The pace of innovation

What's the right pace of innovation?  How often should you introduce incremental improvements, new breakthroughs, and how much can the market realistically absorb?

Yesterday, JD mentioned in a comment that "consumers are more accustomed to a heightened pace of innovation and change" than ever before, inferring that they may be ready to respond more quickly to inovation that could help to turn the market around. 

JD makes an interesting point, and I think consumers' expectations can work in our favor in the current market.  However, we can no longer innundate consumers with new offerings that have little or no additional value just because we can.  Why?  Because consumers will no longer tolerate waste, choosing to spend only on added value.  Rather than taking a buckshot approach to satisfying consumer needs, organizations will do better by taking the time to optimize the value they are offering. 

The pace and type of innovation should become dependent on how well an organization can deliver greater benefits to their consumers, and not on how fast they can make new things.  For example, a consumer may value ease of choosing the right product more than an infinite selection based on slight variation.  Or the opposite may be true.  The only way to know for sure is to understand what it is that makes your consumer tick, and deliver those benefits.

The point here is that the market can always absorb innovation that consumers will truly value.  Think about what is in your current pipeline.  Is every product adding value to your consumer?  It is your job to separate what is useful from what is wasteful.  If your products are not doing well, don't blame the market.  Consumers are ready for a fast pace.  What they will be sitting out is the addition of waste.