Hierarchy, innovation, disruption

This HBR article is about championing innovation: Get the corporate antibodies on your side.

I think it highlights the paradox organisations face when they try to organise innovation – they’re trying to manage disruption. On the face of it this piece is about championing innovation and getting the top people to back it. The trouble is I think this ends up reinforcing the status of the “senior leaders” (hate that phrase) with the innovators given the status of American Idol contestants – which feels very patronising to me.

It doesn’t help that the author has accepted the job title of “Innovation Leader” and runs an “Innovation Office”. I also notice the obsession with bigness the “big gun” leader and the emphasis on big budgets.

I think innovation often eludes big organisations because they’re just too fat-fingered to pick it up.

I wasn’t there and can’t judge the difference all this made but I am struck by how easy it is to reinforce hierarchy in the name of constraining it.

Hat tip: Richard Wise

1 thought on “Hierarchy, innovation, disruption

  1. Robert Paterson

    The proof is surely in the pudding J – I canot think of any innovation that has come from that process. It did when Xerox had a separate office for it but recall Xerox did not pick up the results – it was others. Bell Labs were the last group – the transistor and that was in the 1950’s

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