earnings, people who think similarly, herd mentality in the industry) is a clear sign it's time to change the status quo. One reason companies don't shake things up is they may be succeeding financially but on the 'slippery slope' to a shortfall of new products/services. Think of pro baseball -- it's July and the All-Star Break -- that too much spent on star players can starve budgets for farm teams and developing internal talent for much less money.
Look to Imaginatik for collaborative solutions, and other ways to tap the collective genius in your organization -- before it becomes a crisis (or your team fails to make the playoffs). For those readers overseas, please substitute "football" for "baseball" and the name of your worst local club for "Cubs."