Base Hit Innovation

Base Hit Innovation is the unsung hero of innovation.  It doesn’t grab the hearts and minds of the thought leaders, headlines, business school cases and conference presentations.

Home run innovation is the killer app, the sensational new toy that sells out, the cool new digital audio player or video recorder that takes popular culture by storm, or the new social networking platform that doubles in size every month.

Its stories are the heroic journeys of power point slides and pep rallies that make us feel individually small and collectively big. Even the strike outs inspire us to go out and swing for the fence because failure is part of the quest for greatness.

But what about someone who spends a morning reorganizing the copy room and as a result 15 people each save a minute each day?  15 minutes a day, 1.25 hours per week, 65 hours a year for a 4 hour investment in time.  More than a 1000% return in the first year alone.

Who’s going to dream about reorganizing office supplies?

Who’s going to write this up in a business journal?  What innovation consultant will put this in their portfolio, include it in their presentations or even notice it on their radar?

Who is even going to give this person the recognition they deserve?

Innovation is both a dream and an everyday occurrence.

But, while the headlines in the morning papers scream about someone who hit two home runs in last night’s game, the number of base hits will be barely acknowledged.

If we’re in the business of innovating, we need the glorious achievements of our home run hitters.

If we’re in the business of delivering sustainable revenues, we need to honor the base hitters and use them as role models to inspire everyone to innovate even if they can’t imagine on a grand scale.

Home runs keep the dream alive.  Base hits do the work. It’s a lot easier to win the game without hitting any home runs than it is to win it without any base hits.

What do you think?

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