Innovation vs. Repetition

If you consider the concept of repetition – doing things the same way for long periods of time for the sake of simplicity and the feeling that repetition is an important part of being successful, where does innovation fit in?

If we are always doing the same thing over and over again, where does creativity come in and how do we get better at what we do?

Businesses need innovation as well as repetition for success. Innovation has to be done with a plan, and it has to be planned innovation. That seems counterintuitive, but you can’t just innovate willy-nilly and expect positive results.

I think the biggest mistake that most businesses make is they don’t do the repetition. Timed repetition is one of the reasons why the organization I founded in 1985, BNI®, is as successful as it is. It is meeting each week, doing that weekly presentation, having a speaker at the meeting, passing referrals every single week. These are all things that are repetitive and create a foundation for success. 

Boredom Is Not a Reason to Change

What often happens with businesspeople is they just want to change stuff because they get bored. Boredom is not a reason to change. Boredom is not a reason to completely change up everything you are doing. You can make a change in an element of what you are doing, but I would urge businesspeople — do six things 1000 times, not 1000 things six times

I recommend that you innovate by trial and error. Try something new in a small test area, then do it on a somewhat bigger scale, then try it in one whole segment of your market. Then, only when you have had those successes do you roll it out company wide.

Innovation takes place through trial and error, not haphazardly. That is a way to incorporate innovation into the structure that already exists. 

Don’t just make changes because change for change’s sake is NOT innovation. Innovation comes through testing and experimentation, trial and error. Change things with a plan and a system and a process to measure results. That is the key. That is the way that you do innovation, not just to change things up and make them different; it is purposeful.

The most successful businesses are the ones that understand that you have to find a system and then follow it consistently. If you want to establish creativity in that system, that’s okay, just do it within the structure and the confines of the system.

I believe in innovation, and I believe in timed repetition and consistency. Then you integrate innovation into that consistency for continued business success.

4 thoughts on “Innovation vs. Repetition

  1. Great advice Dr. Misner! I think Darwin was right when he said (paraphrasing here), ” It wasn’t necessarily the strongest nor the most intelligent of the species that survived, but the ones that were able to adapt to changing environments.”. I believe this is true for businesses as well.

  2. The old saying of chop wood, carry water. Find a process that works and then do it everyday, there will be days, probably many, that you don’t feel like putting in the work, your too busy, too lazy, too tired or too whatever….we just need to keep doing it, (meaning improving yourself, being of service, making your product or service better, communicating with your clients in a meaningful way to make them feel like they matter, etc). I believe this creates success, the repetition is key, you can never let of the gas.

  3. Most needed sharing. Many times this is confused and Innovations are done for the sake of innovating and repetition is shunned as boredom.
    Chapters suffer due to lack of this clarity… As they start innovating rather than following the process and the excuse given is boredom.
    A Very Important blog that every BNI Member ought to go through, amy be repeatedly like the MSP program.

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