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Why Success Can Lead to Innovation Blindness The problem isn't your team or your processes.

By Andrea Olson

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Consider this scenario: A semi-truck has struck a low clearance bridge. It's wedged in and blocking traffic. You call a towing company, and they can't pull it out — it has to be unwedged first. So, you think about a variety of solutions. Maybe call in a team of metalworkers to cut the vehicle out. Yet, you don't want to damage the bridge any further, and getting the team there with the necessary equipment is going to take a few hours. Now a crowd is starting to gather around the scene. Bystanders ask about the situation, and you explain it's just going to take some time to get it unwedged. Then a 12-year-old boy speaks up, saying, "Why don't you just let the air out of the tires?" A brilliant, elegant, and no-cost solution. Why didn't you think of it?

Related: How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

New ideas and innovations are often so obvious, they're actually difficult to identify. They can't be created like widgets, yet many organizations believe that with enough pressure, impetus, and initiative, innovation can be produced. Some companies create cross-functional task forces, or idea competitions to make it happen. Or they hire an outside consultant to help draw out innovation by going through critical thinking exercises. Yet if these efforts actually worked, organizations wouldn't be continuing to look for new methods to address the problem.

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