Category Archives: innovation

Immunity to change: these rational commitments that prevent innovation

There is a paradox in the field of innovation: everyone is in favor of it, I never meet a manager who explains to me that he does not want to innovate, quite the contrary; They all want to innovate. And yet in most companies, innovation is blocked. An important cause of this paradox lies in a conflict of commitment between the present and the future. Let’s look at it in more detail.

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Managers: You’ve got more power than you think

We live in an age which idealizes managers, yet never have these managers felt so powerless. Whatever their level in the hierarchy, they are confronted with increasing pressure in terms of control, reporting, senseless procedures, all resulting in a loss of autonomy which is immensely frustrating. As one of them was telling me recently “I have a superb company car, a personal assistant, a huge office in a very nice location in a great city, I am paid handsomely, feeling like Zeus on the tope of the Olympus, and yet when I want to buy a copier I need to ask the head office, and it’s not getting better. I am losing autonomy as time passes. All I’m doing more and more is filling Excel sheets.”

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We must talk to the boss!

We often think that it will be enough to talk to the boss to solve the big problems of the organization. This is unfortunately false, and this often reflects organizational naivety and, above all, a refusal to take responsibility on the part of managers who have much more power than they think.

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How We Underestimate the Disruptive Potential of a New Technology

In a previous article, I discussed how we miss the potential of a new technology by holding it to a standard of perfection. I continue on the same topic by discussing how the initial low performance of a new technology explains why it is dismissed by incumbent players by taking the example of 3D Printing.

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Organizational exhaustion… and internal exile

I wrote earlier about the loss of creative ability of the firm. This loss and the growing reliance on a command and control management style are obviously not without impact for an organization. In his political essay “The Power of the Powerless”, Vàclav Havel writes about a simple everyday experience he had in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s. In the window of a local grocery store, he observed a poster of the Communist party that read: “Workers of the world, unite!” Havel asked himself,  “Why does the grocery manager do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world?” Obviously, the greengrocer was not a communist militant (in that era there were not so many around).

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The Pregnancy Test: An Example of Democratization through Technological Evolution

The pregnancy test is a good example of how technology democratize problem solving.

Being able to tell if a woman is pregnant has always been a quest for mankind (and womankind!) and man has developed many techniques to address this.

Ancient Egyptians had a technique in which they watered bags of wheat and barley with the urine of a possibly pregnant woman. Germination indicated pregnancy.

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Disruption Is Not a Question of Technology, but of Business Model

We hear a lot about “disruptive technologies”, but what makes an innovation disruptive is not usually its technical dimension, and the distinction often made between radical innovation and incremental innovation is not so pertinent. Indeed, we can observe two examples to illustrate this point.

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