Why We Can’t Innovate

In today’s competitive and difficult economy innovation is critical. Doing the same old things, the same old way just isn’t acceptable any more. People and companies are looking for new, innovative ways to get things done. The status quo isn’t going to work. The idea of make something reliable, steady and dependable and your business will survive is being usurped by the need to be new, efficient, innovative, and creative. People want constant improvement.

If this is true, why is innovation so difficult? Why do companies struggle with innovation?

To be innovative, you have to be creative. When we are creative, we do things differently. When things are different it makes us feel uncomfortable. When we are uncomfortable things feel risky. When things feel risky we become afraid of failure. When we feel failure we avoid it. To avoid failure we attach to what we know, and what we know is what we have always done.

This is the innovation circle. To be innovative you have to break the circle and to many the fear of failure is just too high. Most large established companies aren’t built to be creative or innovative. They are designed to stay the same. Employees aren’t rewarded for thinking outside the box. They are rewarded for following the rules. Employees aren’t rewarded for failing but making progress. They are rewarded for not making a mistakes. Employees aren’t rewarded for being different. They are celebrated for being part of the team. Most companies, even those that embrace innovation, aren’t built for creativity. They are built for just the opposite. They are built not to fail!

And as the innovation cirlce states: when there is fear of failure, there is NO innovation.