October 24, 2019
by Maren Borggräfe
We constantly encounter inertia – not just among the public authorities we have to deal with, but among large and small companies in private enterprise as well. Things are done the way they have always been done. Even in the best case, this leads to nothing more than a few improvements here and there. But trailblazing innovations are rarely born.
And by “innovations,” I am not just referring to design departments and product developers. No, in times of accelerating global trends of change such as digitalization, demographic change and increasing levels of sophistication among customers and employees alike, the need for innovation should actually be seen in every cell of the organization. Perhaps this need actually is seen. But there is no innovation.
Why is there no innovation?
With the view of the outside observer (and of course this is a convenient view), I often perceive an organizational culture that neither promotes nor insists upon creative solutions and innovations. On the contrary: In many cases, ideas are even thwarted. There are many reasons for this. Here are my top five:
- Systems of incentives reward hard workers who conform.
- There is neither space nor time for the mental “slack” that creativity requires.
- If anything, errors are tolerated with a raised eyebrow or even sanctioned.
- Anyone who shows that things could be done better or faster discredits colleagues who are reluctant to depart from their routine.
- Leadership fails to support experimentation and is afraid to put employees out on a limb.