Innovation Rarely Occurs From The Inside

For things to change, someone has to start thinking and acting differently. Most of the time, it’s maverick’s who challenge the status quo; not incumbents. For all the talk about corporate innovation going on, truth is there’s not much going on. Most of it is just talk. In the big scheme of things, any story about corporate innovation is truly an anomaly.

Think about it, Wall Street won’t reinvent finance. Hollywood won’t reinvent filmmaking. Venture capitalists won’t reinvent venture capital. Politicians won’t reinvent politics. Universities won’t reinvent education.

Basically, anyone who has a stake in maintaining the status quo won’t reinvent their domain. Why?

Because incumbents have a deep motivation to maintain the status quo, they play to not lose the game. Tradition and their habits have a great pull in their behavior. In other words, existing business don’t want to change the game when they’ve worked so hard just to play in it.

Innovation generally occurs from the outside, on the fringe of change. The most successful startups are started by industry outsiders. People who are not blinded by experience. They can see the absurdities accepted as the norm by experts, and draw on solutions to similar problems elsewhere.

To reinvent you need to not know about limitations or what won’t work. Insiders know the realities on the ground but they take for granted their assumptions of reality as truth. Outsiders don’t know any better and bring fresh ideas and new solutions and bypass the constraints.

Innovation requires a new way of thinking, a new perspective;  this is the power of the outsider. Innovation needs outsiders. People who are not motivated to maintain the status quo, who are not limited by what they know, who are zero gravity thinkers.