Before I share my three reasons let’s define innovation and give a couple statistics from the Next Generation Manufacturing Study. Here’s the study’s definition of innovation: Develop, make, and market new products and services that meet customers’ needs at a pace faster than the competition. According to the 2011 study, 57% of small to mid-sized manufacturers rated the importance of innovation as highly important for their success over the next five years. Of those same manufacturers, only 12% felt they were world-class (where they needed to be) when it comes to innovation. Clearly, manufacturers know they need to innovate, but many of them seem unsure of the best way to do it.