Human Potential Project Online by Chris Majer

Our mission is very simple. We intend to revolutionize the practice of management!

Central to our work is the belief that the world does not exist as a permanent fixed reality. We human beings are not merely passive observers. We are intentional players, inventors, designers, and creators of our world. And to accomplish anything, we depend on everyday coordination with others. This is where HP2 makes its mark.

Silent Killer #5: Suppressing Innovation

Welcome to the sixth post in our seven-part series on the “modern wastes” that are killing most companies’ productivity and profitability. We’ve already discussed the first four: Degenerative moods, not listening, bureaucratic styles, and worship of information. This week, we’ll examine the fifth silent killer—suppressing innovation. Thanks to the bureaucracy and lack of listening that exists in most companies today, we have created working environments that stifle the creativity, original thought, and innovation that make our human capital so valuable. As such, it has become all but impossible for many organizations to adapt to our changing business world. Simply put, an organization that cannot innovate is dead; the only things missing are the inevitable funeral and suffering along the way. Many organizations confuse the occasional “lightning strike” of a new idea or product innovation with having a culture that fosters innovation. But for this to truly be the case, innovation should not be something that happens every once in a while; it should be viewed as a critical competence—a skill to be developed, fostered, rewarded, and embedded into the workforce. The greatest enemy of innovation is modern management. Contemporary management practices are geared toward ensuring stability and predictability, and avoiding surprises or “problems.” But innovation is unpredictable, even disruptive. Thus, in many organizations, innovators are largely suppressed for the sake of “productivity.” Ironically, this only kills productivity in the long run. Shift Your Understanding In the new business world, innovation should not be restricted to product development. We should be encouraging our teams to approach every area of the business innovatively—including customer service, processes, organizational design, marketing, and leadership. Innovation should not be something we plan to do in a brainstorming meeting; it should be an everyday occurrence—the result of a culture where people are constantly designing and redesigning the way they work, the vision they want to accomplish, and the future they want to make a reality. An innovative organization like this can only exist when leaders are willing to embrace diversity; set aside bureaucracy; listen to the continuously changing concerns of their employees, customers, suppliers, and investors; and encourage people to do that thing that makes us more valuable than computers—think.