Barriers to Innovative Culture

Have you heard a friend, relative or coworker make fun of their bosses or management because “they are doing something stupid.”? And when you ask  ”why won’t you propose a solution?“, the answer is a familiar response: “They wouldn’t listen to me” or “they don’t care what I think” or “let them do whatever they want!”

This barrier between employee and the firm — I call it ‘learned helplessness’ — is happening in organizations where employees learn that there is no need to think creatively or exchange ideas, and it is an example of what kind of culture should be completely changed. These kind of work environments exist in many places and you can imagine how much space is left for improvement.

In such organizational settings, there is no space for ‘bottom-up’ ideas – ideas which comes from employees and cultures of continuous improvements. While they could be established in every company, more often if may not exist.

Well this is so 20th Century?

Innovative climates could be incorporated in many organizations which are not aware of their current state where statements like these can be heard:

–    This already exists!
–    We’ve been doing it the same way for years, why should we change it now?
–    This is not the problem!
–    This will not work in real world.
–    Who will buy this?
–    This kind of idea is not possible to realize, maybe in a ten years from now…
–    We don’t have time for that.
–    This is not in our area of work.

Reasons why innovators could be faced to the wall in their organization:

–    Political – someone will come out as incapable
–    Fear of change
–    It’s not my idea, so why would I support it?
–    Laziness – why take on new technologies or new fields of work?

Change occurs in steps. The first step is to recognize the barriers that exist, and then start to encourage and incorporate innovative culture into organization. For further insights go to white paper on Establishing innovative Culture.

This article is also published on Innovation Excellence.

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