How to Get Anti-Innovators Up and Running?

How to Get Anti-Innovators Up and Running?In every organization you have anti-innovators. They are stuck in their habits; are ignorant the world is changing fast and think that they have nothing to fear. Actually, they are quite human. We all love our habits.

There are often quite a few anti-innovators. Everybody knows this extravert guy or woman who is anti-everything. They have “the biggest mouth” at the lunch table in the company restaurant. Their influence on the company’s culture is often quite substantial. Don’t underestimate their impact. The herd goes as fast as the slowest animals. If the anti-innovators lean back nothing moves. So how do you get them up and running. That’s the question.

You can try to convince them. Unfortunately that often fails because they are experts in coming up with idea killers like: “We are too small for that… There is no budget… We need to do more research… We don’t have time… It’s too risky… That’s for the future. Everything is OK now.”

You can try to do it without them. But that won’t work either. You need an awful lot of colleagues and bosses to share your vision before a big change can truly take place. You need R&D engineers, production managers, IT staff, financial controllers, marketers, service people and salesmen to develop the product, produce it, get it on the market and service it. You can’t do it without them: you can’t innovate alone.

The way to get anti-innovators up and running is to respect them, to understand them, to connect with them and to let them experience change is necessary. They will only change their attitude if they get new insights themselves. So, you have to give them a chance to discover what’s happening out there. Invite them to join your innovation team and take them out on an expedition to discover how markets, customers, competitors and technology are changing.

If they, as the slowest animals of the herd, find out there’s a group of hungry lions following the herd they stop leaning backwards. They start running too as necessity is the mother of invention. They will spread the urgency to innovate among their colleagues. And that’s good news because If the slowest animals start running, your organization’s innovation power really gets up to speed.

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Gijs van WulfenGijs van Wulfen leads ideation processes and is the founder of the FORTH innovation method. He is the author of Creating Innovative Products & Services, published by Gower.

This entry was posted in Creativity, Innovation, Leadership, Management, People & Skills, Psychology, collaboration and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How to Get Anti-Innovators Up and Running?

  1. Uri Neren says:

    Our reseach and work with the members of Innovators Intl supports your thoughts Gijs. Some of our members also simply get rid of these people. Another approach that takes less effort is putting innovation KPIs in their scorecard which also takes care of the problem in the long run. You have to be sure you want them and their department to be innovators though – the distributed model for Innovation Management does not work very often.
    .
    I think you said it best though with your final statement: no matter how you do it, just make sure they know they have to change or get eaten.

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