Problem solving is what executives in most firms are paid to do. However most of them spend large amount of their “innovation capital” on rectifying poor performance not searching for new sources of untapped value. Unfortunately identifying solutions for poor performance is a result of managers benchmarking and comparing competitors looking for areas where existing performance does not make the grade. Unfortunately this approach is like a professional golfer who is afraid of the “cut” and is always looking to make par. Championships and majors come once that golfer believes that they are better than par. But where does that performance come from, it comes from the golfer doing two things: 1. Eradicating the weaknesses in their game and 2. Identifying and improving their core strengths that give them an edge over their competitors.
And so it is with innovation in business, managers need to free up some of there “innovation capital” to look for opportunities in the areas of the business where things appear to be going ok. That is not to say that closing the performance gap on underperforming areas of the business are not important, but that rich sources of value come from changing the game everyone is playing.