Innovation in 5: Be steadfast

‘Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.’              Robert Louis Stevenson

Like a new romance, innovation can inspire tantalising images of a rich and rewarding future.

There’s a buzz, a rush of enthusiasm for what’s possible.

Like a romance, innovation often doesn’t turn out exactly how you’d like it. Things derail. Blame gets laid. Tempers fray and commitment gets tested.

Stakeholders retire hurt and there’s less appetite for risk, for trying new things. Nobody talks about the elephant in the room.

Before you know it, the romance has gone and you’re left with a hangover and the bill.

Leadership teams about to embark on an innovation journey should begin with eyes wide open. In those ‘What if?’ conversations, remember that:

  • it’s complex (and at times hard)
  • you (or yours) will fail – at least once, probably many times
  • returns can be hard to measure
  • resistance comes dressed as many things (including ‘commonsense’).

While history shows it isn’t an easy path, innovation can bring rich returns, both commercial and cultural.

If it were easy, everybody would be doing it.

This is #5 in a series of quick-reference posts on innovation basics.

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