It easily becomes tempting to use the Innovation and planning sprint as a buffer, I have seen companies do this over and over again. The thought of using the I&P sprint as a buffer resonates strongly with most participants in our SAFe trainings as well.
Sure enough once in a while situation might demand for it to happen and if the need arises by all means inspect, adapt, and respond to the need of the hour. The danger arises when you consistently make this a habit.
Using the Innovation and Planning sprint as a buffer time and time again is detrimental in many ways:
While these may not sound fatal in the short term, it could have a negative impact on creativity and culture at the work place. It is important to make productive use of this time and rally the teams behind ideation activities, sharing knowledge and encouraging exciting new innovations to emerge.