5 Product Innovation Myths

Written by
Frederik Bussler
May 24, 2021

Product innovation is a tricky task. It's something that every company has to do, but it's very hard to do well, as evidenced by the fact that 95% of new products fail. Oftentimes, new products are simply based on what has worked before, with safe changes that are sure to be considered improvements across the board. However, real innovation can drive dramatically greater results.

That said, there are several product innovation myths, created based on a misunderstanding of what it means to innovate. With a better understanding of what it means to innovate, companies can come up with new, innovative products. Here are five of the most common myths.

Myth 1: Innovation means coming up with something completely new

Innovation isn’t always about coming up with something that didn’t exist. 

Innovation can be about creating something new in an existing market. For example, take the iPhone and the iPad. Apple didn't invent the smartphone or tablet markets - they just made devices that were better than the competition.

Apple innovates with every new product, from the Apple Watch to the Macbook, without necessarily bringing about brand new product inventions every time.

Myth 2: Innovation means being first out of the gate

The final outcome of any innovation effort is not going to be determined by who was first to market. The idea is not to be first out of the gate - it's to be first out of the gate and ahead of the competition. 

To do this, you have to go back and look at what your competitors have done, and find ways to improve. If you don't take the time to do this, you might end up with a product that is doomed from the very start.

Myth 3: Innovation means spending a lot of money on research and development (R&D)

Innovation doesn't require a lot of money - in fact, it can be accomplished on a small budget, as long as you focus on developing an idea that fits your company's niche or your customer's needs and wants. 

The innovative power behind an idea comes from understanding what your customers need and how to provide it for them in a way that makes them want it more than anything else out there on the market today

Myth 4: "We've done everything we need to do."

The biggest mistake made by companies is assuming they've done everything they need to do. However, it's important to remember that product development is an ongoing process - one that needs constant refinement and reassessment. 

A fundamental flaw in this thinking comes from failing to take a birds-eye view. One solution is to create checkpoints along the way, where you can reevaluate your product innovation progress along the way and make changes accordingly. 

Myth 5: "We've already established what this product needs."

It's easy to think that we know everything there is to know about our product, but there's always room for improvement - even if the problem seems small. 

For example, if your product is a hair dryer, you might think you've established what the need it is for - but have you considered designing it so it also works as a hair curler? If your product is an alarm clock, you might think you've established how it needs to work - but have you considered adding a sleep tracker into it? Even when ideas are discarded, the process of constant ideation is crucial for successful product innovation.

Product innovation can be done more successfully by considering improvements that seem small at first glance. 


Product innovation is a difficult task - even more so due to the prevalence of these product innovation myths.

We hope these five myths, and their corresponding truths, will help uncover opportunities for product innovation in your organization.

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