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Seven Highly Effective Ways to Kill Innovation (and Seven to Make Sure You Don't)

Seven Highly Effective Ways to Kill Innovation (and Seven to Make Sure You Don't)

Innovation doesn't just happen, it comes from careful tending of creative teams. Find out if you or your company is guilty of squashing good ideas and their growth

Innovation killer #5: View "different" and "new" as bad.

Ever watched a new idea shot down at time-warp speed with a derisive "that won't work"? Chances are the naysayer was one of the more entrenched execs. "This is the single greatest trap companies fall into," says Koulopoulos, "and it's a people issue: When you've invested yourself [in how things are], the last thing you want is for them to change."

But not being open to change is a big mistake, he says. Take the newspaper industry's initial refusal to acknowledge (and take advantage of) the disruption by the Internet. As a consequence, ad sales, newspapers' primary source of revenue, flatlined in 2006, according to the 2007 "State of the News Media" report by Project for Excellence in Journalism.

"I hear [a] lot of people talk about how media has less integrity — we're not editing, etcetera," says Koulopoulos. But, he points out news and media are being consumed differently, and the gap between the pre-Web model of media and the increasingly interactive version of it will only widen. So are you going to stick to your "values" about the way things should be? Or do you respond to change and the need for innovation? Certainly the internal resistance can be difficult to overcome, but few companies can afford to cling to the past, he says.

Today's world requires companies to become more like a Gillette, which is "not afraid to eat its young," says Koulopoulos. He says that the company will invest enormous amounts of money in developing products that will compete with existing ones, for one simple reason: If Gillette doesn't innovate on its products, someone else will.

Innovation tips: Study stories of people and companies that took risks. Also: Learn why fear of change is hardwired into our bodies.

Next: Does appointing innovation administrators guarantee idea safekeeping?

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