Here is a little piece by a Wellington thinker and resident caring soul by the name of Mike Sukolski. You can tell him that I have ripped him off here… Thanks to old mate “wanda” for pointing this one out…
Stolen from Mike Sukolski
Whatever Happened To
Just Doing Something Different?
It’s as if we believe we have discovered something new, and now we can’t get enough of it, this innovation thing.
We toss it about, the word at least, like confetti.
According to my dictionary, to innovate is to “bring in novelties; make changes in.” Really? Well, it is an old dictionary. I got it when I was fifteen. Someone must have bought it for me, it cost thirty shillings, and where would I find thirty shillings. It still serves me well.
Being a little on the old side, however, I thought I should seek a second opinion. So I did, and got this: “to begin or introduce something new.” So there you are, I said to myself, something new, that clinches it. Couldn’t be clearer. A consensus. But is this what we do when we innovate, I said to myself, I do a lot of talking to myself. (I should know.)
Apparently we need to believe it is.
Like Mike Hosking, who believes that news reading is an “artistic pursuit,” we too need to be, or to be seen as, artists. Well, creative, anyway. With grim determination we set out to innovate, as if our lives depend on it. But why? Good question.
And the answer?
Because, in most, if not all, circumstances, we have no idea what to do next.
We wait and wait, hanging around hopefully, analysing earnestly among ourselves, until all the evidence is in, but all the evidence is never in. Never can be, even though we dedicate large sums to looking for it. There always remains the evidence that comes from actually doing the thing, and this we cannot possess, not until we have done it, and found that, after all, our big idea didn’t work.
If only we had waited until all the evidence was in. Relax! We can innovate instead!
You don’t need all the evidence when you innovate, innovation doesn’t rely on evidence, it can’t do, because there there can’t be any, not of the definitive kind, anyway, if its truly to be innovation.
Because if it is truly innovation there will be no precedents, nothing that could secure the necessary foreknowledge of success, or failure. You will be left contemplating an unscientific leap of faith. Or desperation. Or self-esteem. Which doesn’t make a good business case. It won’t impress your bosses.
Luckily, that’s not what we mean, true innovation, in fact it’s the last thing on our minds. Heaven forbid that someone would dare plunge undata-ed into unknown, potentially hostile territory. Stark naked into a shark infested pool. Leave the known world behind and risk unforeseen, if not career-ending consequences. Or worse, no consequences at all.
No, that’s not for us. Not in the real world. In our heads perhaps, yes, in our heads, we do it all the time in our heads, we get degrees in doing it in our heads, there are careers to be had doing it in our heads.
Innovation, you see, is for us nowadays an assertion of personal worth, the source of our self-esteem. And when we are all doing it together, joyfully, in teams, innovation becomes an affirmation of group worth. Truly, you can’t lose! Just tell yourself, and everyone else, that you are innovating and you can safely go ahead and do what you have always done. Nothing can go wrong.
Who will dare be the little boy wondering aloud why the king has got nothing on.
Innovation is the new orthodoxy. It doesn’t matter much what you do just so long as you say it is innovative, and your peers say it is innovative and your bosses say it is innovative and their bosses say it is innovative and the minister says it is innovative.
Thus we consummate a culture of constant change where nothing ever changes. We cannot risk real change, so we innovate instead, and heap accolades upon ourselves. Glittering prizes. Brilliant careers. Truly we are leaders!
The game is a simple one, anyone can play. And we do, we all do, because we are innovators. Aren’t we? And innovators are never wrong. No, and as we pull our hopes down over us, like a suffocation, from within the reeking hovels of our heads we imagine a new dawn breaking, the beginning of a bold new era, and we believe, all over again we believe.
We sing patriotic songs, while the seas rise around us, the air clogs with CO2, the rains turn our fields to mud, the winds tear our houses down, and a frenzy that is very likely madness sweeps us out of our collective head, but we take no notice, on we rush, triumphantly on, innovating, innovating unto extinction.
Never a truer word spoken.
After spending some time wasting away my ill gotten gains of time and money working in the “addiction leadership group” can safely ascertain that those that be do not want change. But innovation?
Hell yeah. Give us more of that young NZFIEND.
Just don’t you dare change anything in the process.