Innovation Crap

We came across an article in Forbes – Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own – that is called Five Conventionally Accepted Wisdoms That Destroy Innovation. It is written by Dr. Sunnie Giles, the author of the The New Science of Radical Innovation and founder of Quantum Leadership Group, helping organizations catalyze radical innovation by harnessing complexity.

The article is an excellent example of Innovation Crap or Innovation Rubbish. Of course, the article starts with obligatory statements like “Businesses today operate in an unprecedented environment of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Innovation is the only way to survive in today’s fast-moving environment, and success demands new leadership skills. Let’s contrast outdated rules of thumb with updated reality.“

We have read the article and concluded that it all about Five Conventionally Accepted (Wisdoms) Stupidities by Innovation Experts That Destroy Innovation.

 “Failure is not an option” and  “Good is an enemy of great.”

The author claims that failure is a necessary input to radical innovation instead of driving for perfection, leaders must encourage fast, safe failures, facilitate learning from those failures, and disseminate the learning quickly.

The Thinking Habits of Steve JobsWe doubt if Steve Jobs, undisputed innovator who changed the world in a disruptive way, would have agreed. Jobs did not settle for less than more than best.  In all his decisions he was led by the desire to deliver an excellent product that would change the world. Profits, costs or time were never of guidance when making decisions. See our post The Thinking Habits of Steve Jobs. And we suppose Bill Gates and  Mark Zuckerberg will agree, and the countless smaller innovators as well. After all, consumers and investors do not like bad, improvised, half-finished products, or poorly thought-out services.

Perhaps the author means perseverance in setbacks as they occur? And fast reality testing of pilots in a safe environment?

“There is no such thing as work-life balance” and “Emotions are inappropriate in the workplace.”

The author claims that instead of trying to balance the two, leaders must bring their whole selves to work and to their families. You must become authentic: feel what you see, express what you feel. Excluding emotion robs our leaders of authenticity.

'Mess yourself up a little -- the key to this business is authenticity.'We are not convinced at all that there is a relation between work-life balance, authenticity and innovation. Actually, we see people with real breakthrough ideas neglecting their social life, as obsessed as they have become with their invention. Neither we believe that more authentic people come up with more or better ideas, why would that be?

Anyway, it is a very bad advice. It is a paradoxical message. How can I be authentic at all as someone has ordained me to be authentic?  Paradoxical messages can seriously paralyze human relations and even lead to schizophrenic behaviour.

 “Don’t bring me problems unless you bring me solutions, too.”

The author claims that solutions one person—even one genius—can come up with are almost invariably inferior to those generated by the wisdom of the crowd.

Perhaps a crowd at a county can fairly accurately guess the weight of an ox than the estimates of most crowd members. However, we doubt whether this applies to coming up with innovations. For that, too many facets of group dynamics play a role, like group obedience.



One Reply to “Innovation Crap”

  1. There may be a magic bullet/s for innovative thinking but I don’t think any one person has discovered it/them yet. In the mean time as some of us are looking for it or them, maybe (only my opinion) we should include a caveat, warning people to be careful and cautious, watching out for snake oil sales people and that all articles are ALWAYS strictly the opinion/s of the author and respectful but robust debate should always be present in our thinking. I guess for me this is the magic bullet…..ha!

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