What’s the Difference Between ‘Plateauing’ and ‘Being Stagnant’?

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In a world where it often feels like original ideas no longer exist, it’s easy to feel like your business has either plateaued or stagnated. The lack of innovation can be somewhat frustrating, especially if you’re the type to want to try something entirely new in the industry.

After all, there’s a difference between a new idea and one that works within your industry. That said, what is the difference between plateauing and being stagnant? How does one differentiate the two, and how would you push your business forward with such knowledge? Here’s a quick dive into the terms and how they translate to potential success for your company.

1) Understanding what it means to plateau

One of the common misconceptions about plateauing is that the business no longer improves. On the contrary, when a company hits a plateau, it levels off and becomes stable. Such stability can be beneficial for any business, especially when you consider the hectic nature of a competitive industry. The ability to improve to the point of plateauing is crucial, as it gives you the time you need to figure out what you can do to make improvements.

One thing to consider is the potential of open innovation through idea management software. Similar to most types of data management software, it’s about taking advantage of a specific aspect of company management to move forward, such as project and team management. In the case of idea management, it’s about getting your staff to collaborate through their suggestions and potential ideas, showcasing the importance of their input and providing incentives to innovate. Idea management can act as the foundation of a company that seeks not only to become stable, but to break boundaries and elevate business processes further in the near-future.

2) Understanding what it means to stagnate

If plateauing is all about leveling off and increasing stability in the industry, stagnation is to slow down to the point where you fail to realize the potential of your business. The aforementioned silo mentality—where you have a private department to think up new ideas for your company—is typically one of the reasons why some businesses suffer from stagnation.

There’s little chance to develop anything new if you don’t take advantage of the ideas of others. Taking ideas from trends and trying to adopt them as your own doesn’t work nearly as well as working together through open innovation. The result is a company that not only suffers from stagnation but also falls into a downward spiral.

3) Learning to move forward from plateauing and stagnation

Naturally, plateauing is far more preferable to stagnating, as it means your business is poised to take the next step. On the other hand, stagnation means you’ll have to pull your company out of the downward slump, which can be a risky endeavor. That said, trying to move forward from both is about taking advantage of open innovation. For those who suffer from stagnation, it might be a good idea to get help from third-party services that can ease the overall burden.

Keep an open mind with regard to your company’s future, and it becomes much easier to maneuver your business through a competitive landscape. While it might take plenty of work, even the smallest step forward is still progress.

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