Have we forgotten that innovation at its core is about creativity? Take creativity and all of its inefficiency and “messiness” out of the process and you won’t be innovative. Timelines, formulas, and stage gates do help guide your progress but relying on them to produce your close-in — let alone breakthrough — innovation will turn your innovation resources into just a cost center. No competent innovation specialist (and most of them are competent) does this consciously. It simply happens inadvertently all too often and dooms the innovation process.