In the dynamic landscape of modern business, creativity is often heralded as the linchpin of innovation and progress. It’s the magical ingredient that differentiates the ordinary from the extraordinary, leading to breakthrough products, services, and strategies. However, not all organizational cultures foster this vital component. At the heart of such stifling environments, more often than not, lie controlling leaders.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has often spoken about the nature of failure and innovation, especially in the context of his own company’s journey. He distinguishes between two different types of failure: “experimental” failures and “operational” failures.
In the bustling hallways of business, a commonly heard word is “compromise.” Heralded as a necessary tool for successful collaboration, it’s often the bridge that connects differing opinions, resolving conflicts and smoothing out rough patches. But while compromise has its merits, particularly in team dynamics, it can cast a long and ominous shadow on the sacred ground of innovation.
In my last post, I wrote about how experience, expertise, is an enemy of innovation. The illusion of expertise, where years of experience create a mental roadblock to new ideas, can significantly hamper innovation. It doesn’t just apply to people but to groups; called groupthink, which is expert thinking on steroids!
“How come we’ve never heard of you? Everyone who works here has been in the industry for at least 25 years.” I was told this earlier this year by a VP of a company I consulted for. I sensed some hostility from his comment. Of course, I was brought in to help shake things up precisely because this company has been doing business the same way they’ve always done it.
I have a friend owns a restaurant and he organizes weekly meetups, so last week I went and met new people. I usually don’t do a whole lot of networking events, but this time I said ‘why not!’. I met a bunch of people there. But, one contact stood out among the many. Everyone else was there to pitch their stuff, this guy was there to learn and expand his perspective.
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If you look up the definition of the word laggard you get this: Laggards are the last persons or organizations to adopt new ideas, technologies, products, or specific innovations. Another way to describe laggards is by using the word traditionalists; the last to adopt an innovation. They are fixated on the past, on maintaining the status quo.