There is a disease infecting North American business.
It’s the me-too disease. Sometimes referred to as the “search for the purple unicorn”, it’s major symptom is the employment of clones. Oh, not the ones that come out of the genetics lab. I’m talking about hiring only those people who fit the predefined concept of the perfect employee. The so-called “purple unicorn”.
The problem of course is that all-too often that means hiring someone who has worked in your industry for far too long and has become totally closed to new ideas that might just revolutionize your industry. The sad truth is that the longer we are in one industry the more accepting we are of “that’s just the way we do things”. And the concept of “not invented here” begins to take over the organization.
All too often we look to technology to bring innovation to our organization. But the sad truth is that technology only makes things better and faster. It doesn’t bring innovation just efficiency.
Innovation requires the coming together of creativity, implementation and systems. Systems to support innovation, creativity, and implementation. Without systems innovations are lost and ignored and that industry revolutionizing innovation will never see the light of day. Implementation is just another name for project management. It’s different from regular, everyday, operational management because it focuses on the full lifecycle of a team and a product. Operational management focuses on improving and continuing not creating and destroying. In fact, operational managers that become involved in creating and destroying have failed. You only see that happening in companies that are dying.
However, it is in creativity that the essence of innovation can be found. Whether you call it the search for blue oceans (aka the blue ocean strategy) or creativity strategy or any of a hundred other names, there is one consistent theme. Uniformity is the enemy of creativity. It is the anathema of creativity. Where there is uniformity there can be no creativity. Creativity is change — the acceptance and the creation of change — and where there is change there must be chaos.
People bring innovation. Only people can be creative.
Unfortunately, in the current economy many employers have taken to looking for the “purple unicorn” — a clone of their existing employees. In fact, I’ve even seen job requirements which specified that the individual must have worked for the company previously. Unfortunately, as Einstein said, “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
So the choice is yours … do you wish to come out of this economy the best you can be or do you want to come out of the recession (and it is still going on by the way) falling behind?
As Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” Businesses, like other living creatures, must evolve or die.
I’ve included a video below of some very creative and imaginative people having fun … listen closely to the words of the song that accompanies them. By the way, this was filmed, edited and narrated by amateurs and yes, most of the people involved know the difference between reality and imagination. They’re just very good at creating reality from imagination. And that’s the basis of innovation.