August 21, 2008

Innovation 101 (or, "Hoping you see the irony...")

Icebergs Yesterday I was flying over Greenland, as you do, thinking about how one of those teeny weeny icebergs I could see from 40,000 feet managed to sink the Titanic nearly 100 years ago. Having just finished Gordon Torr's tour de force on Managing Creativity, I started ruminating about how things that seem so far away often seen so insignificant to most people, trivial and silly, while innovators get sneered at for even considering the possibilities for disruption.

It was at that precise moment I found the anti-creativity manifesto to accompany his oeuvre perfectly. From Michael via Euan comes the manifesto (pdf) that, if applied, really will kill your organisation, starving it of any creativity, innovation or chance of survival. Worryingly, I think we've all worked for organisations where at least one of these is the norm:

  1. Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
  2. Make "speeches." Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic" comments.
  3. When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large as possible — never less than five.
  4. Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
  5. Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.
  6. Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
  7. Advocate "caution." Be "reasonable" and urge your fellow-conferees to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.
  8. Be worried about the propriety of any decision — raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

Copy, paste and add your own examples in the gaps. I wouldn't blog it, though. At the same time, I wouldn't say no to hearing about it in an email ;-)

Pic: Icebergs

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Hey... I work for that organisation!!!

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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