Three Reasons Why Innovation Scares People

Ghosts and ghouls are not the only scary things this halloween


Some people find spiders, werewolves and vampires scary, others are scared of heights or making speeches, some are even scared of innovation. With halloween just around the corner, we take a look at three of the main reasons that people are scared of innovation.

Comes out of anywhere (cracks/floorboards)

For companies, today’s marketplace is like an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Incredibly jumpy the first time you see it, but quite predictable afterwards.

While organizations wish change would creep up on them, the impact is comparable to what it would feel like for a jockey if Laron Landry was to run straight into them.

The unpredictability of innovation makes it scary, as it defuncts products and makes entire companies irrelevant. Just ask Blockbuster.

The fear of missed opportunities (Haunting if a start-up does it first)

Established companies don’t like being made to look foolish.

The phrase ‘could have been’ doesn’t mean much in the tech world, but the list of missed opportunities is long. Unless you live or grew up in the Philippines where Friendster is still popular, the social network is all but a distant memory. But it could have scaled into a platform the size of Facebook or Twitter, its founders just didn’t have Mark Zuckerberg’s vision.

Myspace is another example, and even Microsoft wasted an opportunity to become a market leader in the tablet market. Seth Porges states: ‘Back in 2001, when the iPad was likely little more than a twinkle in Steve Jobs' eye, Microsoft pulled out the mean feat of simultaneously inventing the modern tablet PC, and tricking itself into thinking that nobody would ever want one.’

To allay these fears, companies must have faith in their ideas, however novel, and invest even when things are seemingly going well.

No Corporate structure

What’s more scary than monsters and ghosts? The lack of a corporate strategy.

Managers need subordinates to lead, that’s how they retain power. In the startup world ‘structure’ is a dirty word. While it’s true that larger companies tend to be more ‘structured’ than their younger counterparts, companies like Adobe and LinkedIn have proved that opening up innovation to everyone, irrespective of their position in the company, can result in new products and processes.

It might take a leap of faith, but give everyone the chance to contribute.


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