Culture Level Blocks to Innovation

“We Don't Do That” =
“We Don't Change”

Animal psychology in general, and therefore also, human psychology, presumes the existence of conditions that are very stable over long periods of time. For this reason, the skills of adaptability are very weak in most people, possibly even within yourself. The business processes in your organization are also built with very similar presumptions. As long as your market doesn't change, your processes and products will work as usual.

But...Things Change Constantly

The biggest recent practical change in commerce at the everyday level was the conversion of US credit cards to chip technology. I personally know of a few small business owners who didn't upgrade to the chip reading point-of-sales technology when they should have. Consequently, they lost thousands of dollars when several of their customers protested their non-chip credit card transactions. Worse, their customers did it on purpose because they knew they could get away with it.

Innovation as Proactive Adaptability

It's common to think of innovation in terms of new products. If you can make that work, you'll do well. But innovation returns huge payoff when applied to business processes, too. Furthermore, innovation can be viewed in relative terms. Chipped cards have been used everywhere except the US for decades. If inserting an old technology into your operations gives you big improvements in some respects, that's a vital innovations, just the same.

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Is Your Culture
the Roadblock to Innovation?

Dr. Meylan: We're thinking about deeply held biases here. A lot of these biases can keep people from being innovative on the job. What can you tell me about that?

Cynthia de Lorenzi, CEO, Success in the City: When you talk about biases, you have to realize that when you say, “deeply held,” sometimes we're not even aware that they're subconscious. But there are very much two biases going on in an environment where you're trying to innovate. One are your personal biases, your belief systems about yourself, about how you can do things, about your opportunities, as well as the biases about the company, the corporate, the structure permits you to do. And those could be, “We've never done that. We would never do that. That's not our job. That's not our role.” So, you bring these two biases together, and what happens is you create the opportunity for roadblock, which will prohibit that next great leap to innovation.


How it works — The LO+FTTM Principle

Optimizing Luck Cover

Study the present very carefully
to build possible versions of the future.


Generate strategic options
based on those possible futures.


Work quickly to create long lead times,
and watch events carefully to select the best options.

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