There’s an old adage in business: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Yet plans fail all the time. You research the market, crunch the numbers, build a budget, outline the steps, and place them on a timeline. Nice and tidy. And then your plan meets reality in a head-on collision. The market ignores your product, sales don’t hit targets, costs run over, and everything takes longer than it should. Your business dies a quick death and investors lose their shirts.

Why does this happen? Because plans—specifically those involving innovation—are necessarily based on faulty assumptions. There’s no way to predict whether or not the market will embrace a new product, service, feature, or business model. There are too many unknowns. ...

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