The Cost of Non-Innovation

There’s a story that gets tossed around the water filter every now and then. Could be fact, could be urban legend, who knows. In it, the board members of Blockbuster video are having a conference. One of the topics is an upstart video streaming service called Netflix, who had a bit of a buzz about them.

They discussed Netflix for two minutes. They looked at their previous year’s financial stats in which they earned over $800-million in late fees alone.

They laughed and laughed and laughed. They made another cup of coffee and they moved onto the next point of business.

Look, it might be true, it might not be. What is true, we all know… Blockbuster died a slow and painful death at the hands of Netflix and other streaming services. They went from being a multi-billion dollar global enterprise to a nice little bit of blue and yellow nostalgia.

Why did this happen? Simple… they didn’t innovate. Similar thing happened to the gurus of camera film, Kodak. They completely failed to jump onto the digital camera bandwagon… but more importantly, they failed to lead it.

We can all learn a lesson from Blockbuster and Kodak. No company is bullet proof… but innovation certainly makes us a little bit more resilient. 

Failure to Innovate has Opportunity Costs

In business we tend to categorise everything according to how much it costs. If we want to do something innovative and ground-breaking, we look at the financial burden of it and whether we can afford it.

Today I implore you to look at the costs of non-innovation. The opportunity costs your business will miss if it doesn’t think to the future, be adventurous and follow ideas. Let’s have a look at what some of these costs could be.

Missed Opportunities:

You have an amazing idea. Let’s say it’s for a SaaS App that will shave hundreds of hours off your team’s monthly workload. It’s properly marketable too, so if you do it right and copyright it there’s an opportunity for a generous side stream of income.

But apps aren’t your company’s thing. You can’t afford it. You got too much on right now.

Before you know it, your rival has come up with a similar app and made a truckload of money off it. Suddenly you’re not only playing catch up to try and match the recognition they’re getting, but you’ve probably endured the ignominy of buying their app and implementing it into your workflow.

Ideas are never isolated. They arise out of an industry zeitgeist that in no way is confined to your business. So if you or someone in your organisation thinks something up, chances are someone else in another company will think of the same thing soon.

A leader takes their ideas and innovates around them.

Bigger Margins:

If you’re first into the game with a brand new product, your innovation gets rewarded with bigger financial margins. You’ll hear a lot of people commenting on how expensive Apple products are, but that’s because they are the ultimate product leaders. Think iPhone, iPad and even the trusty iPod… people were or are willing to pay more for these products because they are generally game changers and industry leaders.

It’s not just about margins though. If you run a business that’s focussed on innovation, you foster a mindset that leads to more efficient processes and streamlined operations. You save time and money and reduce team stress.

Team Satisfaction:

This brings us to the happiness of your team.  If they feel they’re in a forward-thinking organisation at the cutting edge of your industry, they’re going to feel pretty good about their position in life. You’re going to have a happy team, and personnel turnover will be reduced.

Why do you think all software engineers would love to work at Google? Why is Tesla such a big draw for anyone in the automobile industry? Companies like those show a massive commitment to innovation, and they attract and retain some of the best employees in their fields as a result.


Innovative businesses are leaders, plain and simple. They lead the way in their industry systems, products and processes, and the benefits associated with this are immense. If you don’t lead, you’re playing catch up with your competitors who decided to innovate.

Do you want to be a leader in team satisfaction? Do you want to enjoy the biggest profit margins? To never miss an opportunity again.

Then innovate.

And if you’re too tied up in your current processes to capitalise on all your good ideas, then Smile IT wants to help you innovate. In fact, we have an entire department dedicated to innovation.

We call it JetLabs.

JetLabs is where we throw ideas around and try to piece together products and solutions that can take our industry forward. We also love to talk with progressive businesses about their ideas and how we can help make them a reality.

Basically, you can outsource your innovation to us. We’ve got web developers, software experts and IT gurus who help you be a leader in your field, and ensure you don’t suffer the opportunity costs of non-innovation.

Why not get in touch for more information?

When he’s not writing tech articles or turning IT startups into established and consistent managed service providers, Peter Drummond can be found kitesurfing on the Gold Coast or hanging out with his family!