10 Reasons Why Companies Resist Innovation
Several online conversations over the past few weeks started me thinking about why organizations resist innovation. Whether it’s social media, mobile technology, manufacturing processes, sustainable business practices or something else, there are always early adapters and late adapters. Why?
Here are 10 reasons I came up with. What can you add to the list?
- Fear of failure. I suppose this requires no elaboration. There’s a little of this in all of us, otherwise we wouldn’t be human.
- Fear of success. It happens that people or entire companies push right to the edge of success … and then pull back. It’s a psychology I don’t fully understand, but have you ever experienced it or seen it? I have.
- Fear of looking foolish. Most of us have a strong aversion to being an unwitting clown – especially if we’re in a position of authority.
- Fear of being first. This is one I understand very well. I don’t even like being the first person to go up to a buffet line for a second helping.
- Inertia. Comfort zones are extremely … comfortable. Trying something new requires a lot of energy – and that means work.
- Complacency. Not exactly the same as inertia. Some organizations have a hard time imagining other methods might produce better results. Self satisfaction and smugness don’t play nice with innovation.
- Unwillingness to act on intuition. Perhaps more than individuals, organizations prefer to base decisions on measurable facts. Innovative approaches are usually characterized by a lack of them.
- Stereotyping. In contrast to the above, a lack of information can be devastating to innovation. Twitter is a prime example, where some people insist on characterizing it as purely a medium to tell strangers what you ate for dinner.
- Not enough energy to sell it internally. Every innovation needs a champion. Sometimes, the perceived battle is too tough: not many are willing to fight bureaucracy and personalities on a daily basis to move an idea forward an inch at a time.
- Too busy. The corporate catch-all for inaction, the perfect excuse for working in the business rather than on the business.