A few years ago the CFO of a client of ours said that he "wasn't a fan of innovation, because innovation was a cost with very little return."
He saw innovation as a gamble - a high-risk tactic made under conditions of huge uncertainty with very little proof of positive future potential. Through that lens and wearing the hat of an accountant, innovation to him was the enemy; something to be discouraged at all costs.
Other company leaders see innovation as a form of speculation. They follow the trends and assume that the positive trend trajectory of the innovation that they have speculated on will continue in their favour.
As long as things are looking good they're fine with innovation, but should there be a break in the direction of the graph - they back away from innovation like it were a burning lump of coal.
Their support of moving forward is conditional on results alone.
Investors in innovation look at it from another angle completely.
They don't see innovation as a quick route to growth; rather they view it as an investment in the future of their business. A slow unfolding of experimentation and understanding-building that enhances the organisation's capacity to constantly improve. They understand that the journey ahead is a long and scenic one and have packed a lot of snacks in preparation for the ride.
Innovation investors have a future-orientated mindset when it comes to how they evaluate their return on investment in the practice, which in today's business world is not as common as it ought to be.
You get three distinct company archetypes when it comes to innovation, which one are you?