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Innovation in Business and Stock Investing (Part 1)

19 December 2007 - Features - Editor

Creative thinking is universally valuable. Executives in large corporations, small and medium business owners, as well as investors of all genres have stocks in discovering new avenues for growth and for delivering value. The path is full of thorns, especially when accountants are around, because so much of innovation appears to be wasteful of scarce resources. Business leaders always search for new efficiencies in their processes of innovation. Some of the most recent thinking on this matter postulates that customer focus and alignment with organization strategy are the best ways to keep research productive and relevant.

Abstract thinking cannot be produced on demand or even in sequence. This must be why many path-breaking concepts are born in isolation, or within organization that do not work for profits. The issue of intellectual property protection also vitiates creative processes in corporations: it does not make sense to work on projects that cannot be patented. Pharmacognosy, which produced classic drugs in the early decades of the 20th century, has receded in to the background during conventional times. Innovation is often associated more with tangible products rather than with brands, services, or processes. This kind of thinking leads to lost opportunities every day.

Straight Jackets of Business and Stock Gurus

Business processes are amongst the most valuable assets of any organization, though they have no places on financial statements. A prime benefit of recruiting people from other companies is to learn about these relatively secret but hugely important processes. Some of the best values of engaging consultants arise from their programs to install new processes in client organizations. The concept of innovation as a process, which straddles all levels and branches or organization, is at least as relevant for stock investment as it is for corporations. A financial advisor may invest very differently from the recommendation he or she makes to clients. Similarly, executives from financial institutions can give entirely misleading statements when interviewed on business channels of television. That is why the recent finding about how creativity should be tightly bottled within the confines of organization strategy and customer feedback, could be humbug!

Adversity is a classic driver of innovation. No stock investor would like to wait for such a situation to develop before getting the creative juices to flow, but everyone stands to gain by studying how organizations extricate themselves from nearly hopeless situations by collective thinking ‘out of the box’. An acutely adverse situation such as a stock market crash or a natural disaster is not appropriate for useful new ideas, because people tend to panic unless rigorously trained to take preventive and contingent actions. However, chronic business stagnation or decline is the kind of environment in which groups of people can show unusual levels of ingenuity.

Innovation in Business and Stock Investing (Part 2)

 


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