crumpled paper with the word ideas written on it

Joe Giordano

By Joe Giordano

If there is one common thread that weaves together my experience in the field of innovation, it is hearing on a weekly basis, how frustrated people are about how their organizations kill innovative solutions.

Innovation murder doesn’t happen on purpose. Typically the perpetrators believe they are helping innovation, not hindering it. They are innocent in spirit, if not in action.  The proverbial bulls in the china shop.

The two most common accidental axe wielding I see are:

  • Starvation, which happens when good ideas are put on hold until the organization is ready for them, (read: never); and
  • Strangulation, which occurs when good ideas are subjected to greater and greater levels of scrutiny that gradually squeezes all of the life out. Strangulation is often referred to by a more friendly name like “Stage Gate” or the “Innovation Funnel” otherwise known as the innovation chokehold.

No one has to be an innovation murderer, but it often requires an “innovation world” mindset of courage, belief and determination to break the cycle. Those aren’t always the qualities that an organization rewards in the short term, but they are required for those who want to create change. So if you have parked an idea, ask yourself why am I starving this poor concept.  

If you are perpetually engaged in thrashing your innovation, at every stage of the game, then put in new rules as to when scrutiny can happen, and when it can’t.

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