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An Over Emphasis on Innovation?

by Hank Barnes  |  March 14, 2017  |  3 Comments

Technology is all about innovation.  It is almost impossible to find any tech or service provider that does not tout their ability to innovate. Innovation is exciting, new and different.

But is innovation the key to success for tech companies?    I’m not sure.

Source: unsplash.com (Emily Morter)

Source: unsplash.com (Emily Morter)

Innovation certainly plays a role, but buyers don’t always want what new.  In fact, in our recently updated Enterprise Personality Profile research (Gartner clients can read the report here), our findings illustrated a continued reality–only roughly 25% of the enterprise population views their approach as being dynamic in terms of technology motivation, where they are truly open to new, different technology.

This is consistent with market adoption models that highlight that only a small percentage of the market adoption comes from innovators and early adopters.   The money is in the mainstream.

How do you get to the mainstream?  Proof.

Provide proof that the innovation works.  That it delivers value.

Provide evidence of how to be successful.

Show customers everything you wrap around the technology to make their life easier.  (Its that whole product thing again).

Don’t get me wrong, innovation matters, but maybe it is time to put a bit more emphasis on results and realities vs. theoretical possibilities.   With that proof, adoption can accelerate (and we see compressed adoption curves).

Don’t just talk about being innovative.  Talk about the path, and the proof) to results.

Proven results…maybe that is the innovation that really matters.

Category: go-to-market  

Tags: adoption  enterprise-technology  innovation  whole-product  

Hank Barnes
Research Vice President
4+ years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Hank Barnes provides research and advisory services on go-to-market strategies for technology providers. He focuses on issues related to positioning, storytelling, the technology customer life cycle, and customer experience. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on An Over Emphasis on Innovation?


  1. Anil Patel says:

    So true. Still majority businesses are working on streamlining and automating their Order-To-Cash workflow. Like you said, about 75% business need value innovation and not the technology innovation.

  2. Dave Brock says:

    Great post! As you imply, perhaps our view of what innovation is, is to narrow. We tend to associate innovation with technology and new products. We forget about new approaches, methods, processes, value enablement/delivery/realization.

  3. Gordon Hogg says:

    We are in love with our products and innovation. The average buyer has other things on their minds. Like will it work well, will our employees be able to use it without frustration, be reasonably priced and not make me look like an idiot for wasting the companies money on a crappy product. Proof minimizes the possible failure. I love the fact that you and Dave continue to address real issues that should concern tech vendors.



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