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Start a Successful Business (Inc.) by Colleen DeBaise

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DEBUNKING THE MYTH OF INNOVATION

“My idea must be a breakthrough.”

Many people equate the idea of innovation with disruptive innovation. “But the fact is that for most businesses, placing big bets on high-risk ideas is not only unfeasible, it’s unwise,” says Adam Bluestein, a contributing writer at Inc.

On average, the most successful companies devote about 70 percent of their innovation assets (time and money) to “safe” core initiatives; 20 percent to slightly riskier adjacent ones; and just 10 percent to transformational, or disruptive, ones. That’s according to a 2012 report by innovation consultants Bansi Nagji and Geoff Tuff.

Core innovation involves making incremental changes to improve existing products for existing customers—think selling ...

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