An unoriginal post on innovation

Um, yes: Are the People in Your Organization too Smart to be Creative?

I love the term “innovation agenda.” When people talk about solving the leadership crisis, that’s the answer. Unfortunately, even though it’s in neon lights and flashing Morse code to “Implement me!”, most people cover their eyes and sing, “La la LA!”

Oddly, “innovation” is a word with many definitions. Colloquially, of course, if not in the dictionary. I figure it should be regaled to the likes of Urban Dictionary or, better, File 13. Most folks seem to qualify it depending on the source of said innovating. You can quantify an idea if you bother to test it. You can disqualify an idea based on whether or not you want to see the person succeed who suggested it.

I always come back to the fact that Walt Disney was fired as a journalist for “not having enough ideas.” God, if we could all build our own Disney Worlds with just the contents of our heads, imagine how colorful this world could be.

Now, I can understand not wanting to stray too far from the status quo when money is tight, a skeleton crew is in charge of the ship and everything hinges on the next idea NOT being a total flop.

On the other hand, the tried-and-true tactics are falling flat these days. Customers aren’t idiots. They may not have long memories, but they know what hasn’t worked for them in the past. They know when you’re putting lipstick on a piggy. I would think they’d respect a little originality in a sea of everything looking the same. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?

Oh, right. A commercial like Groupon’s Super Bowl ad. But perhaps that’s too extreme a case — just because their legal department approved it, didn’t make it tasteful. And when you spend your life trying to get your legal eagles to approve shit, it’s easy to take the path of least resistance. But imagine getting something GOOD past them … and it doing WELL … and then YOU become the trendsetter that everyone else wants to rip off.

Imagine, indeed.

What the hell do I know. …

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