Usually, when people think of innovation it is the antithesis of innovation. Innovation, in most people’s minds, is messy and chaotic–the opposite of comprehensive planning. It is most similar to agile software development, as compared to waterfall. Waterfall just doesn’t work in innovation because you are thrown off course at every turn.
Yes, this is all true. But there are very intelligent ways to work around this fact of innovation. The legendary MVP, minimum viable product, for example, is just one of the techniques to deal with the uncertainty of entrepreneurs.
The more you are able to learn early in the process, the faster and cheaper you can get your innovation on track. For example, you can fix designs, change mock-ups, and do market research quickly without big up front investment.
However, changing a product after it has been launched and fully built is ridiculously expensive.
Take a look at this chart that shows how costs increase over time, while ability to change decreases. At the very outset of a project, before you have invested in anything, is when you have the most flexibility. If you want to be world class at innovation, you need to master this first flexible phase.