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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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!

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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