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Innovation made harder by entrenched oppostion

Innovation made harder by entrenched oppostion

Facing opposition in your drive for cultural innovation?

Where are innovation and new solutions being stifled by those locked in by a perspective of too much to lose? What is getting passed along as “fact” in your world? And, is it fact…or is it a belief or perspective stated emphatically by someone with a lot to lose?

  • Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” — Harry M. Warner, Warner Bros Pictures, 1927
  • “Video won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” — Daryl F. Zanuck, 20th Century Fox, commenting on television in 1946

(Quotes lifted from Leadershipnow.com  Portrait is of Machiavelli…you can substitue another :).)

Those with much to lose rely on familiar tactics to protect their beliefs. Andrew Revkin’s Machiavelli and Humanity’s Lukewarm Response to Warming”  in his NY Times Dot Earth blog, does a great job of reminding us of “the dark one’s” reliance on force to compensate for a lack of capacity to accommodate new possibilities or other perspectives.

I wanted to amplify this blog post because it’s not just energy innovation that is under assault by those with a lot to lose. Force, combined with fear of the unknown are  powerful incentives for keeping with the status quo. But status quo is an illusion.It is an illusion we sincerely want to perpetuate out of our desire for control. Organizations and institutions are like organisms. They are developing and growing,or they are dying. There is no status quo– there is only change– even if it’s change by virtue of the environment they occupy.

Why do we need to perpetuate a feeling of control? To reduce our fear of the unknown, of course!  What a vicious cycle.You know the cliché about change being the only constant?

We can participate by working with change…or we can have change thrust upon us. While we may not get to move change in a unilateral direction that suits just our needs, if we get curious and participate in exploring possibilities, we add to the grist…to the puzzle pieces available.

The longer we struggle against change, the more chaotic and undirected it’s impact is. (Think of tactically releasing the pressure on a dam during torrential rains vs. waiting for a weakened damn to break).

The other thing we can be sure of? That there is NOT only one way. Those with only “one way” …and a lot to lose rely on force and demonization or extreme statements, name calling and false bravado to convince us of the rightness of their ways…rather than risk loss by embracing inevitable change. The higher the likelihood and need for change, the more frenetic and forceful the push and righteousness indignation.

This push back will challenge your communication and leadership skills. Pushing won’t bring positive cultural change.

Be in the stream of change. Embrace it and flow along!

To embrace it? Engage it!

Use your curiosity! Curiosity and questions open new possibilities and provide tantalizing clues to new paths.

Challenge…beliefs or facts?  New discoveries have a way of challenging even those scientific precepts we formerly accepted as “fact”.

If you find yourself face to face with an organization or person who has only one way…THE way or, is in possession of the only relevant facts understand what you are facing.

You are facing someone who has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo– for better or worse, or, at least until the dam breaks.

Want to read more about creative disruption and how creativite disruption fuels innovation? Here is an olde but a goody article: Six Keys to Building New Markets by Unleashing Disruptive Innovation. 

postscript: Do you think anyone has come up with the political edition? 🙂

1 Comment

  1. Neil 7 years ago

    A great example of challenging “known” facts in the recentish news: the CERN Neutrino that (possibly) moved faster than the speed of light! I dunno if you heard the joke that did the rounds on the internet, but:

    A bartender says “No neutrino’s are allowed here.” A neutrino walks into the bar.

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