Three Surefire Ways to Kill Any Innovation

There are all sorts of ideas. And those who have visions should con­sult a physi­cian, as Hel­mut Schmidt once said. After all, the most impor­tant thing is that the busi­ness runs effi­cient­ly, and wild ideas only get in the way of that. If they nev­er­the­less haunt your orga­ni­za­tion, here are three sure­fire ways to kill any inno­va­tion right from the start.

You have to be run by ideas, not by hierarchy.

Steve Jobs

Check Responsibility

For each new idea, the first thing you need to do is check whether the per­son who puts it for­ward is autho­rized to do so. Or if he sim­ply gets involved in things that are none of his busi­ness and for which he is not qual­i­fied. Where would we get if every­one could come up with wild ideas and dis­turb the actu­al work?

Should the idea turn out to be usable despite the fact that some­one had it with­out a prop­er assign­ment, please check next who is real­ly respon­si­ble for this idea and its imple­men­ta­tion. Tidi­ness is a must! Only ideas that are prop­er­ly anchored in the orga­ni­za­tion have any chance at all. The next point helps you tremen­dous­ly with this check.

Check with Everyone

A camel is a horse designed by a committee.

For every good idea, there are always dozens of depart­ments in large orga­ni­za­tions that are the­o­ret­i­cal­ly or prac­ti­cal­ly affect­ed by it and with whom this idea must be coor­di­nat­ed. Be sure to check where some­one else is already doing or plan­ning some­thing dis­tant­ly sim­i­lar. Make sure that you gen­er­al­ize the idea already at this ear­ly stage! Make a thor­ough analy­sis of all poten­tial stake­hold­ers. And do not neglect the com­mit­tees involved in this process. In the unlike­ly event that you don’t find any suit­able com­mit­tees, sim­ply set up one for the fur­ther imple­men­ta­tion of this idea. Make this com­mit­tee as large as pos­si­ble: Only real­ly large com­mit­tees are good committees!

You know how many com­mit­tees we have at Apple? Zero. We’re orga­nized like a start­up. We’re the biggest start up on the planet.

Steve Jobs

Clear­ly, the ini­tial­ly rad­i­cal idea is being slight­ly smoothed down in this process. Do not let your­self be per­suad­ed that this is a mis­take. On the con­trary, you should strive for con­sen­sus with all stake­hold­ers. This is the only way to ensure sup­port with­in the orga­ni­za­tion. And this back­ing is the most impor­tant thing!

Plan, Plan and Plan Again

Yes, make your­self a plan; it just goes up in smoke! And make your­self a sec­ond plan; they both come to nothing.

Bertolt Brecht

Now that you’ve brought all of them togeth­er and have a con­sen­sus on the idea, which has now been trimmed to the right mediocre lev­el, with all of the inter­est­ed par­ties, it is imper­a­tive that you come up with a plan. Not just any plan, but a prop­er, detailed, sound and, of course, agreed plan. After all, we are pro­fes­sion­als, not tinkerers!

And plan it to the very end and prefer­ably beyond. Make detailed busi­ness cas­es for deci­sion mak­ing. Just don’t fall for this new-fan­gled agili­ty and just get start­ed. You don’t want to expose your­self to the orga­ni­za­tion by try­ing it out agile­ly and then mov­ing from fail­ure to fail­ure? Pro­fes­sion­als plan correctly!

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Alexander Gerber 24. October 2018 Reply

Thank You for the camel-image, Marcus.

Now, You are enter­ing the fusion point of co-effecting.
Whether a horse or a camel is more suit­able to the needs of the user depends on the giv­en context.

Is it important
 — to be first on track,
 — enjoy­ing the ani­mal-human-inter­ac­tion or
 — do You need to car­ry exot­ic goods via a long and most­ly uncon­trol­lable distance?

The bet­ter under­stand­ing of the ‘con­text-of-needs’ is, the bet­ter Your work can address.
Some indi­vid­u­als know from their expe­ri­ence and edu­ca­tion, some­times named as ‘genious’ from exter­nal perspective.
Oth­ers need peers to extend their lim­it­ed per­spec­tive by those of peers.

Feel free to fol­low Frank’s trav­el log while he finds his way towards #Great­ness beyond #Ego­B­ar­ri­er.


#enjoy or #ignore … it’s up to You!

Marcus Raitner 1. November 2018 Reply

Thanks, Alexan­der! I did not want to sug­gest that we need heros or genius­es. I’m total­ly con­vinced that a diverse group of real­ly com­mit­ted peo­ple can do amaz­ing things. How­ev­er, the com­mit­tees I had in mind are nei­ther diverse nor com­mit­ted. And then it hap­pens that the horse becomes a camel because one even­tu­al­ly might need a camel just in case of an expan­sion of our busi­ness to Africa. But as this is not yet decid­ed, maybe we just should post­pone the deci­sion on the horse until we have decid­ed the expansion …

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