The Innovation Killers

Over ten years of creative experience has given me 5 key rules that in my opinion kill innovation and creativity in its tracks. Via some CSI and Dexter techniques, I am going to explore these killers of innovation.

1. Dotcoms don’t do suits
I do understand there’s a need to dress appropriately for your profession, neatly wear a uniform or a particular item for OH&S but I am taking enforced dress codes. Nothing saps creative and innovation like personality destroying “everyone needs to wear suits” environments.

When a team all conforms to a dress code and wears the same thing, it’s a move for all to fit and be compliant to a group. A good thing for middle management, but you need difference and personality within a group so magic can happen. People dress emotionally, allowing to relax a dress code ensures people come to meetings as themselves and gives them the boost to be different.

Also suits take time to ensure it looks good, time that could be better spent thinking about how you could improve a product.

2. My wife is tops
Nepotism nuff said regarding this one, in an ideal world people should be promoted to position based upon achievements and expertise and not who they are related to. This kills all loyalty a good employee has to a business, it kills their value for them within the role and kills any motivation they have to achieve something great. Helping out a friend or family member is one thing but it really needs to be considered will it be of benefit to the business’ direction and perception among the staff?

3. I am the 6th Monkey
Everyone know about the “five monkeys” paradigm about being sprayed by jets of cold water if they attempted to get the banana. Again this transfers to business very well, big old business their success is ultimately their future failure, they’ve done the same thing the same way for 50 years and see this as a formula for success.

The Icarus Paradox as it is referred to, is common in big non-digital business, the issue being “we’ve always done it this way” kills current and future innovation and the ideas at a core level. To an extent this validates the adoption of “Best-In-Practice” too late, rush to market poorly thought out ideas and just cargo-cult the competitors.

Good companies have processes not systems. Process ensures creativity, ideation and innovation in an ordered and structured way.

Systems just don’t because it ensures familiarity and sameness. Doing this the same means there’s no evolution of good change management, thus a killer of going above and beyond to explore something new.

4. Sounds Expensive
Resources, resources, resources… Not having the basic resources to achieve something is frustrating, it’s not about having the latest and greatest rather having the business tools to do your job and do it well.

These are not just having the hardware or software but access to the people you need or the skills you need. Without being resourced correctly it means you have a clock watcher on your staff, there for the time without achieving much thus a killer of the ability for creating anything of meaning.

5. Buzzwords!
Digital Shift, Social Paradigm, “Making it mobile” are all terms being thrown around but what do they mean? They communicate little understanding of subject matter if you need to use them to gain support.

Again business case cannot be delivered on buzzwords, neither should strategy for the main reason that it both lacks an intrinsic understanding and has little clarity. Without knowledge and a clear vision you are going to muddy the innovation pool and drown any form of creativity to a best fit approach from ideas related to buzzwords.

In a round up I hope this adds a little clarity of what really confirms for me valid reasons for killing off innovation and creativity.

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