Should Companies Invest in Innovation or Leaders?

Business leaders pay far too much attention to innovation and far too little to cultivating talented entrepreneurs.

Should Companies Invest in Innovation or Leaders?

Many focus on finding a great idea, creative and innovative, which assures the absolute success of their companies, and they spend their lives waiting for this idea to come. However, others embark on themselves on extremely competitive markets, and even if their resources are limited, they manage to become market leaders. Why?

The leadership of a company can be explained by many factors like their technology, business model, financial muscle, and capacity for innovation among others. However, in a scenario where two companies have an identical business model, strategy, resources, and technology and are competing for the same niche, the only factor behind that explains the success of one or another would be the people or luck. Nevertheless, considering that people are the lucky ones, then they are what makes the difference.

The problem focuses on how some companies invest heavily in innovation, but little in human talent. Without being capable of training entrepreneurs and leaders able to carry out the ideas and objectives of the company, you cannot succeed in today´s market.

While a great idea can generate growth opportunities, it is not enough to make a difference. Fortunately, Success depends not only on brilliant ideas, but great people leading small and big ideas. Consider the case of Wayne Huizenga, who managed to turn business ideas into a garbage collection and a movie rental company in Fortune 500 companies. Surely, these business ideas do not sound very innovative. 

For example, when Huizenga created Waste Management Inc., there were many companies that already did the same he wanted to do, and they did it pretty well. This shows that what is more important is not the ideas, but those who lead them. There are many stories of people who have fallen into bankruptcy multiple times but have managed to come back with different companies in even more competitive markets than they were before.

Finally, should companies continue to focus on investing in innovation, if they do not count on leaders to make from those ideas, great business and growth opportunities for the company. Taking into account that the investment in innovation can result in new products or services, that can eventually be copied and overcome by the leaders of other companies. Conversely, companies should invest in human talent, in order to have employees who can take even small ideas, and make big things.

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