There are some worrying thoughts from the 'conspiracy theory of innovation' point of view. Think of them as a creative technique to improve our outdated view of what innovation should be.
Here are three warnings companies should look out for.
WARNING SIGN #1: Innovation appears where engagement is unleashed
Maybe the best way to have a solid business, with a solid foundation and a certain future is to recruit some hundreds/thousands of blue and white collar workers who are so-so engaged in what they do, moderately paid, and easily replaced at the very first sign of innovation.
In general, we discuss innovation as if it is really something desirable. But we tend to forget that:
- a certain number of business owners are reluctant to make bold and risky moves, as they are pretty wealthy already;
- a few are just willing to follow the boldest ones, reaping what others sowed and grew;
- some of them believe employee engagement should be forbidden as it triggers disruptive, bold, riskier moves for the company.
And even dummies know that engagement and innovation are connected.
WARNING SIGN #2: Innovation is informal and messy
Historically speaking, innovation was, and still is, messy. Patents and intellectual property rights (an international mess), initially started to solve one thing, but ended up being used for something else (another mess), lots of unused ideas were thrown away (maybe the greatest - mess), creating uncertainty about implementation results (messy) and so on. You really have to be a passionate Chief Innovation Officer to deal with such a mess and pretend you like it.
Informality resides in its unpredictable, unofficial aspect; we have it when you least expect it and not in an official position. When playing a serious corporate game, stiffness comes along; it is a uniform as corporate as the tie is. Stiffness means ego, a politically correct display of power, a career show off, and so on. Everything isformal. As CINO, you have to laugh a lot more than your board colleagues, to forget and forgive a lot more than they ever will, to spend money on hot air and laugh when asking for a budget and be forgiven when laughing about spending. You really have to be a disobedient child in a boarding school.
WARNING SIGN #3: Innovation has the force to destroy power politics and hierarchy
By its very nature, innovation means a leap from what is to what will/ might be. It leaves behind something and tries to grasp something new from ahead. It shakes the status-quo. Innovation is the manifestation of freedom of the mind and thinking. When unleashed, innovation is dangerous to the keepers of the power politics manual within a company, to the builders of the wooden ladders to the top. Innovation trespasses, blows away and has the force to convert small minds to higher realms, liberating the corporate soul.