Therapy and innovation hype!

Thanks to Tiff Fehr, I found this Insightful post over at Chris Fahey’s about innovation hype and the misguided announcement by Nussbaum at Business week that innovation is over, and transformation is the new thing. Fahey writes:

what Nussbaum and the innovation cheerleaders have been talking about all along has not been about how innovative people can be more innovative. It’s been about how to take teams that cannot or will not innovate and getting them to actually come up with new ideas. Which is why, I think, he has chosen to zoom in on “transformation” as the key word. It’s always been about change.

In fact, I would go one step further and posit that what he’s really talking about is therapy. How to take a damaged or under-performing body and build it into something that works. To repair broken methodologies that produce the same-old solutions. To build up capabilities that have atrophied, or that may never have even existed. (Full post here)

I hope transformation does not become a buzzword or take off as a trend. I still believe the big movement should be about fundamentals: often we suck at the basics and failing companies or teams have a basic, fundamental problem that a leader needs to own and address. Until that happens, all the buzzwords, methods, consultants and cutting edge books in the world won’t do a thing.

I like Fahey’s use of therapy as a better description of what many organizations need, but it’s not masculine or caffeinated enough for the MBA/VP crowd to ever wave flags for it.

3 Responses to “Therapy and innovation hype!”

  1. Indy

    It’s often struck me that “logotherapy for the organisation” is a perfect description of the purpose of a lot of “strategy toolkits.” However, I suspect that a Frankl-school psychologist might bring better results than a lot of said toolkits.

    It’s worth noting as well that a lot of organisations make a conscious decision not to improve on the basics, reasoning that it costs too much. I think people have been seduced by ROI calculations, if we buy a new machine, the ROI is easy to see, likewise a new marketing campaign, spend is X, increased sales is Y and the rest is algebra.

    Improving on the basics? Not only does that involve admitting that the basics aren’t up to scratch, but basics tend to be further up the chain. Improve the basics now and reap the rewards slowly over the next year or so…

  2. Gordon

    What’s lacking often is the will. Another is people’s tendency to think they know it all. One phrase that I’d plaster on the walls is “What in the world makes you think that you know that that idea is a bad one?” An education at a top school? A confident personality? You’re right, it is all about getting the basics right.



  1. More on lawyers and innovation…

    Here are two bonus links following on from yesterday’s post.
    From Tim Corcoran: Galileo Was Wrong: The Earth Revolves Around Lawyers.
    On a number of occasions where we gathered with the board or executive team of an acquisition target in a secret…

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