Defending against the Innovation Killers

We talk so much about how to spread and grow innovation, but what kills innovation? What attitudes might hamper its progress?

When it comes time to align your people and begin exploring new ways of creative thinking, you have to think along both fronts: What will our audience respond to, and what might turn them off? Here are some attitudes that you may encounter as you begin your collaborative innovation efforts, and some ways to respond to them (courtesy of Imaginatik Solutions VP Elisa O'Donnell):

"Where's the data?"

Right off the bat, you may encounter skeptics. They'll be looking for the return on investment before an idea is fully fleshed out.

HOW TO RESPOND: The key in any idea-gathering exercise is to use developmental thinking and nurture an idea so it is strong enough to go into a quantitative evaluation mode. This is different from the decision-making mode commonly found in business cultures. Demonstrate an idea's entire lifecycle, from concept through to implementation and ROI calculation, to help them see how innovation is taking place.

"We can't do that!"

This is the mantra of the Naysayer. When you're breaking people out of old ways of thinking, this can be a common response.

HOW TO RESPOND: The key is to take the naysayer's concerns and flip them into problem-solving mode.  Try turning "We can't do that" into "We could do that if ..." and address how to overcome concerns so that ideas are strengthened and transformed.

"We want to be like Apple/Google/Amazon ..."

It's great to have aspirations, and want to invent the next iPhone. So why does that hamper innovation? Because unless you are truly willing to take a risk, to accept some fog and uncertainty, you can't get there.

HOW TO RESPOND: Instead of the next Big Thing, focus on multiple small wins that build confidence and success to drive momentum toward bigger things.

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