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Designing Better Libraries by steven j bell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Innovation Means Change And That’s Not Popular

My last post about Procter & Gamble and their Design Thinking Initiative was largely about change. If the people involved in the Initiative were resistant to change it would never happen. And that’s what sometimes, maybe frequently, happens in libraries. Resistance to change is a surefire innovation killer. Likewise, organizations can thwart innovation and change with questionable tactics. An article from the July 2008 issue of University Business titled “Stifling Initiative” provides 10 simple rules for crushing innovation and maintain a culture of inertia. Here are those 10 rules in summary format:

1. Request a formal written proposal – make the innovator meet as many administrative requirements as possible

2. Send the proposal to a committee – this ought to make it take as long as possible to get a show of support for an idea

3. Schedule meetings to discuss the concept – it’s important to make sure all the key players are involved in the decision

4. Lose the proposal – another stalling tactic to avoid making a decision on the proposal

5. No money for that project – “This is a great idea…but…there’s no money for it”

6. Have you talked to…about this – put the innovator on the bureaucracy merry-go-round

7. We don’t, haven’t, won’t, can’t… – just be completely inflexible

8. Sounds exciting but give more detail – a good tactic for wearing down the innovator

9. Yes, but – there’s always a catch and it’s usually not a good one

10. Go Nancy Reagan and just say no – the ultimate power play to stop innovation

There are abundant ways to destroy the spirit of innovation in an individual or an organization. This article provides a reminder that it’s not that difficult to find ways to make it happen.


Comment from Bess Sadler
Posted: September 11, 2008 at 2:17 pm

I love this! This is so true! All of these things make trying to change anything in an entrenched culture just exhausting.

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Posted: October 20, 2009 at 4:55 pm

[…] Być może dobra strategia polega nie na tym, żeby stosować nowe i modne narzędzia, ale żeby te nowe środki były elementem jakościowej zmiany: Innovation Means Change And That’s Not Popular. […]

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