Monday, March 17, 2008

Innovate by breaking something

One of my favorite movie lines comes from the movie Hope and Glory, a movie about the second world war and the blitz of England. In the movie, a bunch of young kids run around in bombed out buildings looking for souvenirs. When they induct a new kid into their group, they then proceed to break everything in the house that's left standing. Their motto is "let's smash things".

The juxtaposition is kids in bombed out houses who are destroying what's left of many people's belongings. But they don't know any better and really don't understand what's happening, they just explore the surroundings and break things with glee.

Wouldn't it be great from an innovation perspective if you had the permission to smash things in your organization? Often times we work so carefully not to disrupt the apple cart that any innovation we can create is so safely packaged that it can't hurt anything or bother anyone. Safety is often the arch nemesis of innovation. The more you try to shape, package and control it, the less innovation you'll get.

People understand this as well. When they are told to be more innovative, they first consider all the spoken and unspoken issues and challenges to innovation. "I can't do this because that would anger Mr. X in that team, and we've clearly been instructed to leave that product alone. We certainly don't want to disrupt our own products or markets, and entering new products seems too risky." This mindset leads you to a watered down product or service that everyone recognizes as immediately obvious, so what's so cool about innovation?

What if - those are clearly innovation words - what if we could smash anything and make it better or eliminate it all together? What if breaking things down and eliminating them, or working as if the innovation was more important than any existing expectation or investment? That would be innovative. Could you get your teams to think like that, rather than work with the blinders they often put on themselves?

Kids in a bombed out house have two choices. They can try to stack the bricks back they way they were and create order, or they can gleefully smash the rest. One approach has an expectation of care and order and control. The other is interested to see what might happen next. Both may lead to positive outcomes, but anything with the word gleeful attached to it has got to be more attractive and more interesting.

For you innovation leaders - when's the last time you asked someone to "smash things"?
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 3:16 PM

2 Comments:

Anonymous stop pre ejaculation said...

Thanks a lot for this time sharing of innovation about INNOVATE BY BREAKING SOMETHING. This is really the best website about innovation i have ever read

7:10 PM  
Blogger Carmelo Mason said...

Movies with an argument of war are my favorites ones, because I love to know about conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties.........
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7:42 AM  

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