“What makes you think that you can solve your new problems with old methods?” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Creatures of habit eventually discover that the habit does them a disservice after a time.
That’s why one of the most popular pages on my Website – and a theme on stage, virtual or in-person – over the last twenty years has been the “Innovation Killers.” You know, that list of the routines that people and organizations fall into on their way into the future!
The page was getting heavily trafficked yesterday for some unknown reason – my weblog analysis software was showing a definite spike. With that in mind, it’s worthwhile revisiting the list!
First, consider the “10 signs you’ve got an innovation dysfunction.” Is this you?
- People laugh at new ideas
- Someone who identifies a problem is shunned
- Innovation is the privileged practice of a special group
- The phrase, “you can’t do that because we’ve always done it this way” is used for every new idea
- No one can remember the last time anyone did anything really cool
- People think innovation is about R&D
- People have convinced themselves that competing on price is normal
- The organization is focused more on process than success
- There are lots of baby boomers about, and few people younger than 25
- After any type of surprise — product, market, industry, or organizational change — everyone sits back and asks, “wow, where did that come from?”
I’ve suggested to my clients in the past that they do a simple test to see if they are at risk of early death due to organizational sclerosis. Share this list and take it into your next virtual call. score one point each time a phrase is used, plus bonus points as indicated.
- “We’ve always done it this way” (3 bonus points)
- “It won’t work”
- “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard”
- “That’s not my problem”
- “You can’t do that”
- “It’s against tradition”
- “It’s too risky” (3 bonus points)
- “I don’t know how”
- “I don’t think I can”
- I didn’t know that”
- “The boss won’t go for it” (5 bonus points)
- “Why should I care?”
- “Rules won’t allow it”
- “Don’t rock the boat”
Score more than 5, and you’ve got an organization that is innovation-adverse.
Score 10 or more, and you are innovation dead. 15 or more, and you might as well close up shop!
Get moving! Do the test!