Quindicinale n.51, 24 giugno 2017

Fear of ignorance in 135 bullet points

All the excuses your boss makes not to innovate(1). Ever.
ideakiller
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Translated by Allen Montrasio, teacher @John Peter Sloan, la Scuola.

I am convinced that ignorance has allowed humans to progress. Reading the dictionary definition of the noun “ignorance”, we can see that this related to unawareness and lack of knowledge, due to never having dealt with something or never having heard of it. Two perfect starting points for anyone, like myself, who deals with innovation and new ways of doing business. That means “doing” things that were never tried before and studying matters that have never been tackled2.

During my innovation management lessons, among the key points I make, I point out one of the skills of company strategists – knowledge management – defined as the ability to manage consolidated practices, and to juxtapose it with “un-knowledge”3 management, attributing this skill to innovators and defining it as the ability to manage the unknown. Innovators have to enter the realm of ignorance, to challenge it and accept the risks and costs connected to it. If you want to innovate you must “manage ignorance”, with the strategic intent of pursuing and learning the unknown.

To innovate and change the status quo, managers have to4 be prepared to call themselves ignorant in a strategic and constructive way. They must be prepared to do what has never been done before to change their habits, to challenge consolidated skills and knowledge and to tackle and learn new ones.

The highest cost of “un-knowledge” management is fear.

You must be afraid, because if the unknown or untried does not frighten us, it’s not really a change from the status quo. The power of innovation is directly proportional to the fear it puts into the defenders of the status quo.

In my career I have met many managers and business people who refused to pay this cost and chose not to be afraid.

All the excuses of managers who don’t want to be afraid

I have compiled a list of the sentences used to justify this decision of not wanting to be afraid of the unknown and remain in the comfort zone. These are sentences and phrased often found under the heading “IDEA & INNOVATION KILLER”. Many of these I heard directly, others I have read and some have been referred to me. I know this is not a complete and exhaustive list, so I hope you’ll take to the social media to help me integrate it.

Have fun!

