Saturday, September 5, 2009

Who stalled my innovation?

When innovation gets caught up on the way, it becomes a liability. Benefits which are scheduled to arrive and accounted for is delayed, while the investments made keep adding up. Failed innovation is a natural process; it takes 10 to get the 1 right, and is far better than the stalled effort.

The best place to start is to figure out if resistance is taking a toll. This typically happens towards the very beginning or towards the very end when key stakeholders are involved, who, like everybody else have natural tendency to resist change.

Check if the effort is spent in one direction, without a stock take, for too long. Form a steering committee external to the innovation team derived from a diverse background, which provides independent inputs periodically.

People pick signals from leadership, if a leader’s commitment is diluted or has backed off, then you will see the untold consequence on the ground.

The stalling factor for your enterprise innovation could be entirely different, which, only you can figure out and act on. And when you do, consider following,

1. Check if key people have left or withdrawn interest.
2. Check if budget got utilised elsewhere.
3. Check if it lacks an unbiased view. Form an external steering committee.
4. Check if you are hoarding it up, de-centralize innovation and look beyond the obvious.
5. Check if you need basic processes around innovation, like you have for other critical things.

Revival resembles being in new locality of a familiar town, to get back home, it is essential to catch the one going in the right direction!


  1. Conspiracy to restrain trade. Do I have my terminology correct?

  2. Absolutely, good thing I am hearing though is companies are less worried about the patent now a days and more interested in getting a value from it as soon as possible. However this is a bigger debate, one camp arguing - what is the incentive to innovate if you can not monetize it! and other asking what is the proof that nobody else thought of it in parallel. Patenting basmati rice and neem known to common people from thousands of years was a big joke.

  3. The opposing factors that inhibit and inmpede the march of innovation are play safe syndrome,mediocrity, cynicism and lack of synergy between innovators and non changers.Slow pace of innovation also plays a negative role. It may be advisable to identify, select and adopt periodic mid way progress points that can be suitablt disseminated to the environment at intermediate stages to apprise them of progress.Care may also be taken to enumerate tangible gains from the innovation to the organisation to stimulate their expactations about the benefits or anticipated improvements.

  4. I'm the fastest inventor in the West (east, north, and south also)innovation takes place pretty quickly here.
    I don't have the funds to go public or sell private offering stack certificates. Its hard to raise money even if people believe in me and my patents.

    Neil Farbstein

  5. Neil, may be you need to innovate on how you can get the fund. We all usually beleive our ideas are the best, but if your idea is for others, others need to like it too, right? Keep trying, if your idea is real good, someone will surely notice it. While I suggest you not to give up, I also suggest continue introspecting.