According to Scott Anthony, who directs the Asia-Pacific office of innovation consulting and venture-capital firm Innosight, "the seven deadly sins have very clear parallels in the world of innovation, serving as a useful and memorable way to highlight an innovator’s most common mistakes. He highlights those in his recently published book, The Little Black Book of Innovation: How It Works, How to Do It, and shows you how to avoid them.
The sin of pride innovation is forcing your view of quality onto the marketplace, which often results in overshooting. The easiest way to avoid the sin of pride is by taking an external viewpoint to make sure you understand how the customer measures quality. Make sure you are grounded in what the market wants, not what you want.
Envy occurs when innovators inside a company proclaim themselves the chosen ones, and create an us-vs-them relationship between your main business and your new growth areas. Remember, without that core business, there is no corporate innovation. Actively celebrate the efforts and successes of both old and new business areas to avoid the sin of Envy.
Gluttony is suffering from an addiction to abundant resources and leads to overly slow, overly linear innovation efforts. Deep pockets allow companies to spend too many resources following the wrong strategy. They throw bodies against a problem, but everyone knows that small teams typically move faster than large teams.Avoid it by practicing selective scarcity: constrain resources in the early stages of innovation to enable creativity.
Do you fume when someone cuts you off in traffic? Does your blood pressure rocket when your child refuses to cooperate? Anger is a normal and even healthy emotion — but it's important to deal with it in a positive way. Uncontrolled anger can take a toll on both your health and your relationships. Be helpful, friendly, and save the rant for happy hour with your friends.
Are your innovation efforts slowing to a crawl? That's sloth. More often than not, innovation simply takes too long. By the time a company gets around to doing something, the window of opportunity has closed. Why does innovation take so long? It’s not really laziness. It’s that people work on the wrong activities, typically by prioritizing analysis over action. It's all too easy to fill your day with activities that make it feel as if you are making progress tackling a problem.
Avoid it by releasing your inner Edison: "genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration."
Greed has its advantage, but innovators need to make sure they are greedy for the right thing. Greed is sinful when you're being impatient about growth, and can lead to prioritizing low-potential markets and opportunities. If you look for quick growth, you are forced to look to what exists. The best innovators avoid the temptation to go after large, obvious, immediate markets. These people can be patient for growth. They should absolutely be greedy for results that demonstrate that the approach they are following has merits.
Sloppy edits? Half-hearted proofreads? Generally deteriorating editorial standards? In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, we’ve all been guilty of clicking publish a few minutes too soon. Even if you’ve checked these boxes, publishers often skip the most important step of all: optimizing content for findability.
How to atone: Each of these steps in the publishing process is essential. You need writers who proofread their work, editors who adhere to consistent editorial guidelines, and SEO experts who use keywords to enhance each article. Don’t give in to the temptation to slack off at any point in the process — you’ll regret it, and your content will suffer as a result.