  1. Great idea but let’s wait, let’s keep it under the radar5
  2. Maybe it’s too much for us
  3. Since when are you an expert of this?
  4. We don’t have the staff to pursue this idea
  5. It’s not suitable for our customers
  6. We don’t want to make mistakes
  7. Our customers will never use this product/service
  8. Our customers don’t want this
  9. Too revolutionary, we don’t have time
  10. It’s illogical
  11. No! It’s impossible!
  12. We haven’t got the budget
  13. Our bosses disagree
  14. I’m not creative
  15. It’s not my responsibility
  16. So? We can’t risk our image
  17. The market isn’t ready
  18. Customers don’t buy it
  19. It may work, but not in our company
  20. We don’t have the time
  21. We can’t find the funds
  22. My boss won’t carry this out
  23. We are not in a business that’s used to6 innovation
  24. We can’t solve the legal issues
  25. I’ve got too much on my hands right now
  26. If I get it wrong I have too much to lose
  27. Too many projects at the same time: I might do badly
  28. I’ve just joined, I have to understand where I am
  29. I’m not good at public speaking
  30. I’m not good at presenting my idea
  31. No one in this company believes in innovation except me
  32. Too much bureaucracy to even think of carrying out an innovative project
  33. Our customers are not asking us for this
  34. We have a risk-averse culture
  35. We’ve always done it this way, why change?
  36. No one does it in our field
  37. We don’t have an innovation culture
  38. We don’t have an innovation process
  39. I’m not paid enough to deal with these things
  40. I’m not paid enough to take risks
  41. My boss will take all the credit
  42. I’m not a good diplomat
  43. I’ve already got enough hassle as it is
  44. If it doesn’t work, my career will be compromised7
  45. My family life would suffer
  46. I’m not disciplined or determined enough
  47. It’s a too “far out” idea for our company
  48. I wouldn’t be able to find the right staff
  49. We don’t have enough data, research and information
  50. Surely if I tell it, someone will steal the idea
  51. It takes too long to give results
  52. We’re having a budget cut
  53. The board will veto it
  54. They’ll make fun of me
  55. I don’t know how to tell the idea to the decision makers
  56. If it didn’t work I would never want to try again8
  57. It’s too innovative!
  58. I haven’t got a manager to deal with uncertainty
  59. It’s all engineers here, no creative people
  60. It’s not a good time in the company to start this kind of project
  61. I’m not right to be the boss for such a project
  62. Our company is going through too many changes as it is
  63. They wouldn’t give me the necessary time to work on this
  64. If it was successful, they would expect a great deal from me
  65. Nothing ever changes here
  66. It’s all to fast
  67. Someone else would take the credit if it were successful
  68. I’m not committed enough
  69. It’s not enough to be committed, we need money
  70. I’m close to retirement
  71. The other projects would suffer
  72. What would the others say?
  73. If you were here, you’d understand
  74. Try walking in my shoes9
  75. I don’t want other things on my mind
  76. Someone else will certainly do the same thing better than us and quicker
  77. There is no teamwork here
  78. I’ve never done anything like this before
  79. If it was successful I would have nothing to gain
  80. I would not be paid for this kind of activity
  81. We are not measured for innovation
  82. We don’t have the right credentials
  83. It’s not my trade10
  84. It’s not my job10
  85. Too much hassle to sustain the project’s reason-why
  86. I’ve already tried and it went wrong
  87. It takes too long
  88. Our innovation process would stop this project
  89. OK, but after August
  90. OK, but after Christmas
  91. The market is too volatile
  92. It’s a luxury we can’t afford these days
  93. I think we’re being acquired
  94. We’ll have to re-organise soon
  95. We’ve just re-organised
  96. We’ve got the auditors in, better wait
  97. I’m trying to make my life simple, not complicate it
  98. I’m like a prisoner, I can’t move
  99. My company is exploiting all its resources
  100. You can’t draw blood from a stone
  101. We’re not interested in innovation
  102. We’re already innovative
  103. I haven’t got the patience
  104. I’m not sure I will start
  105. I don’t know how to start
  106. I’m too old for this kind of thing
  107. The company is too competitive
  108. We are not a collaborative company
  109. This is the CEO’s job
  110. This is the managers’ job
  111. I’m trying to leave this company
  112. Nice project, but can I send you my CV?
  113. Market conditions are not right
  114. We need to concentrate on the short term
  115. Innovation? Show me something the others do
  116. We have a Six Sigma project that’s taking up all our resources
  117. We’re cutting costs
  118. It won’t work
  119. Maybe next year
  120. This is R&D’s job
  121. I would if I could, but I can’t so I wont
  122. Can you first benchmark something similar for me?
  123. Be realistic!
  124. Too expensive
  125. Let’s keep it real!
  126. We need to look into the analysis
  127. Fine, but in future
  128. Too difficult to manage
  129. It’s too big a challenge for us
  130. Are we sure?
  131. I don’t want to be the first to do this in our field
  132. We’re doing well, why change?
  133. We innovated too much in the past
  134. Who says it will work?
  135. Let’s wait and see if and what our competitors do.

JPS School traduzioni1

JPS traduzioni2

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Autore
Nomade dell'Innovazione, neotenico ed emigrato da Torino a Milano. Ora Partner di Bip. e Managing Director di Ars et Inventio, appassionato di Corporate Innovation e Corporate Creativity. E’ coordinatore scientifico del Master Innovation Management e del Master di Design Management presso la Business School of Il Sole 24 Ore. Docente nelle aree di strategia, marketing e innovazione in Italia ed all’estero. Public speaker in occasione di eventi nazionali ed internazionali sui temi dell’Innovazione, della creatività e delle Exponential Organization. Il suo Blog “Atteggiamento Zen” è il suo esercizio zen preferito con quello di temperare le matite.
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